For the first time, L’Initiative conducted a major survey of experts mobilized to support funding requests. Can you tell us more about this approach?
This survey was an unprecedented exercise, different from other L’Initiative evaluation activities that we regularly conduct with projects we support. For the first time, the Expertise Channel was subject to a large-scale survey targeting experts mobilized on assignments to support funding requests. We wanted to entrust this work to two external consultants, who regularly work with us and have a detailed knowledge of our system, in order to ensure the results were independent and objective and to take a critical and strategic look at our support. A survey questionnaire was shared with the one hundred experts who were mobilized over the period, coupled with about fifteen in-depth interviews conducted with key people who benefited from technical assistance, the Global Fund, L’Initiative, other TA providers, and consulting firms.
What do you consider to be the most significant results?
The survey confirms the quality and success of the technical assistance provided by L’Initiative under NFM3. We identified room for improvement in terms of expert training, country ownership, and effective involvement of civil society and key populations in the country dialogue process. Coordination with other TA providers is also a subject that emerges from the responses given by experts. These areas of work are all the more challenging to take up as a new responsibility falls to us: L’Initiative is emerging as the most active TA provider in the West and Central Africa region.
What next? What is the purpose behind this survey?
The strategy and operational recommendations resulting from this work have led L’Initiative to question and innovate in terms of its processes: how to better train experts on the Human Rights, Gender and Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) components, which are not sufficiently covered in funding requests, although the Global Fund has identified them as priorities? Should we be prescriptive in the recruitment of experts? How to better evaluate TA assignments and consider a shared evaluation framework with other TA providers?
In the spirit of debate and collective knowledge sharing, these results were recently presented and discussed with the Steering Committee and the Joint Working Group of Global Fund partners. In the near future, the lessons learned from this survey will inform the contribution of the “France team” to the new strategy Global Fund strategy and will also guide L’Initiative areas needed to develop its work. Next steps: dissemination of a publication next March, inspired by the results of the survey, and the launch of an evaluability assessment for technical assistance assignments from the first quarter of 2021.