Development of a new funding mechanism to support global and regional civil society networks focusing on HIV.

ASAP designed The Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund to secure stronger funding flows for civil society networks. The design process also assisted networks to help define and focus their work so as to create tangible benefits for the communities that they serve.

The project marked a critical point in a lengthy effort to identify sustainable funding for more than 10 civil society networks that had agreed to work jointly to overcome persistent shortfalls.

Robert Carr was a leading Jamaican AIDS activist who died in 2011. He was internationally known for his work on human rights, stigma and HIV. The Carr Fund is expected to raise $21-million in its first three years to support global and regional civil society networks.

ASAP’s goal with the project was not only to help civil society networks to secure sufficient, predictable resources, but also to enhance their capacity to support the quality, effectiveness and gender equity of AIDS responses to inadequately-served local populations.

As a result, The Carr Fund has been designed to respond not only to the fact that there is insufficient, irregular funding, but that at country level there is inadequate attention paid to those communities and populations most in need of effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

The funding mechanism is evidence-informed, result-focused and strategic. It was developed so that national responses should become more effective in meeting local needs.


International Civil Society Support (ICSS), UNAIDS


ASAP rapidly mobilised a small, talented and diverse team from Europe, Asia and Africa to support the design of a new funding mechanism.

The initiative was successfully completed in just three months to meet donor requirements for a new fund to be designed before the end of 2011. It was a complex initiative, working with multiple stakeholders and requiring a careful exploration of the dynamics which had led to funding changes, and to understand opportunities to find novel ways ahead.

ASAP’s extensive research and consultation used eSurveys, key informant interviews, stakeholder workshops and literature reviews. The ASAP team working on The Carr Fund brought expertise in grant management, monitoring and evaluation, social research skills, strategic and organisational awareness, as well as a deep knowledge of the environment and challenges that now face both donors and civil society networks.

The ASAP team identified priorities and needs, and then reviewed these against donor stipulations and restrictions, and presented options to the Working Group for consideration and final approval. The final product was a comprehensive design document that proposed a structure for the new fund with a monitoring framework to assess impact, and to enable the development of prioritised criteria for disbursement. The team explored a range of management arrangements and produced a final model with accompanying documentation to establish the new structure.

This project demonstrates ASAP’s ability to turn around an innovative project swiftly and effectively.

It built on an earlier project, undertaken by ASAP Director Robin Gorna with Karen Michael-Cox, on behalf of the same group of stakeholders, that brought together the funding needs of eleven global networks in one aligned, joint proposal to mobilise “emergency” short-term resources in 2011.

Both of these projects built on a substantial history of work which have involved ASAP associates. The projects were guided by and reported monthly to a joint steering group of donors and civil society networks, co-chaired by ICSS and UNAIDS. This group is now translating the design into a new structure.