Title: Nothing for Us Without Us (NUWU)
Time frame: 2014 – 2015
Funder: Stop TB Partnership International
Project Description: One of WAAFs key findings over the years of working in the field of public health and focusing on HIV is that the role of civil society organizations is to make groups directly impacted by the condition visible so they are able to participate in the world of politics and influence public institutions to better serve their needs.
Having worked for over 20 years in the HIV field, WAAF has acquired meaningful experience and in-depth knowledge of these issues that directly impacted one’s face. WAAF, therefore, appreciates the need for the inclusion of communities affected by TB in the delivery of TB health care in Ghana.
With a CEO who served two full terms on the Ghana-Country Coordinating Mechanism, Ghana -CCM and who acted as the Ghana representative for the Regional Coordinating mechanism of the Abidjan Lagos Corridor Project (ALCO) from 2008 to 2012, WAAF had the opportunity to actively participate in high power meetings in an attempt to bring issues from the ground to the attention of major stakeholders. WAAF can concretely attest to the lack of substantial contributions and input from smaller community-based organizations and more so, members of the affected community. The source of this problem lied mainly in these groups being ill-equipped in terms of knowledge about current/ongoing TB issues and grant organizations. These groups also had insufficient skills to allow for effective communication on matters they considered important and in even assessing their own needs and preventative measures for tackling the disease.
Due to this large gap in communication between TB affected individuals and powerful stakeholders, WAAF wished to focus on strengthening community systems ensuring that citizens are engaged at every point in matters of concern to them.
Goal and Objectives: The goal of this project was to have a well-established TB constituency who would be able to be prominent on key platforms and who are well equipped to speak on behalf of their constituency. This was to be established through:
- Educating & Empowering TB Communities with subject knowledge. This project run from July 2014 – June 2015. Upon completion of the project, 40 persons sourced from TB affected communities and CSO reps on CCM had their knowledge of TB infections enhanced. Such knowledge enhancement consisted of, the background of TB (causes, symptoms, and treatment), the latest information (research and developments) on TB as well as local information regarding TB prevalence in the Greater Accra and Western regions of Ghana. The training also included the sharing of knowledge about country-level information to enable these constituents to make effective contributions at the policy-making level.
- Training in Advocacy: Upon completion of the project, persons from TB affected communities in the Greater Accra and Western Region of Ghana were given extensive training in advocacy in order to strengthen representation. These representatives already had knowledge capacity in relation to TB and the understanding of relevant TB programs in Ghana, built up by the previous project mentioned; however, their ability to champion representation of TB affected communities was limited. Therefore, at the end of this project, the representatives were given a platform of opportunity to represent their constituency on the CCM and to get involved with action for change surrounding the TB domain. WAAF equipped the same target group with information on the functionality of relevant bodies like the Global Fund, Country Coordinating Mechanism, CCM, National TB Program, NTP-Ghana, Stop TB- Ghana Partnership to allow these communities to be knowledgeable about TB program management and to build an active voice. The program included working on the design of training workshops, the developing and implementation of these with members of the newly created support groups.
- The Ghana National TB Voice Network, an organization made up of cured TB and TB clients was revamped to enable them to stand for their rights and speak on behalf of their constituency
- 2 seats on the Ghana CCM were secured for 2 GNTBV network members
- These 2 members have since been very active in bringing matters pertaining to TB to the attention of policymakers
- The TB constituency has had their knowledge enhanced on TB related matters to enable them confidently to speak about matters of concern.