Seven Alliance Consortium Strengthen CLM in Asia Through Inaugural Webinar Series

Published May 31, 2023

15 & 16 May 2023 – The Seven Alliance consortium, comprising Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), Asia Pacific Network of people Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+), Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), International Community of Women Living with HIV in Asia Pacific (ICW-AP), Network of Asian People who Use Drugs (NAPUD) and YouthLead hosted a webinar titled “Strengthening CLM in Asia and the Pacific through Capacity Building, Cross-Learning, and Advocacy.” Led by APCOM and ICW-AP, the event aimed to strengthen Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) in the region through capacity building, cross-learning, and advocacy efforts.

CLM, defined by UNAIDS as an accountability mechanism for HIV responses led by local community-led organizations, networks of key populations, and other affected groups, plays a crucial role in capturing the experiences of community members accessing health services. It identifies obstacles faced by these individuals and collaborates with decision-makers to develop solutions.

The primary purpose of the webinar series was twofold. Firstly, it aimed to enhance the capacity of key population (KP) and people living with HIV (PLHIV) communities to establish robust and sustainable CLM mechanisms at the country level. Secondly, the event aimed to foster cross-learning and sharing of experiences and best practices to promote acceptance and buy-in for CLM across the region.

Webinar #1: Knowing the Basics about CLM: CLM Concept, Principles, and Steps for Implementation 
On May 15, 2023, the “Knowing the Basics about CLM” webinar, organized by APCOM, successfully provided participants with a comprehensive overview of the CLM concept, its fundamental principles, and the general process for implementing CLM. Held on Monday, the webinar aimed to equip attendees with a solid understanding of CLM and its potential for positive change.

The event commenced with welcoming remarks delivered by prominent figures in the field, including Midnight Poonkasetwattana from APCOM, Sita Shahi from ICWAP, Shane Diekman from CDC Asia, and Salil Panakadan from UNAIDS. Their opening words set the tone for an engaging and informative session.

Kaythi from APNSW then took the stage to discuss the purpose of CLM training and the expected results. This session provided participants with a clear understanding of the training objectives and the transformative impact they can expect from their participation.

The Setting the Scene session featured three insightful presentations. Francis Joseph from NAPUD presented on the significance of CLM for communities, regional efforts in CLM, and technical assistance for country partners. Raine Cortes Senior Program Officer of Community, Rights, and Gender (CRG) at  The Global Fund explained how CLM fits into the CLR/CSS framework, highlighting its role in promoting community-led responses. Michela Polesana from UNAIDS provided an overview of the CLM landscape in Asia and the Pacific, shedding light on regional developments and opportunities.

Participants then had the opportunity to learn about the CLM framework through two informative presentations. Jelena Bozinovsk from ITPC elucidated the definition of CLM, clarifying what it encompasses and what it does not. Jelena also explored the potential for integrating CLM into The Global Fund proposals and the available technical assistance. Selvan Anthony from APCOM subsequently outlined the general principles and steps involved in CLM implementation, equipping attendees with practical knowledge for their future endeavors.

The webinar then delved into an overview of the most recent and relevant CLM models and tools used in Asia and the Pacific. Yashwinder Singh from Pahel Foundation, India, shared insights on CLM models, approaches, and frameworks employed at the country level. Seum Sophal, Program Manager of the Cambodian People Living with HIV Network, Cambodia, discussed CLM tools, showcasing practical examples for effective implementation.

The final session, presented by Dom Kemps from UNAIDS, focused on the CLM progression matrix. This segment provided participants with a framework for assessing and tracking progress in their CLM initiatives.

Webinar #2: “Breaking Barriers: Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) Realities on the Ground”
On 16 May 2023, the “Breaking Barriers: Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) Realities on the Ground” webinar brought together community leaders, activists, and organizations to share their insights, experiences, and best practices in conducting CLM at the national level. The event, held from 2:00 to 4:00 pm ICT, aimed to foster cross-learning and enable communities to develop key strategies for implementing successful community-led monitoring projects.

The webinar commenced with a warm welcome by Sita Shahi, Regional Coordinator of ICW-AP (International Community of Women Living with HIV Asia-Pacific). Sita emphasized the importance of community-driven initiatives and the power of knowledge exchange to drive positive change.

Ingrid Silalahi, Regional Consultant for Young Key Population at UNAIDS Regional Support Team (RST), followed with insightful remarks on the significance of CLM in addressing key population issues. Ingrid highlighted the need for collaborative efforts to ensure the effectiveness of community-led monitoring.

Raine Cortes, Senior Program Officer of Community, Rights, and Gender (CRG) at The Global Fund, then provided an introduction, setting the stage for the moderated panel discussion. The panel featured esteemed speakers who shared their experiences and perspectives on CLM implementation.

Wangda Dorji, Executive Director of Lhak-Sam, Tenzin Gyeltshen, Executive Director of Rainbow Bhutan, Meirinda Sebayang, Chairperson of Jaringan Indonesia Positif (JIP), and Sara Thapa, President of the National Federation of Women Living with HIV (NFWLHA) Nepal, engaged in a thought-provoking discussion moderated by Raine Cortes. Their collective expertise shed light on the challenges faced during CLM projects and the effective strategies employed to overcome these obstacles.

The event also included two Menti exercises, facilitated by Raine Cortes, where participants shared key asks for ensuring community-led and community-owned CLM projects from inception to implementation as well as key learnings and takeaways from the cross-learning webinar where participants foregrounded the importance of community coalition in demanding for ownership of CLM programs and the role of community leadership in achieving UNAIDS fast-track targets. This interactive session provided valuable insights and diverse perspectives, highlighting the common priorities and concerns within the community. 

The webinar concluded with a summary of the Menti exercise, delivered by Harry Prabowo, Program Manager of Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (APN+). Harry reflected on the discussions and key takeaways, emphasizing the importance of community leadership and ownership in CLM initiatives.

The webinar series facilitated knowledge sharing and discussions among participants, furthering the advancement of CLM implementation and supporting the health and rights of key populations in the region. The event’s comprehensive agenda, experienced speakers, and interactive sessions ensured that attendees gained valuable insights into CLM implementation. With this newfound understanding, participants are well-positioned to drive positive change and foster community-led monitoring in their respective contexts. Through such cross-learning initiatives, we can break barriers and create meaningful change in the realm of community-led monitoring.

The Seven Alliance consortium is committed to supporting CLM implementers through technical assistance and continues to organize webinars to further these objectives.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Erik Nadir
Asia Pacific Transgender Network

About Seven Alliance
The Seven Alliance is a consortium comprising APTN, APCOM, ICWAP, APN+, APNSW, YouthLead, and NAPUD. It aims to promote Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) at regional and country levels within the Asia Pacific region. Through capacity building, cross-learning, and advocacy efforts, the Seven Alliance supports the establishment of strong and sustainable CLM mechanisms for key populations and people living with HIV.

About CLM
According to UNAIDS, Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) is an accountability mechanism for HIV responses at different levels, led and implemented by local community-led organizations of people living with HIV, networks of key populations, and other affected groups or other community entities. CLM captures the experiences of individuals accessing health services, identifies obstacles they face, and collaborates with decision-makers to address these challenges.