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Overcoming barriers: GTBC holds first-ever FP capacity building workshop on parliamentary advocacy



Despite the success of National Caucuses in countries and the continuous advocacy at the country level by Parliamentarians (MPs) and Civil Society (CSOs), a recent survey carried out by the Global TB Caucus on MP and CSO engagement during COVID-19 showed that the relationship between MPs and Focal Points (FPs) in some countries are either non-existent or relatively distant.

It is upon this backdrop that the Global TB Caucus in the Francophone region, in collaboration with DRAF-TB on the 1st June 2021, convened its first on-line focal points capacity building workshop on parliamentary advocacy.

During this meeting, Focal Points (FPs) provided a summary and/or overview of their current work, particularly in their engagement with parliamentarians during the COVID-19 pandemic; including the challenges associated with effectively engaging MPs in the region on issues of TB.

The Global TB Caucus, since its inception, has had a longstanding history of collaboration with Civil Society. This relationship and collaborative effort has resulted in the continuous growth, establishment and effectiveness of National Caucuses. In order to foster this relationship for maximum impact at the country level, the Global TB Caucus leveraged on this meeting to provide focal points with strategic information on how to overcome challenges and barriers to effective parliamentary advocacy.

The meeting also saw the sign up of eight (8) focal points to the Global TB Caucus Platform of experts, which will be officially launched on the 30th of June 2021.

Altogether, the results of the discussions from this workshop will contribute immensely toward the Francophone regional strategy for Focal Points and Parliamentarian engagement in the fight against tuberculosis at the country level moving forward.

The workshop was chaired by Deborah Ogwuche (Francophone and West Africa Regional Manager, Global TB Caucus) and Bertrand Kampoer (Regional Coordinator, DRAF-TB). Luciana Nemeth, the Interim Head of Secretariat of the Global TB Caucus also participated along with 14 DRAF TB Focal points from ten (10) Countries (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Chad, Congo, Côte d’ivoire, Gabon, Guinée, and Sénégal).

What is a Focal Point?

Greater political engagement on TB is critical to accelerating progress against the disease, but parliamentarians know that local support of the community affected by the TB epidemic is essential to successful advocacy. The Global TB Caucus strives to identify civil society organisations in every country that are motivated to work with their local parliamentarians in the fight against TB as Focal Points.

GTBC Focal Points are autonomous independent organisations supported by the Caucus through training and technical assistance to help parliamentarians develop political leadership to end TB. Although we do not directly fund the work of Focal Points, and the decisions and actions of national groups do not bind the Global TB Caucus, nor do decisions made by the Caucus have any influence over the actions of national groups, we do recognise the critical value of their role in developing political leadership and impact in the TB response and aim to support it in all ways possible.