Location: Bhutan

Strengthening the Global Fund’s Principal Recipient

In order for Bhutan’s government to effectively implement its HIV/AIDS and TB grants, the Secretary of Health requested assistance from the Grant Management Solutions (GMS) Project in the spring of 2009. Unlike the malaria grants, which were running smoothly in Bhutan’s south central region, the HIV/AIDS and TB programs were having some difficulty working within the central government’s requirements and procedures.

GMS fielded a team of four consultants headed by an IDEAS staff member. To facilitate clear understanding of the Global Fund’s grant management requirements, the team carefully crafted and facilitated a three-day orientation for representatives of all the stakeholder organizations. By the end of the sessions, the participants had achieved a common understanding of the concepts and realities of performance-based contracting – the core of grant management.

The team built on workshop recommendations, as well as on Global Fund experience in other countries, to help clarify the roles and responsibilities of Principal Recipients; sub-recipients; ministries; and finance, program and project officers. The newly achieved common understanding of grants management also enabled the stakeholders to work in small teams towards common goals, rather than as individuals with varied agendas.

During two later visits, the GMS team and its counterparts agreed on many organizational approaches and activities, which were later implemented. The team also assisted the Ministry of Health to prepare Phase 2 proposals for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Rapid response to urgent closeout planning

The Bhutan Ministry of Health requested assistance to complete the required closeout plan for the Global Fund’s tuberculosis (TB) Round 4 grant before signing Phase 2 agreements for TB and HIV/AIDS. The deadline was imminent and the assignment urgent, and IDEAS responded quickly and effectively. The GMS Project engaged the IDEAS staff member who had headed the previous GMS team, as well as a financial expert. As leader of this new team, the IDEAS staff member brought together the local consultant and experts in TB, finance, and project management who had worked effectively together on the previous assignment with the Ministry.

Within two weeks, the team had finished their complex assignment – before the deadline. Due to their work, the Ministry fully met the Global Fund requirements, the Global Fund signed the TB and HIV/AIDS Phase 2 agreements, and both new programs began on schedule.

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