Local PEPFAR recognition – In the arena of HIV/AIDS programming, PEPFAR Côte d’Ivoire values our grant manager for its strong HIV prevention programme, efforts to build local implementer capacities, and effective sub-partner award administration.
Effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) – Having to deal with 15 C/FBOs, most experiencing their first time as a USAID sub-partner, was a tremendous challenge. Our grant manager overcame pitfalls through rigorous M&E alongside organisational capacity building.
Sub-partner testing centres – This programme had six sub-partners that offered HIV testing and counselling, of which there is a dearth throughout the country and, in fact, throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The continuum from prevention education to testing and counselling to care and treatment was more pronounced in the locations where these testing centres operated with other sub-partners. They also provided mobile testing and counselling services for the other sub-partners.
Systematic capacity building – Among PEPFAR partners in Côte d’Ivoire, our grant manager is known for capacity building of its sub-partner organisations to meet the rigors of complying with the requirements of a USAID award. For example, every interaction during M&E activities was used for mentoring each sub-partner along continuous improvement. Equally important, our grant manager organised activities to systematically grow them in specific areas: programme delivery, M&E/data management, governance, financial resources, management and human resources, and networking and linkages.
Data quality – Our grant manager spent a significant amount of time going back and forth with sub-partners to verify the accuracy of the quarterly programme and financial reports. In terms of programme data, reported figures that did not adhere to PEPFAR minimum standards or “best” practices for HIV/AIDS interventions were not counted. Our grant manager also constantly looked out for double-counting of beneficiaries. In terms of financial data, US government cost regulations for award administration were strictly followed.
Fast pace – Exacerbating the issues of data verification was the short quarterly period. USAID required this reporting frequency, and our grant manager still recommends it for better management of a programme with very detailed requirements such as NPI. Yet, the cyclical work it entailed almost entirely consumed our grant manager's time.
Costly quality control – For those partners that submitted poor or non-transparent reports, our grant manager conducted an involved process of on-site validation. For those found to have unsubstantiated data, negotiations were conducted for refund or non-funded benchmarks. Due to the time that non-performing or non-compliant sub-partners require, it is much costlier to manage them than to invest these energies in top performers that produce multiplied results.