REGIONAL AIDS TRAINING NETWORK
ABOUT INSTANT (Initiative for Strengthening HIV/AIDS Training and Networking) INITIATIVE
In April 2009, RATN completed and adopted a new Strategic Plan for the period (2009-2014) following the evaluation of the last SP (2004-2008). The strategic plan, among other things, intends to strengthen the involvement of RATN MIs in identification, design and implementation of relevant and innovative interventions that aim at strengthening the capacity to effectively respond to the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the ESA region. Overall, the new RATN Strategic Plan intends to see the Network expand its scope, value, and range of its activities. For instance, Training programmes under the network are planned to reach at least 2000 participants a year of whom at least half will be women. The SP also aims at ensuring that the network is increasingly innovative, pro-active for the organization to remain at the cutting edge of capacity development. The evidence-based priority interventions on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support will critically inform the backbone for development and delivery of RATN training courses in order to build a critical mass of skills and knowledge to address priority needs. As a follow up to the findings of the SP Evaluation Report (2004-2008), the Strategic Plan (2009 â€“ 2014), and the RATN MI Directors Forum held in June 2009 in Kigali Rwanda recommended the strengthening of the network in terms of greater participation and involvement of network membership in the design and implementation of RATN projects in the areas of training, advocacy, research and knowledge management. It is against this background that the RATN secretariat designed this new INSTANT INITIATIVE as one practical strategy to implement the recommendations. As indicated above INSTANT will involve MIs, periodically, in designing and undertaking small projects aligned to RATN thematic and programmes areas. This initiative aims at not only strengthening the implementation of the new SP but also to ensure timely development of innovative projects and enhance utilization and acknowledge the unique and diverse comparative advantages existing among the MIs in addressing the current and emerging issues. Page | 1
Since its inception in September 2009, more than 40 INSTANT projects have been implemented in 11 countries within the ESA region by 23 RATN Member Institutions, over USD $1,000,000 disbursed and nearly 2000 health workers have been trained.
2. PROGRAM OVERVIEW
A. Program Objectives and Focus This RFP intends to support the following RATN Strategic Plan objectives: To develop skills and competencies for design and implementation of effective HIV and AIDS interventions at all levels of HIV intervention (i.e. local communities, workplace, national levels etc). To strengthen capacity of RATN Member Institutions to develop and deliver training and/or manage quality gender sensitive HIV and AIDS prevention, care, support, and mitigation programs. To strengthen the exchange of knowledge and information on HIV and AIDS related to training and capacity development (and therefore being recognized an authority source for high quality HIV and AIDS information) To strengthen advocacy and the capacity of RATN MIs, civil society and other partners to influence policy towards increasing support for developing effective capacity to respond to the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the region; To strengthen RATN as a functional and sustainable regional membership-based network organization. To strengthen the evidence-base and monitoring and evaluation for HIV training and capacity building in the region.
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Table below provides a summary of the programme components in RATN Strategic Plan (2009-2014) for which this RFP intends to support: Table 1: RATN SP Programme Areas and their Rationale and Expected Strategic Outcomes Programme Area
1. Training and capacity Development
Design and implementation of effective HIV interventions requires adequate capacity and skills. Currently, demand for quality human resources skills has outstripped the capability of many organizations and communities to respond to HIV in terms of planning, service delivery, supervision, M&E â€” at community, provincial, national or regional levels.
2. Information and Knowledge Management
Accurate and timely communication of information is critical to knowledge building as well as empowerment of individuals and organizations working in the area of HIV and AIDS. RATN and other partners have so far generated knowledge and skills that could influence public and civil society policy and programming to promote the effective capacity development for HIV response. This needs to be significantly shared among the broader stakeholders at all levels. Furthermore, several best practices are being identified at local and national levels that these need to be not only documented but shared within countries and across the region to adapt and replicate such good practices.
HIV and AIDS programs staff and other individuals involved in HIV response (in countries within ESA region) shall have improved skills and competencies to effectively manage HIV and AIDS interventions at community and workplace levels HIV and AIDS capacity development related knowledge and information is shared between MIs and all strategic partners at community, country and regional levels for addressing HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, and mitigation resulting in improved programmes.
3. Advocacy and Partnerships and Networking
RATN MIs and other institutions in the focal countries in which we operate are uniquely placed to influence policies that would increase support towards training and capacity development for HIV response. However, a significant majority of these entities lack the technical capacity and skills to effectively respond and to advocate for these issues and therefore there is a clear role for RATN to play in strengthening the capacity of RATN MIs, civil society and other partners to be able to influence policies in favor of increasing support for capacity development for HIV response. RATN Advocacy efforts will focus on influencing the coordinated scale-up of quality HIV training and capacity development at both the national and regional level in order to achieve improved programming in HIV and AIDS towards realizing the Universal Access targets and MDGs
RATN MIs, civil society networks and other relevant partners will be strengthened to have the capacity and technical mechanisms to influence policy towards increasing support for developing effective capacity to respond to the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.
4. Research and Monitoring and Evaluation
A key challenge for development and delivery of quality HIV and AIDS training programmes has, among other factors, been due to different levels of understanding of the ingredients of effective training and capacity development in terms of what training is needed to address what gaps, who are the right people to train, how to provide it, how to measure it, and what tools, methodologies, and approaches to use. In providing leadership on these matters in the region, RATN will use its experience to identify new knowledge through reviews of existing research results and conducting small operational research where necessary to periodically answer these and other emerging questions. Such evidence based knowledge and models shall also form the basis for advocacy for HIV training and capacity development in the region.
HIV training and capacity development programmes in ESA region are evidence-based and reflective of emerging trends and lessons learnt through strengthened RATN MIs and other partnersâ€™ mechanisms to effectively research for, monitor and evaluate training and capacity development interventions for impact and effectiveness.
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Proposed program approaches and activities should use available evidence and theory-based, best practice models. All concept papers should explicitly define the specific population that is the target audience(s) and the rationale for this focus. The concept papers must also clearly justify the chosen approach and methodologies. Completion of a rapid needs assessment of the population in the applicant’s proposed area where required prior to implementation of activities is allowable. If a rapid needs assessment of the target audience has been completed in the last six months, a copy of the report must be included as an appendix to the concept paper. If a rapid needs assessment will need to be completed then it must be included in the proposed program as a start-up activity. Programs may be modified to respond to assessment findings with approval of RATN. Applications are required to support the provision of sustainable high-quality programs and services, and proposed strategic approaches should address specific needs with practical, pragmatic, cost-efficient plans for implementation. Applicants should avoid duplication of services within a specific geographic or thematic area. Applicants should suggest programs only in areas where no other organization is currently implementing similar programmes. Organizations receiving support from other sources to implement HIV/AIDS activities similar to those proposed must describe how the support they are seeking through RATN would complement their existing project(s). C. Strategic Approaches Successful applicants need to explicitly incorporate the following crosscutting strategic areas: • Comprehensive Programming and Linkages: Applications that build on existing programs and address or demonstrate linkages with multiple program areas are encouraged. Applicants should detail the ways in which their projects will encourage and foster linkages to networks and to national and other donor-funded programs to ensure close coordination and collaboration with other organizations providing complementary services. In particular, efforts should be made to link to and partner with existing RATN Member Institutions. Opportunities to leverage resources among member institutions are encouraged. •
Sustainability Issues: There is no assurance of continued funding for any particular applicant after the funding period. All applicants must therefore describe their plans for sustainability following the one year of funding. Sustainability includes the development of technical competence, human capacity, management systems, infrastructure, relationships with government programs, and financial independence.
Quality of Programs/Services: A key focus for the RATN Strategic Plan is ensuring that quality services are provided. Quality includes meeting the client’s individual needs in a timely manner, providing services within appropriate national policies and guidelines, standards of practice, basic packages of services, and clinical standards of care. Activities should apply current best practices to program interventions, providing required
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supervision at local levels, and ensuring that systems are in place to measure and evaluate the services provided and take prompt corrective action if required. •
Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA): Activities should be designed in a way that adheres to the principles of the GIPA. Efforts should be made to meaningfully involve PLHIV in the design, execution, and evaluation of the project. Programs should be designed to address the needs and concerns of PLHIV and increase access to services and information for PLHIV and positive prevention.
Gender Sensitive Programmes/Services: Activities should be designed in a way that adheres to the principles of the Gender Equity. Efforts should be made to meaningfully address gender imbalances in the design, execution, documentation and evaluation of the project. Programs should be designed to address the needs and concerns of women, girls and other marginalized groups and increase access to services and information for HIV.
Human Rights: Activities should be designed in such a way that they adhere to HIV & AIDs related human rights. Efforts should be made to meaningfully address stigma and discrimination.
3. PROGRAM INDICATORS
Applications for funding under this call for concept papers should clearly demonstrate understanding and knowledge of RATN Strategic Plan performance indicators and reporting requirements, including how data will be collected, verified, and reported to document progress. Data quality is a critical component of the RATN Strategic Plan, and applicants must develop systems to ensure data quality and must be prepared for data quality audits. Each application must include a plan detailing how it will document, monitor, and evaluate program performance. RATN will evaluate progress by monitoring selected indicators and assessing these in relation to the overall objectives in the applicant proposal. RATN will provide technical assistance as required to support MIs Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) plans.
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