Senegal Leads the Way through a “Peer Assist”

By Aïssatou Thioye, FHI360

In response to challenges faced by Chad in the process of developing a Global Financing Facility (GFF) investment case, FP2020, in partnership with the USAID-funded Knowledge SUCCESS project, facilitated a peer assist dialogue session via Zoom that allowed experts from Senegal to share their experiences around the process and to make key recommendations. 

Experts from Senegal and Chad, including FP2020 Focal Points and ministry representatives from both countries, were able to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s experiences with the GFF. 

This activity drew on Senegal’s depth of experience and proved to be successful. After hearing both the concerns and expectations from the Chad team on the progression of their GFF activities, the following points were shared by the Senegal team:

  • Quickly and clearly mapping out resources is a critical first step.
  • The GFF Multi-Stakeholder National Platform must focus on the needs of the country, and it is important to remember that each partner has a role to play.
  • The Ministry of Health must be involved in the GFF investment case development process from start to finish, to ensure accountability and alignment between the investment case and Ministry of Health objectives and processes.
  • Comprehensive engagement of the private sector as well as civil society from the very beginning of the process is paramount.
  • It is a good idea to anticipate the expectations of partners who may assume they will receive  funding once the process is finalized. It is important to temper eventual funding expectations when engaging with partners, because some partners who participate in the process might not receive funding.

The effects of COVID-19 on this process were also a primary topic of discussion. As both countries are experiencing the impacts of this pandemic, the Chad team did not hesitate to seek out recommendations from the Senegal team on the subject. 

In Senegal, the Director of Maternal and Child Health has brought together stakeholders to ensure the continuity of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services. When the Chad team expressed that the pandemic has caused delays in key processes, the Senegal team recommended that in spite of these delays, it is important to set deadlines for each of the different steps and to continue to seek out financing for implementation. 

This virtual activity was the first in a series of dialogues that will be organized between countries to encourage the sharing of experiences and provide a framework for peer-to-peer exchange and learning. The session was implemented by FP2020 in collaboration with the Knowledge SUCCESS Project, which supports learning and creates opportunities for collaboration within the family planning and reproductive health community.