Nothing About Us Without Us: How activists can claim their role in PEPFAR decision-making

Kenya has the fourth highest HIV burden in the world – and international donors currently fund 70% of the AIDS response in the country. The majority of this donor funding is from the U.S. funded President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides $500 million USD a year.  As the largest funder, PEPFAR plays a key role in the HIV response in our country – as it does throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa.  It is crucial that the voices of activists are heard by PEPFAR when they decide how funding is used.

Over the next month, PEPFAR will be reviewing and finalizing its Country/Regional Operational Plans (COP/ROP) for every country and region that it funds – including Kenya.  Activists have an important and exciting opportunity to influence this process.

Each PEPFAR country plan lays out the budget, targets, areas of geographic focus, and expected impact of PEPFAR funding for the following year. After years of civil society pressure, PEPFAR has created a new process that allows activists to engage in this planning process. To learn more about this, check out our new factsheet “How can you influence PEPFAR plans in your country?” Engaging on PEPFAR plans allows us ensure that the billions of dollars spent by the US government on the AIDS response is put to good use to meet the needs of communities most affected by the epidemic. These efforts can also help to leverage greater impact from Global Fund grants and national government investments.

Right now, Health GAP is working with people living with HIV, key populations groups and other activists in priority countries including Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe to ensure that PEPFAR’s draft plans reflect community priorities.  Activists are reviewing the draft PEPFAR plans in each country, and will submit recommendations to PEPFAR ahead of review meetings later this month.

We’ll be attending these COP review meetings, along with activist partners, the Global Fund, and government representatives. We will be working to ensure our recommendations are integrated into the final COP.

Are you interested in getting involved with PEPFAR advocacy in your country? We’ve prepared these two fact sheets to explain the PEPFAR program and the COPs engagement process to help you get started. Write to us at if you have questions about how to get involved.

What is PEPFAR?


How can you influence PEPFAR plans?