According to their map of grants, as visited today, they are not. Or they just need to update the map? Or they don't care sharing this information any more? We asked them repeatedly about it. To no avail. Yet.
What do you learn from this press release? Anything specific? Anything new? The participants, although no detail is provided about them by Dr Thomas Munthali, are probably tobacco control veterans, with years of activism and funding. Maybe ulterior press releases will tell us a bit more about this meeting and how the Gates Foundation millions are used? Maybe not.
Is it really necessary and useful to move all those people to Harare? What's the cost of such an "annual coordination workshop"? The "rationale"? The workshop aims to equip the sub-grantees with knowledge and skills in ACBF procedures for effective and efficient grant utilization and management. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the tobacco control project advances evidence-based tobacco control policies in Africa.
From Business Daily. The regulations, which were supposed to have been effected last month, would have compelled cigarette makers to display graphic images on packages as warnings to smokers. The regulations also ban advertising, promoting and sponsorship of tobacco and its products as well as smoking in open spaces to protect members of the public from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
Visiting the site of the Alliance Congolaise pour le Controle du Tabac (AACT) there is one post devoted to the launch of a smokefree environment campaign (in French) that mentions at the end the planning of an international meeting that would take place in October 7/9 in Kinshasa, financed by the Gates Foundation and involving about 100 people from 22 African countries. Is that really necessary/useful? How much is that going to cost? The front page of the site still has a typo about the French word for 'welcome"...
We know our reporting is late but the TCA blog remains a completely volunteer based service as since our creation in 2007 we have never received one cent of support for our efforts to improve communication about tobacco control in Africa despite the obvious gap in this key area. On the WHO Africa region websiteyou'll find two presentations in English, one in Swahili but none in French or Portuguese. You'll find below the names of the people or organizations that received awards.
Revisiting the website of the ACBF we discover this press release from the Gates Foundation dated November 19, 2014 announcing continued support for tobacco control in Africa. BUT, while this text lists the organizations the Foundation is partnering with, it does not provide any $ figure about the budgets awarded to each of them. At the same time, Cynthia Lewis writes: You asked for more transparency in grant making, better role clarity and coordination among partners and grant makers, and direct investment in a strategic African organization that can help build capacity. The problem (as we see it) is that she does not provide any detailed information besides the names of the 'intermediaries". Visiting, for instance, the CTFK site we were unable (as of today) to find any reference to a grant awarded in 2015 to an African country. As for the grant awarded to ACBF, we don't know it's size nor is there much detail about how it is going.
(After some more investigating we found that the ABCF grant seems to be for $8.5M, while the grant for surveys by the CDC Foundation would be $4.6M: that still leaves $18.5M unaccounted for -how much for CTFK? how much for WHO?- and there is very little detail about how all those amounts are going to be used. We should not have to go looking : why isn't all the info given upfront? That would be real transparency).
Cynthia also mentions that: As you know, we are also supporting some social marketing and behavior change work against tobacco use in Africa as a complement to important and ongoing policy work. Well, we don't know about that. What is it about?
Implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in most sub-Saharan Africa countries has been slow, largely due to tobacco industry interference. That was the finding of a survey of FCTC Parties included in the 2012 WHO progress report on FCTC implementation.
Now the Tobacco Control Research Group based at the University of Bath (UK), has launched a monitoring and accountability project that aims to change that trend.
FCA’s Regional Coordinator, Tih Ntiabang, will be devoting a large portion of his time to the initiative.
As you can read below a few segments should be produced and aired every day. We'll keep you posted.
The World Conference for Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) 2015 is partnering with the international film and broadcasting company, WebsEdge, to bring ‘Tobacco OR Health TV’ to the 16th WCTOH.
'Tobacco OR Health TV' will be an onsite conference television channel featuring a new episode daily, screened around the venue, as well as in selected guest hotel rooms and online here and here on youTube.
My name is Nonguebzanga Maxime Compaoré. I’m a citizen of Norway with roots in Burkina Faso, West Africa. I am privileged to be an FCA Board member representing the EURO Region. For the last four years, I have worked as a Special Advisor for International Affairs at the Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS). I am tasked with liaising with NCS’s partners, and coordinating the organisation’s international partnership projects and activities.
By Derek Yach Executive Director, Vitality Institute; former Executive Director, WHO NCDs*
The FCTC is an ambitious approach to tackling the world’s most preventable health problem. It was built on solid evidence of what worked best and supported strongly by the IMF, the World Bank, UNICEF, leading pharmaceutical companies and international health NGOs.
Progress has been mixed and the early passion and cohesion of the coalition has dissipated.
It was relatively easy to get laws on the books – but is proving tough to translate these into effective actions without financial resources, expanded leadership and a sharper ability to adapt the FCTC provisions to the reality of diverse countries.
Six posts concern Africa in the news published on the FCTC's site (I have included one published in December 2013). Let us start with December 11 2013 about the tax hike in Niger, then in 2014 there are posts on March 16 about the new law passed in Senegal, on April 14 about the AFRO Shadow report for Senegal, on May 14 about a training workshop in Madagascar, on May 29 about a Voice of America program titled Why is smoking increasing in Africa, on November 1st about Hellen Neima (from Uganda) participating in COP 6. Looking for more I did not find anything else but I noticed this post of November 2013 about the 2012 African shadow reports wit the title: Lack of political will, awareness... The more things change... and this interesting one also of November 2013 about Uganda and Tobacco Industry Interference.
Visiting CTFK's blog, Unfiltered, I have found 3 posts about Africa. The first one on January 29, about the situation in Indonesia and Africa, the second on July 7 about Uganda's first Adult smoking survey, the third on December 2nd about the first Adult smoking survey in Kenya.
The press releaseposted on the ACBF website is below. Details remain very sketchy on how this budget will be managed. There is reference to a communiqué by the Gates Foundationbut we were unable to find it. 12 countries appear to have been selected for funding. What about the rest? How much information will be made public? The the three year and $32 million grant was announced in July 2014 on the ACBF site. ACBF nor the Gates Foundation answered our requests for more details.
ACBF & Gates Foundation partners lay groundwork for next phase of tobacco control
25 Nov, 2014
The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Campaign for Tobacco Free kids (CTFK) are advancing coordination of the Tobacco Control Project across Africa funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The three Gates Foundation partners met from the 24th-25th of November and agreed that coordination and effective implementation of tobacco control will take a prominent place in the second phase of the project.
During the two day sessions, the partners agreed on an effective mechanism for work at country level, developed a joint reporting tool and agreed to develop a monthly calendar of key activities as well as to hold regular calls to discuss their plans and progress at country and regional levels.
The meeting served as a platform for the partners to gain a better appreciation of each organization's role in tobacco control; share work plans and deliverables as well as priority countries of focus and partners at country and regional levels.
ACBF, as the host of the first coordination meeting, recommended that the partners build their relationship for tobacco control based on trust, transparency and communication. They were also encouraged to build on each other’s comparative advantage and competence. These outcomes will ensure coordination for effective implementation of tobacco control in Africa by avoiding duplication of activities and mismanagement of resources.
Last week, the Gates Foundation officially released a communiqué announcing their commitment of more than US $32 million to support governments and Civil Society Organizations to implement tobacco control policies and programs in order to reduce tobacco use.
Under this funding, ACBF will support strategic grant-making and capacity building of the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa, the University of Cape Town and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to advance evidence-based Tobacco Control policies in Africa including tobacco taxation, advertising bans, graphic warning labels, and smoke-free environments. The CSOs will be drawn from Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Botswana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana, Niger, Benin, Gabon and the Gambia.
That's five "big' countries (Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana), two 'medium" Niger and Senegal, 5 small (Mauritania, Botswana, Benin, Gabon).
Coordination for effective Tobacco Control in Africa
The tobacco control partner coordination meeting will be held in Harare at the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) secretariat on 24th to 25th November 2014. Three institutions namely; ACBF, WHO (AFRO and Headquarters) and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) will meet to discuss how to improve coordination for Tobacco Control in Africa under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding for Africa.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy tells us about a talk delivered by Susan Desnond-Hellman where shew mentions the need for more transparency and listening to feedback. We wish this would not be only wishful thinking as far as the grants awarded by the Gatews Foundation to promote tobacco control in Africa are concerned. but a very small part of the Foundation's activity but why should they be exempt of the transparency requirement?
Visiting the site of the ACBF(African Capacity Building Foundation) that was awarded a 3 year grant (amount not available) one can see that the scope of the interventions has been drastically reduced, focusing on the CTCA and the University of Cape Town. Only six countries are 'targeted': Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. 0 information about this grant is available on the site of the Gates Foundation (that I could find). The more it changes... It's sad to see such a waste. The prospects don't look much better from the Bloomberg Initiative/CTFK where I have not seen any new grant recently awarded. When there is no clear strategy and no real leadership...
Visiting the Bloomberg Initiative's site we discover 4 grants awarded in May, June and july 2014. All are provided to groups that were already regularly funded in Togo ($100,293), Ghana ($80K) and Uganda ($32K and $75K). See the details below.
'The Harare based African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) recently entered into a strategic partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through which ACBF will advance evidence-based tobacco control policy in Africa through support to African civil organizations (CSOs). ACBF will serve as a strategic grant maker, capacity builder, and effectively coordinate with others working in tobacco control on the continent. The deliverables of the Foundation under this assignment include grant making and capacity building of the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), a regional center of excellence in tobacco control based in Kampala, Uganda and to civil service organizations operating in the tobacco control sector in Africa." They are looking for a 'Consultant Program Officer' and an administrative assistant. The deadline to submit an application is July 27. I have not yet found information about the budget awarded by the Gates Foundation. While researching for this post I found this very interesting interview of Frannie Léautier who used to be ACBF's Executive Secretary, about evaluation and monitoring results. Since December 2013 ACBF's Executive Secretary is Emmanuel Nnadozie.
Here is an ad for a communications officer position with the Gates Foundation. How do you think tobacco control could/should be part of this job? What could/should be a global communication strategy to promote tobacco control in Africa? How could tobacco control be part of the African Media Initiative who just got a new CEO, Eric Chinje?
Read the ITC press release. A report released today at a World No Tobacco Day event in Lusaka, Zambia, reveals that Zambia needs to address key gaps in its tobacco control policies in order to combat the increasing tobacco epidemic in Africa. The report, entitled “ITC Zambia National Report: Findings from the Wave 1 (2012) Survey” was produced by the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project), centered at the University of Waterloo, in partnership with the University of Zambia and the Zambian Ministry of Health.
Every year, WHO recognizes individuals or organizationsin each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. This recognition takes the form of WHO Director-General Special Recognition Awards, World No Tobacco Day Awards, and in 2014, two WHO Director-General's Special Recognition Certificates. Here are the African Region awardees Dr Kangoye Larba Théodore, Burkina Faso The House of Peoples Parliament, Federal Democratic Republi of Ethiopia Ms Dorcas Jepsongol Kiptui, Republic of Kenya Mr Badarou Agaly Maiga, Republic of Mali Professor Abdoulaye Diagne, Republic of Senegal Mr Vuyile Dlamini, Kingdom of Swaziland
ATCA held a strategic planning workshop in Lomé(Togo) for 3 days (April 2-4). They had the support of an anonymous consultant (but for his first name, Stéphane) from the Canadian consulting firm Universalia, apparently without previous experience in tobacco control. If you can understand what the results were, please tell me (see below the document provided on their site). No financial information is provided, like where is the funding going to come from? From the Gates Foundation again? From ACS?
WHO received in December 2009, $9.994.093 for a 5 year project centered around the creation of a 'hub'. The search for the country where the 'hub' would be installed was organized by the same DC based firm that was put in charge of its design and 'independent' evaluation. The announced budget for the 'hub' was to be about $3.5 million (less than 35% of the global grant) according to the document published in April 2010. The CTCA was inaugurated on... November 1, 2011 (the director had been recruited in September 2011). The 'first phase' of the WHO project is supposed to end, according to this document (at the bottom) in two months, in July 2014. What's next? Is the Gates Foundation going to continue its funding? at what level? for how long?
You can now search again the grants. That helps while I am updating the data for the third edition of Honest Feedback, soon to be available in print (on demand) and as e-book via Kindle/Amazon. The second edition was published in November 2011.
From The Atlantic, a very touchy subject, especially when you depend on philantropic funding. Does it apply to tobacco control funding in Africa? Does anybody dare expressing any wish for changes, ask for public evaluation and transparency? But of course, speaking out can bring personal negative consequences, as explained in this opinionin Chronicle of Philanthropy.
From the FCA's website. How cost effective is the training workshop practice that is still prevalent? In our internet age, is it really necessary to move (and host) people ("experts") that way to share information and build capacity? How is the information made available beyond the workshop's audience? What's differentfrom the september 2013 workshop? Is that voluntourismor expertourism?