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Harmonization Working Group (HWG)

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Melanie Renshaw (ALMA)
Peter Olumese (WHO/GMP)
RBM Secretariat Focal point:
Richard Carr
Tel.: +41 22 791 3518
Upcoming meetings:
Elimination 8 Concept Note Review Workshop, 17-18 November 2014, Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE
View Meeting agenda


The purpose of the Harmonization Working Group (HWG) is to implement a formal partnership mechanism to facilitate and harmonize timely support from the RBM Partnership mechanisms to achieve the GMAP targets.


In the last few years significant additional resources (GFATM, World Bank Booster, PMI) have been dedicated to the fight against malaria. The next five years (2010-2015) is a critical period in the fight against malaria, resources will need to be used as effectively and efficiently as possible to maintain universal coverage, scale up interventions for impact where this has not occurred, and achieve 2015 global targets. This period represents a rare window of opportunity that could close rapidly without demonstrated impact on malaria at country level. It is critical to achieve impact to sustain donor interest and continued investment.

Countries face multiple challenges in their efforts to scale up and maintain their malaria control programmes. It is generally accepted that the following obstacles are common to several countries: weak managerial, planning and implementation capacities, lack of a comprehensive analysis of technical and financial gaps, sub-optimal monitoring of performance, and insufficient and/or sub-optimal use of resources, all of which inhibit cohesive scaling of activities. Harmonization of partner efforts at the country-level will be facilitated by the development of the 'three ones' at country level; where all partners identify and adhere to one coordination mechanism; one strategic plan and one M&E system.

There is agreement among RBM Partners that meeting the challenge of reaching Universal Coverage requires a rapid effort to define what should be done better and differently, how it will be done and by whom. The true test is in the effective translation of efforts at the country level through concrete interventions that improve and sustain malaria outcomes on a large scale. Countries and partners have identified resource mobilization and implementation support as two major areas where many countries require assistance.

There is a consensus that resources currently available, although at a higher level than ever before, are still not sufficient to meet the needs of endemic countries in controlling malaria. Donors need to be reassured that the resources they have already committed or will commit will be used effectively. Therefore, a process for validating country strategies and ensuring that programmes have capacity/ability to effectively implement and achieve impact is needed.

In addition to the challenges encountered by the countries themselves, recent meetings highlight a main challenge within the RBM Partnership. Many activities are being performed by a variety of partners, leading to a lack of cohesiveness among RBM Working Groups, Sub-regional networks, funding agencies. Major initiatives have been operating almost independently; without the broader support of the partnership. A process to effectively bring together the resources and inputs of various RBM partners is urgently required. The purpose of the HWG is thus to develop a formal partnership mechanism to coordinate, facilitate and harmonize RBM mechanism timely support to assist countries to achieve the GMAP targets.

Functions of the Working Group

The HWG will focus on the following activities:

Convene: the HWG brings together a group of partners who provide support in response to needs at country level identified by the SRNs or other sub-regional or in-country bodies / mechanisms.

Co-ordinate: by bringing the Partners together, gives a forum for the Partners to co-ordinate their:

  • Support towards
    the development of national malaria strategic goals and objectives (National malaria strategic and implementation plans,
    overall implementation of the malaria strategic plans
    malaria programme review and evaluation
  • Emergency support: Mobilize partners to provide timely support to countries with unmet needs predominantly through the SRNs.
  • Resource mobilization: Develop a formal process to facilitate support to countries for matching donor resources to country-identified gaps, including coordinating the RBM Partnership support to development of Global Fund proposals and other such funding mechanisms and sources.
  • As and when required, assess and/or provide guidance to the entire partnership, including donors on whether countries can effectively absorb more resources.
  • Implementation support: Facilitate the provision of harmonized support to countries to identify and resolve implementation bottlenecks/issues so that countries perform at a high level (e.g. A1 or B1 with Global Fund Grants). The primary point of support above the country level will be the SRNs. If global level support is required and/or additional RBM Working Group support is required, the HWG will coordinate /facilitate a comprehensive RBM response.
  • Working with and through the SRNs, facilitate the development of a global early warning system to identify countries with implementation challenges at an early stage to facilitate the provision of effective and timely support to help countries resolve bottlenecks.

Facilitate Communication: by bringing Partners together, the HWG is a forum for communication and mutual learning.

  • Harmonize information collection, track country progress and resource flows from partners to countries, and disseminate information.
  • Liaise with RBM working groups to disseminate their products and support country needs assessment and implementation.
  • Work with global advocacy task forces to raise awareness of country situations and mobilize partners to provide support.

For further information, please refer to the HWG Revised Terms of Reference adopted in January 2014 following the 25th RBM Partnership Board meeting.

HWG Organization:

The Harmonization Working Group is organized by "Workstreams", each of which is a priority area of support, and is chaired or co-chaired by a HWG Member. Workstreams are opened and closed as required, and agreed during semi-annual HWG meetings. The following are the HWG's three active workstreams.

  1. Resource mobilization Workstream
    Co-Chairs: Peter Olumese (WHO GMP), Melanie Renshaw (ALMA)
  2. Malaria Programme Reviews/National Strategic Plans Workstream
    Co-Chairs: Duncan Earle (MACEPA), WHO AFRO (TBC)
  3. AMFm transition Workstream
    Co-Chairs: Peter Olumese (WHO GMP), Bruno Moonen (CHAI)
Reference Documents

Related materials

RBM Partnership Programmatic
Gap Analysis

Download the tool [in English] [in French]
HWG Guidance notes [in English] [in French]
Gap Analysis Summary as of 5 May 2013
Gap Analysis Summary as of 19 September 2013

Malaria Implementation Guidance in support of the preparation of Concept Notes for the Global Fund

Download the Briefing note

[Briefing note in French]