Monday 7 September 2015

JumpStart: building the capacity of MSM and transgender networks across Asia and the Pacific

The APCOM team, led by Joe and A, present JumpStart
findings to Khun Somchai Promsombat, Executive Director
at the Poz Home Center.
JumpStart is an AFAO/APCOM project, which aims to build the capacity of MSM and transgender national networks to effectively engage with HIV responses in the Greater Mekong and ISEAN sub-regions.

In 2015, JumpStart published a Regional Analysis Report assessing the capacity of regional, sub-regional and national MSM and transgender organisations and networks working across Asia and the Pacific.

The report  focused on eight  national, sub-regional and regional  MSM and transgender networks, identifying key areas of technical assistance required to better support these networks to achieve more effective responses to HIV.

Each network examined in the report undertook a facilitated self-assessment process to identify its capacity development and technical needs. The report used the Rapid Assessment Apparatus (or 'RapApp'), an assessment tool developed by APCOM and AFAO which assesses the core competencies of an organisation or network against eleven programmatic and organisational areas (pictured below):

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Assessment findings:

1. Capacity

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The RapApp assessment tool identified satisfactory to high scores among the eight networks in the areas of: Governance, Partnerships and networking, Communications and Technical capacity.

Areas that gained poor to adequate scores were: Resource Mobilisation, Financial Management, Membership Structure / Key Affected Population Engagement, Programming (in particular Monitoring and Evaluation), and Advocacy Capacity.

Areas with wide variation were: Secretariat and Staffing, and Strategic Information Capacity.

2. Resource mobilisation

For each of the eight networks, the biggest and most immediate challenge identified was resource mobilisation,  in particular, how to access long-term sustainable funding for both project activities and core costs. 

This indicates an urgent need to provide support to diversify and expand these networks' funding base; this must be the first priority, if any of the other capacity building needs are to be met.

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Other findings include:
  • 4 out of the 8 networks have been successful in obtaining funds from more than one source; the majority have been successful in obtaining in-kind rather than financial support.
  • 1 out of 8 networks has long term funding in place, with most running to April 2014.
These findings indicate a need to support organisations to build diverse funding bases by mentoring organisations in the areas of networking and building relationships with donors; resource mobilisation training; and proposal development training.

3. Monitoring and evaluation

  • 8 out of 8 networks identified Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) as a major gap in capacity.
  • 1 out of 8 organisations has an M&E system in place and claims to carry out analysis and learning.
  • 3 out of 8 have a limited or project-specific M&E system.
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These findings indicate a need for training in project design and management, with these organisations requiring comprehensive training in M&E including:
  • development of M&E frameworks
  • monitoring of projects and core organisational work
  • evaluation tools
  • community participation in evaluation, analysis and documentation of learning.

4. Advocacy capacity

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The networks identified 8 commonly used mechanisms for advocacy (pictured above).

Although a wide variety of advocacy activities and channels are used in the region, there is lack of strategic planning these around activities. Only 2 out of 8 organisations said they had finalised advocacy plans.

Advocacy challenges include:
  • lack of engagement of members
  • lack of capacity to set an advocacy agenda
  • lack of agreement on advocacy priorities
  • lack of strategic planning of advocacy activities
  • no identification of target audience for advocacy
  • lack of access to relevant disaggregated data and research on MSM and transgender people on which to base advocacy
  • lack of funding for advocacy activities
  • lack of manpower to carry out advocacy activities.
This suggests that advocacy activities are generally conducted in ad hoc manner, without the long-term planning and monitoring frameworks necessary for effective advocacy.