Country Ownership for an AIDS-free Generation
24 March 2014
By Deborah von Zinkernagel and Daniel W. Yohannes
This piece was originally published on the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s blog on March 21. Deborah von Zinkernagel is the acting U.S. global AIDS coordinator, and Daniel W. Yohannes is the chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Today, our agencies opened a new collaborative chapter by signing a memorandum of agreement to advance the sustainability of PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) programs. This agreement launches a three-year partnership between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the State Department’s Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, which manages PEPFAR, that will tap into what we each do best.
MCC’s experience with country-owned assistance programs together with PEPFAR’s excellence in providing support to national programs will come together to help evolve and enhance how PEPFAR resources are planned strategically together with partner countries, with the aim of making real and impactful progress toward an AIDS-free generation.
What does this mean, and why does it matter?
It means strengthening partnerships between the United States and PEPFAR countries built on mutual responsibility, accountability, transparency, and leadership. To be sustainable, it is critical that partner countries increasingly lead, manage, and implement their own HIV/AIDS response. These solutions must truly be national and include stakeholders across government and party lines, civil society, faith-based organizations, the private sector, and donor partners. This level of engagement captures homegrown expertise and builds on it, giving countries a huge stake in delivering the results. As countries take the reins, they move toward greater self-sufficiency. Simultaneously, scientific evidence and proven programmatic approaches must continue to inform our efforts.
Guided by science and the principle of country ownership, our collaboration will allow us to learn from one another. It will deepen our knowledge, advance best practices and add to the growing body of evidence about what makes foreign assistance successful.
Signing the memorandum between our two offices is a promising start. What is key now is turning that promise into convincing proof that country-designed and country-driven strategies—grounded in science, shared responsibility, accountability, and transparency—can most sustainably provide prevention, treatment and care for those living with HIV/AIDS and contribute, ultimately, to an AIDS-free generation. We look forward to seeing that future unfold.