Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Getting an accounting 6 years later

Dear Colleagues

The AIDS pandemic has a scale that is difficult to comprehend ... and while there has been a substantial fund mobilization to address the crisis, there is a big question about the effectiveness of the interventions that have been funded.

The following is a press release from 2002 in which some $127 million are being allocated to a US University led group for a communications program to help address the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

It is now 2008 and time for some accounting about how the money was used and what results were achieved. Surely this is not too much to ask.

But this may be more difficult than it ought to be.

There are many issues in doing improved accounting and accountability in the international relief and development sector ... one of which is the focus on project. When one tries to find out anything about this "project" ... all the people responsible for it have dispersed and it is practically impossible to hold any person accountable. This is a part of the reason why a community centric approach to measurement of performance is needed ... and it argues for holding the sponsoriong organizations of the "projects" accountable ... both those involved with implementation and using the money and those that saw fit to do the financing.
August 9, 2002

Group Led by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
Wins $127 Million for Global Health Communication Project
Award Will Fund Programs to Combat Public Health Threats Such as HIV/AIDS
BALTIMORE—A group led by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (JHU/CCP) has been awarded $127 million by the U.S. government to implement a five-year global project designed to use strategic communication to fight infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria; improve maternal and child health; and reduce fertility in the developing world.

The award from the U.S. Agency for International Development will fund activities such as large-scale use of mass media linked to community mobilization and outreach programs promoting healthy behaviors by both individuals and communities. The Global Communication Partnership team includes JHU/CCP, the Academy for Educational Development (AED), Save the Children, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This award demonstrates USAID's commitment to including strategic communication in international programs designed to improve public health,” said JHU/CCP's Director, Dr. Jane Bertrand. “Our communication programs are evidence-based, built on best practices worldwide and focused on innovations that advance the field of public health. We look forward to this new challenge to help foster a healthier world.”

Helping to implement the project worldwide will be dozens of partners based in the developing world and several global joint programming partners. The joint programming partners represent a unique group of collaborators from the private commercial sector, the educational media field, and the faith-based world. Among them are Sesame Workshop, Procter & Gamble, the World Council of Churches, the BBC World Service Trust, and the Discovery Channel's Global Education Fund.

“Our partners on the ground in developing countries are essential to the successful implementation of this project,” said Jose Rimon II, a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Project Director for the new partnership. “Over time the project aims to build the capacity of local institutions in developing countries so they are able to combat public health threats on their own with minimal outside help.”

For example, Rimon said JHU/CCP supported local youth groups in Zambia that developed and launched a successful program with a balanced approach of promoting abstinence, consistent condom use, and delayed sexual debut to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence among young people. “With this new project, the partnership will be able to develop new and innovative programs along the lines of the Zambian model to empower local institutions and communities to become producers of their own health,” he said.

The new project builds upon JHU/CCP's past experience with implementing behavior change communication interventions globally under the multi-million-dollar Population Communication Services project, which is funded by USAID and expires in March 2003. But the Global Communication Partnership will reach beyond individual behavior change to influencing social norms, improving the quality of health systems, and creating a stronger policy environment.

JHU/CCP is a pioneer in the field of strategic, research-based communication for behavior change and health promotion that has helped transform the theory and practice of public health communications. With representatives in more than 30 countries, JHU/CCP has been a leader in the development of projects based on systematic needs assessments and clear strategies for positioning and presenting the benefits of health interventions to appropriate audiences.

For more information contact: Kim Martin at Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, 111 Market Place, Suite 310, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, USA. Tel: 410 659-6140; Fax: 410 659-6266 e-mail: PRESS ROOM: