Who we are
Malaria Free Mekong
The Malaria Free Mekong is a network platform of civil society organizations and communities from the Global Fund RAI implementing countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Malaria Free Mekong serves as the CSOs’ constituency engagement mechanism for the Global Fund RAI grant. The Platform was established in 2014 with the initiative of Louis Da Gama and Promboon Panitchpakdi to bridge community, project implementers, policymakers, and donors at the RAI RSC level. The platform also fills the gap of coordination and communication of CSOs serving the community at the national and regional levels. The platform works closely with the non-government organizations in each RAI implementing countries and the RAI RSC secretariat through CSO representatives. Maxine Whittaker and Josselyn Neukom serve as the CSO representatives in Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative 3 Elimination (RAI3E) for 2021-2023 at RSC.
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
CSOs play a crucial role in malaria control and elimination in the GMS, especially in providing services to remote and hard-to-reach communities where governments have limited access and capacity to reach out for providing services. Efforts to eliminate malaria within a targeted timeline require greater coordination and collaboration as well as harmonization of activities on multiple relevant stakeholders. As the malaria burden in the GMS is increasingly concentrated along borders and forested areas, CSOs have built unique relationships of trust with the affected communities, many of which are mobile and migrant populations (documented and undocumented), illegal workers, ethnic groups and marginalized population. The CSOs are also filling the void of access to services in remote and conflict areas where government system is difficult to reach the community.
The Malaria Free Mekong communicates and coordinates with the CSOs in each RAI implementing country to identify the bottleneck and challenges. The platform has three steering committee members in each country; one of them serves as a focal point for communication and coordination with the national stakeholders.
Contribute to malaria elimination effort in the Greater Mekong Sub region
- Facilitate meaningful coordination and partnership between civil society organizations and other key malaria actors including donors, governments, and other relevant stakeholders (ethnic health and data sharing entities)
- Advocate for enabling policy, strategies, and plans that include community-based services and respect the rights of all communities in the GMS (communicate successes, values added and contribution of communities and civil society organizations in malaria elimination efforts, enabling environment, domestic resource mobilization, accountability of spending, more funding for CSO)
- Strengthen capacity among civil society actors by leveraging the strengths of implementing and other technical partners (community engagement tools and guidance, as well as community advocate)
Through civil society engagement mechanism for the Global Fund RAI grant for the community, Malaria Free Mekong's main role is to support two RAI RSC CSO representatives for community engagement, best practices, issues, and challenges from the communities in the implementation of the RAI2E grant. The platform also plays a key role in advocacy, communication and community engagement through different activities such as national and regional consultations, cross-partner learning visit, strengthening the capacity of CSOs by sharing the new information and tools and bringing technical experts around the globe and improvement in coordination of communities by creating or supporting existing networks in the country. Strengthening strong coordination and partnership between CSOs and national programs and CCM is priority of the platform for better planning and collaborative work during RAI3E.
The Platform provides a common space to all CSOs from the GMS that are working on malaria control and elimination or working with malaria-affected communities through other development programs (e.g., for education, human rights, and other essential health services). The platform also provides meaningful representation and engagement of the community and CSOs in the Country Coordinating Mechanisms and its activities.
Malaria Free Mekong leverages existing CSO networks in each RAI2E implementing country through four main governance structures; CSO Representatives and alternates at the RAI RSC, the Steering Committee, the Project Advisory Team, and the broader CSO network. These mechanisms also work closely with the RAI2E Regional Steering Committee (RSC) to ensure CSOs remain engaged in all decision-making levels (country, regional, and global).
- CSO Representatives at the RAI RSC: Two RAI RSC CSO representatives play a key role in decision making and ensuring transparency accountability and good governance of the Global Fund RAI grant. The two representatives work closely with the platform secretariat and steering committee members. In addition to the RSC CSO representatives, two alternate RAI RSC CSO representatives support CSO Representatives in preparation for the RSC and platform activities. RAI RSC CSO representatives and alternates also play an advisory role to the Malaria Free Mekong in strategic planning and implementation of the activities.
- The Steering Committee is the main decision-making body of the Platform. It consists of three CSO partners from each RAI2E country, elected by each national CSO network. One of the steering committee members serves as a focal point to coordinate and communicate with local stakeholders and the platform secretariat for gathering information and implementation of the platform activities. The Platform steering committee meets at least twice a year to provide strategic direction and decision for the platform activities and ensure an effective and transparent governance mechanism for the platform.
- The project advisory Team (PAT) compose of five focal points from each country, one RAI RSC CSO Representative, one Alternative CSO Representative, and ARC Senior Management. The PAT guides as a core advisory group to the platform host organization on activity planning and implementation.
- Broader CSO network: Primarily malaria CSOs who are RAI2E SRs, CSOs implementing non-GF malaria grant, and organization not directly implementing malaria grant but serving vulnerable malaria community through different projects are part of the network. Many of them are consulted and engaged in all platform’s regional activities and communication. The network is vital in providing inputs for country-level activities and priority areas as well as sharing the stories and best practices from the communities to improve the effectiveness and impact of malaria elimination activities.
Any non-governmental organizations (NGO, INGO, and CBO) working in Malaria control, prevention, elimination, and research or organization not implementing malaria project but serving in a malaria-risk area and population through different projects in the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries can be the network of the platform.
The Malaria Free Mekong platform helps all CSOs working in malaria or with the at-risk populations to raise their issues. Being a part of Platform’s network, you will have the opportunity to contribute to national and regional dialogue related to RAI2E. You will also be able to share challenges, issues and best practices from your countries with Malaria Free Mekong for advocacy.