Review of IHP+ Health Policy Action Fund
IHP+ established the Health Policy Action Fund (HPAF) small grants program to strengthen civil society engagement in national health policy, monitoring and accountability. In 2013, a review explored how the fund had supported civil society engagement.
IHP+ established the Health Policy Action Fund (HPAF) small grants program to strengthen civil society engagement in national health policy, monitoring and accountability. Oxfam managed the fund and HPAF supported 23 grants to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in developing countries, in two rounds of funding in 2010 and 2012.
In 2013, a review explored how the fund had supported civil society engagement. Findings from the review (by Dalberg Global Development Advisors) showed that stakeholders think HPAF has a unique role to play and does so well. The fund stimulated and enabled CSOs to engage in national health policy, monitoring and accountability processes and allowed them to bring ‘bottom-up’ insights to national policy mechanisms. The real value added by HPAF included its flexibility, personal relationships between CSOs and the grant manager, learning and sharing events and guidance and technical support.
The HPAF evolved from round one, where it was felt that the grantees, although carrying out important work, did not link their activities enough to aid effectiveness. This changed in round two where several grantees were able to feed sub-national activities into national policy processes, according to aid effectiveness principles. In Uganda, the Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS (AGHA) worked in a few districts to train local CSOs to collect data for the shadow health report and used the coalition’s cross-country reach to effectively campaign and disseminate findings at the national level.
Nearly all the grantees believe that their activities under the HPAF grant increased their ability to engage in specific aid and development effectiveness processes. However, areas where CSOs were less positive included monitoring progress against compact commitments and monitoring and analyzing joint health sector reviews.
The review outlined four options for going forward from leveraging existing opportunities to scaling up the approach. IHP+ is currently reviewing the findings of the report and consulting with different stakeholders to identify ways to support CSOs in the future.
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