Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


This is a joint post with Denizhan Duran.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria recently made it easier to find out where their money is going with the launch of a new, online grant portfolio portal. This welcome and timely tool comes amid the Global Fund’s ambitious replenishment process that asks donors for $15 billion over the next three years to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria – a considerable amount that totals twice the Fund’s average annual disbursements over the past decade.  So we’re pleased to see the Global Fund take such a significant step to show stakeholders how these investments are being spent and what they are achieving. And as avid users of Global Fund data ourselves, we’re particularly pleased to see a few features of this new tool.

First, the new portal is easy to use.  This may sound simplistic, but historically it required a very cumbersome process (i.e. sifting through hundreds of PDFs, extracting data and manually entering values into spreadsheets) to find the answers to some very basic questions like: how much progress have grants made towards their targets, or how much money has been spent on a particular intervention. Now, there are individual landing pages for every grant (such as this one), which include a list of service delivery areas, charts showing disbursements versus budgets versus expenditures, and grant performance over time and across certain indicators. This ease of use will benefit all stakeholders including donors, civil society and grant recipients.

The portal also signals a new focus on country-level results. The Fund generally emphasizes its top-line results as impact and has shied away from reporting country-level results. But the new portal has country pages (such as this one) that show how many people are receiving AIDS treatment, how many TB cases were detected and treated, and how many bednets were distributed at the country level. 

Of course, it’s always possible to make this reporting better and more useful for everyone. I’m dreaming of a spreadsheet which aggregates information that the Global Fund already presents in these pages, as well as more data that is already reported across their documents. Wouldn’t it be great if, by a single click, one could access expenditures by service delivery area and by key populations, as well as progress towards every individual goal of the grant?  Being able to track money benefits everyone as we strive to maximize impact, and it’s encouraging to see that the Global Fund is on the right track.