Making global news, local with an interactive constituency impact tool
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Making global news, local with an interactive constituency impact tool

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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an innovative partnership – between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases – to accelerate the end of the epidemics. The Global Fund has helped save 27 million lives in its first 15 years, making it one of the most effective health partnerships on the planet.

Yet, each day, over 7,000 people still die from these deadly diseases, with women and girls often hardest hit. To continue its life-saving work for the next three years, the Global Fund is aiming to raise at least US$14 billion by its Sixth Replenishment Conference, which will take place in Lyon, France in October this year. This is an emergency now, and the Global Fund is our way to win the fight – but it must get full funding. Complacency is complicity.

ONE’s Constituency Impact Tool

To end these epidemics by 2030, we need countries to commit to increasing their pledges. However, given currency shifts, sluggish economies and stressed global cooperation, this will be an uphill battle. How do we get decision-makers excited about the replenishment of a fund they may have little knowledge of? How do we demonstrate to them that their country’s contribution matters?

With the Replenishment quickly approaching, we needed a way to make global news, local. Here at ONE, our advocacy and campaigning depend on our ability to convert complex issues into digestible, actionable information. How do we break down that topline 27 million lives saved number into something a representative can take ownership of?

Our partners at STOPAIDS developed a tool that laid out the impact of each British constituency’s contribution to the Global Fund in a simple, interactive tool. It shows that Kensington, for example, helped save 40,932 lives since 2002 and provided 298,650 mosquito nets in 2017 alone. ONE, and other partners in the STOPAIDS coalition, used the tool at the UK’s Conservative Party conference. We found it to be incredibly powerful; politicians are proud of the impact their constituencies are having, and are excited to share these results with their constituents. After determining that something like this would be a useful advocacy tool in other countries, we discussed the feasibility of expansion with the creator of the original tool.

With STOPAIDS’s methodology in hand and their lessons learnt in mind, we set off to find income tax data in the seven countries where ONE is campaigning for the Global Fund replenishment. In this case, income tax serves as a proxy for each state’s or electoral constituency’s contribution to the Global Fund. Utilizing Tableau, we created a similar tool that our colleagues could use to ramp up their advocacy efforts. By including an interactive map, we hoped representatives could better understand the crucial part their constituency has played in saving lives around the world through its contribution to the Global Fund.

The Issue of Attribution

In previous replenishment cycles, the Global Fund attempted to determine how many lives should be attributed to the Fund’s endeavors alone. Yet they received criticism for trying to break up the inherently cross-cutting nature of public health. No programs or financing happens in a vacuum, so how could they take full credit for those lives saved?

This year, the Global Fund’s board looked at this issue and concluded that they would instead look at the impact of the entire partnership, which includes domestic financing and development assistance for health from other sources. They again received criticism. But this time, the Center for Global Development (CGD) argued that the Global Fund uses these results, which reflect the achievements of the wider partnership, to make the case for investments in the Global Fund as a stand-alone intervention.

This posed a problem for us here at ONE. We wanted to use these numbers to demonstrate the tremendous impact the Global Fund has had on accelerating progress against AIDS, TB, and malaria. But how can we do that while fully acknowledging the contribution from domestic resources and other development assistance for health?

Lessons Learned

In the spirit of full transparency, even after we technically had a complete tool, we hit roadblocks… one after another. We thought carefully about the implications of simplifying these incredibly nuanced debates about impact. Our conclusion was that that the tool would be invaluable in our campaigning efforts to secure financing for the Global Fund, that we should be transparent about the methodology and how we applied it, and that we should be open to learning from others.

So what did we learn?

  1. Talk with partners. STOPAIDS provided invaluable lessons learned that helped us improve the tool for our own audiences. CGD shed light on the nature of the debate around attribution. Our partners in the Global AIDS Policy Partnership asked questions that helped us polish the language and functionality of the tool.
  2. Language is paramount. The Global Fund did not achieve these results alone. As the Fund says, they are able to achieve this level of “impact together with partners including governments, multilateral and technical agencies, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, implementing countries, civil society groups, and people affected by the diseases.” By changing the language we use on the tool, we are able to give credit where it is due and demonstrate that this partnership includes more than just the Fund itself.
  3. Redesign is not a failure, it’s smart and adaptive. Each time we received constructive feedback, we tweaked the methodology and design to make the tool clearer and more useful. These constant redesigns felt like steps back, but in the end led to a campaign-ready product.

Want to know more about this data visualisation tool: Time to Shine for Domestic Revenue Data.

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