Good Governance Practices in Mauritania: An Important Step Towards More Funding to Fight AIDS, TB,and Malaria

Tallying election results. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

In Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, civil society organizations elected representatives to a national AIDS, TB and malaria governance body to re-qualify for grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Countries wishing to apply for and implement Global Fund grants related to AIDS, TB or malaria must maintain a national, multilateral governance body—known as a Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM)—to provide strategic leadership and oversight. CCMs are comprised of representatives of the public, civil society, private and donor sectors. They are selected or elected from constituency stakeholder organizations. Membership renewal procedures must adhere to the principles of openness and transparency that the Global Fund’s performance-based funding and governance guidelines require.

Casting a ballot for representatives to the Country Coordinating Mechanism.

Mauritania’s CCM had been legally organized according to Global Fund rules in 2002, and the country had signed five grants for $32 million by 2008. Incomplete CCM reforms and government transition in 2009 had, however, left the CCM with a divided membership unable to carry out grant oversight. The Global Fund required a number of actions of the CCM to improve its performance, including completing membership renewal using a transparent process.

To address this issue, the CCM, with help from Grant Management Solutions (GMS) a USAID-funded project implemented by Management Sciences for Health, UNAIDED, and the German BACKUP Initiative, facilitated transparent elections of civil society representatives. With GMS’s help the CCM hosted an information meeting for 85 civil society organizations to define transparent electoral procedures, and an election protocol was signed by all. The CCM published the call for civil society organization candidates. Nineteen candidates were fielded, and the lists of candidates and electors were published. Members of 85 organizations cast secret ballots in transparent boxes.  Ballot counters tallied votes on large sheets of white paper in front of the electors. By evening, the election was done.

The civil society sector had elected 16 representatives to the CCM, healing the rift in governance. The other sectors also renewed their members, and the CCM elected new officers, completing the reform process.

GMS provides short-term technical assistance to CCMs and Principal Recipients (PR's) confronting urgent deadlines, bottlenecks to implementation, and systemic problems hindering performance. GMS provides technical support that is language-appropriate, country specific, and immediately responsive to the needs of the grantee. This is yielding better quality and more effective programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

To date, the GMS project has assisted some 64 countries to improve the efficacy of their Global Fund grants. The GMS teams of consultants, who spend no more than 90 days total in country, have played a significant role in keeping more than $2,600,000,000 in Global Fund grants at work.

Ballot boxes.