Regional Platform of Francophone CSOs

The Gavi CSO Constituency also recognized the important and unique challenges to increasing immunisation coverage, particularly in Francophone Africa. These challenges were due to a number of factors including

      lack of advocacy expertise and capacity among civil society,

      lack of information, resources and tools in French,

      a weaker civil society tradition compared to Anglophone African countries,

      Unstable political environments including a number of fragile and/or post-conflict countries in the region.

 In response to the need to address these challenges, Gavi supported a regional consultation with civil society representatives from 17 Francophone African countries. The meeting was jointly organized by UNICEF AFRO and the Gavi CSO Steering Committee and resulted in agreement on the following objectives:

1. To organize Francophone CSOs in the region into an effective platform recognized nationally, regionally and globally for increasing the true participation of CSOs in vaccination and health system strengthening in Francophone countries

2. To increase the involvement of CSOs in policy formulation, design implementation and evaluation of health programmes, and in particular vaccination, at the national and regional level

3. To increase partnerships between Francophone CSOs, regional institutions, and the private sector

4. To increase Francophone CSO participation in the Gavi CSO constituency and strengthen the dialogue between Northern and Southern partners particularly around health system and immunisation issues

 At the conclusion of the consultation, participants founded the Regional Platform of Francophone CSOs for Health System Strengthening and Immunisation, OAFRESS (Organisation d'Afrique Francophone pour le Renforcement des Systèmes de Santé et de la vaccination). CSO representatives called on the Regional Network of West and Central African NGO Platforms (REPAOC) to coordinate the nascent platform, which it has done so since 2011 with extremely limited resources.

 Activities to date have focused on the creation and maintenance of an OAFRESS blog page for communication support and coordinating joint activities in the North and South during World Pneumonia Day and World Immunisation Weeks.

 The Francophone Africa civil society platform is the only regional platform that has been established by the Gavi CSO Constituency. The Francophone Africa platform continue to inform Gavi and the CSO Constituency on needs of Francophone Africa CSOs to maximize their efforts in immunisation.