Pepfar Watch

2021 PEPFAR Country Operational Plans: Mark your calendars and get involved!

The original blog is available on the MPact website here: English | Français

As we approach the end of 2020, the PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP) and Regional Operational Plan (ROP) planning processes for 2021 are about to commence. 

At the end of December 2020, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) will publish the final version of the 2021 PEPFAR COP Guidance. It is crucial that gay men, bisexual men, and other men having sex with men, and other civil society advocates and key population-led groups be prepared to engage in the annual PEPFAR planning processes. 

Community groups can best engage by:

  • Identifying and understanding the key directives of the 2021 COP Guidance
  • Reminding PEPFAR country teams of their responsibilities to key populations
  • Explicitly connect the KP representative with members of the KP communities 
  • Reporting to OGAC and to local, regional, and global civil society peers if and when PEPFAR country teams do not engage with and meet the needs of key populations

The recently released MPact technical brief From Commitments to Actions: Prioritizing Key Populations in PEPFAR Programs provides detailed information and tips on how advocates can engage. This technical brief is intended for key population advocates and key population-led organizations who engage with PEPFAR mechanisms at the country and regional levels. It is a useful resource to better understand PEPFAR’s financial and policy-related commitment and to help KP communities successfully engage with PEPFAR’s annual planning processes.

Download the Tech Brief in English | Télécharger la Note Technique en Français

Key Dates for Civil Society in the 2021 PEPFAR COP Process
December 2020PEPFAR country teams should be able to provide local civil society organizations (CSOs) with country-level data (POART data) from Quarter 4 of 2020 programming – 2021 PEPFAR COP guidance is shared.
January 2021The formal PEPFAR process begins. Activists and community-led organizations should identify their main priorities for change in collaboration with other key populations organizations.
Mid- January 2021PEPFAR country teams are scheduled to hold a virtual “strategic retreat” that includes local CSO representatives to discuss the 2021 COP process.
January/February 2021Country planning level letters are shared. Virtual planning meetings.
February/March/April  2021PEPFAR country and Washington, D.C. teams, country and global civil society groups, governments, UNAIDS, and Global Fund representatives gather virtually for 5-day meetings where they will lay out the priorities for COP 2021. 
March 2021COPs due to the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (PEPFAR headquarters) in Washington, D.C. 
April 2021In country COP approval and congressional notification

In addition to taking note of the key dates in the table above, community-led groups and activists can benefit from participating in webinars that will be organized by MPact and our partners at PEPFAR Watch on December 8, 2020 and on January 28, 2021. Starting January 2021, additional webinars will cover topics such as PrEP, key populations, retention, dealing with data, testing strategies, TB, pediatric HIV, and a review on how to complete the checklist and to best engage in virtual meetings. A complete list of webinars will be shared in early January 2021 for you to sign up.

Join us on Tuesday, December 8, 2020: Webinar on building community priorities for COP 2021 (How best to engage with the PEPFAR 2021 Planning Process). Sign up here

Join us on Thursday, January 28, 2021: Webinar on strategies to improve access to HIV testing, treatment, and care for key populations (gay men and men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, and people who use drugs). Sign up here.

All webinars will take place during these times: Washington, D.C. 9 a.m. | Johannesburg 3 p.m. | Nairobi 4 p.m. 

We recommend you start meeting virtually as civil society as soon as possible to review last year’s COP and begin building a list of recommendations and demands you can submit to PEPFAR by the end of January 2021.

Do not forget to take a look at the PEPFAR data for 2020 as a tool for advocacy as it tells an important story of what is working for key population communities, and what is not. PEPFAR data is now accessible on the amfAR website

It is also time to build a written priority list. You can use the checklist template here.

As always, we greatly value receiving your feedback as it helps us reinforce our advocacy efforts at the local, regional, and global levels. We thank you for your much-appreciated engagement with this critical process.

Yours in global solidarity,