The Global Fund has published its new funding request materials for the 2020-2022 funding allocation cycle longer in advance of the first application deadline than previously, with Window 1 applications due by 23 March 2020.
The reason for the earlier-than-usual publication on the Global Fund’s website is to enable countries to prepare well in advance for the application process, including the critical process of in-country dialogue. The Fund says that the allocation-based model remains “largely unchanged” in the upcoming cycle, with some elements updated based on lessons learned in the current cycle.
The Global Fund’s Lindsay Smith, Senior Specialist in Access to Funding, who managed the funding request application development process, told the GFO that this was a main reason why the Fund has completed and published the application materials earlier for this cycle than for the last (2017-2019).
Funding request application windows for 2020-2022 allocation period
|Application window||Submission date||Technical Review Panel review|
|1||23 March 2020||27 April – 2 May 2020|
|2||25 May 2020||29 June – 5 July 2020|
|3||31 August 2020||5-11 October 2020|
Source: The Global Fund
Smith said that the Fund cannot communicate about allocations in advance of the Global Fund’s Board meeting in mid-November, when total sources of funds for country allocations will be determined by the Board (after the Sixth Replenishment Conference on 10 October). However, Smith said, “We can at least make sure that Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) have the guidance and application materials they need to get started on country dialogue sooner rather than later.”
Country Coordinating Mechanisms are responsible for implementers’ applying for funding allocated to countries. Each country that receives an allocation from the Global Fund must submit its requests for funding for eligible disease components through the CCM, on behalf of the country as a whole.
According to the Secretariat, roughly two-thirds of the Global Fund’s current grants end in December 2020, which means that CCMs will need to be ready to submit their completed funding requests in either Window 1 (deadline 23 March 2020) or Window 2 (deadline 25 May 2020). This is necessary in order for implementers and the Secretariat to have a reasonable amount of time to complete grant-making and have grants signed by the end of that year, so that they are ready to begin implementation in January 2021.
Secretariat perspectives on the funding request process
Leif Rommel, the Fund’s Manager for Operational Efficiency within Grant Management, told the GFO that the most important thing CCMs could do to ensure a smooth transition to a new grant in 2021 is to “frontload” implementation discussions as much as possible, as early as possible, in the funding request phase of the process.
“Especially if you are changing anything in the program,” Rommel said, “like changing implementers, or implementing new interventions or new modules, or doing something [within programming] that you haven’t done before, the more you can do the thinking upfront during the funding request stage, rather than leaving it to the grant-making stage to figure it out, the higher your chance of success.”
Rommel added that if CCMs could identify anything from the last cycle that had required more dialogue than anticipated and had in turn caused delays during grant-making, tackling those issues at the funding request stage in this cycle would go a long way to speeding up grant making.
“Frontload anything that you can,” Rommel said, “Have the difficult discussions up front.”
It is likely that the countries that applied in Window 1 of the current funding cycle will be among the first that need to apply for new funding. The High Impact countries that fall into this criterion include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Uganda, Zanzibar, and Zimbabwe as well as the multicountry East Asia and Pacific Regional Artemisinin Initiative (RAI). (To see which grants applied in which application windows for the 2017-2019 funding cycle, see the Funding Request Status Tracker on the Global Fund website.)
Smith reaffirmed how important it is for CCMs to plan backwards from when their grant ends, to be sure that they build in enough time for the funding request development, submission, review, grant-making, and then final grant review, recommendation and Board approval. All this needs to happen before a grant can be signed and then disbursed.
In the last cycle, there was a wide range in the time that individual applicants took to complete all these steps, but on average, Smith said, the process took eight months from the time of submission up until Board approval. (The variations in each funding request’s application timescale are also detailed in the Funding Request Status Tracker published on the Funding Request Submissions and Status page; a similar tracker for the upcoming funding cycle will be published on the same page early in 2020.)
The application materials now available comprise five application forms (for five types of funding requests), in English, along with instructions for each approach, technical information notes, other guidance documents, and a preliminary ‘frequently asked questions’ document. The five different types of requests are: Program Continuation, Full Review, and three types of ‘tailored’ approaches, which are for National Strategic Plans, Focused Portfolios, or Transition.
Instructions regarding which type of funding request countries should use will be communicated in the allocation letters that the Fund will send to CCMs in December 2019.
The Fund’s website says that these materials are, for now, “for information purposes only,” and that each country applicant should request its country-specific materials from its respective Fund Portfolio Manager starting in December 2019. Application forms and instructions will be made available in French and Spanish starting in late September 2019.
- Funding request materials for 2020-2022 funding cycle
- Funding request applications (description of the different types)
- Funding request submission deadlines for 2020-2022
- The Global Fund’s Funding Request Status tracker (2017-2019 funding cycle)