Funding Model

  • Funding Process & Steps

    The Global Fund was created to bring additional resources to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to those countries and communities most in need. Because one of our core principles is the concept of country ownership, we provide funding at the country or regional level only.

    These are the steps involved in countries asking for – and receiving – funding. See regional applications for information on funding for regional initiatives.

    • How much money?
    • Country dialogue
    • National strategic plan
    • Concept Note
    • Technical Review Panel
    • Grant Approvals Committee
    • Grant-making
    • Board approval

    How much money?

    The Board of the Global Fund approves the eligibility criteria that determines which countries are eligible for funding, based on income level (according to the World Bank income classifications) and disease burden. It is possible for a country to be eligible to receive funding for only one disease component. For example, a country could be eligible to receive funding for AIDS but not malaria.

    Based on the total amount of funding available, the Board then approves an allocation for countries and their eligible components during the allocation period, which is three years. We are currently in the 2014-2016 allocation period.

    Countries have the option of reallocating funding from one disease component to another, or in many cases setting aside a portion of the allocation for health systems strengthening. 

    As an example: a country has been allocated US$10 million for each of the three diseases and wants to move US$2 million of their malaria money to TB and allocate US$3 million of the AIDS funding for cross-cutting health systems strengthening, leaving them with: US$7 million for AIDS, US$12 million for TB, US$8 million for malaria, and US$3 million for health systems strengthening. This adjustment is known as the “program split”, and any changes in the program split need to be approved by the Global Fund.

    Country dialogue

    For a country (or a region), a first step in the process is to start what we refer to as “country dialogue.” This is where countries are expected to put into practice the second core principle of the Global Fund: partnership. In the context of the Global Fund, “partnership” has a specific meaning: that everyone involved in the response to the diseases needs to be involved in the decision-making process.

    While the Country Coordinating Mechanism itself includes representatives of all sectors, the purpose of the country dialogue is to go beyond its membership and actively reach out to and engage with representatives of all sectors, particularly key populations. The purpose of country dialogue is to identify needs, work on national strategies, build resource mobilization efforts and prioritize intervention areas and actions that will make the most impact.

    This country dialogue should be an ongoing process, beginning well before the development of the concept note and continuing through implementation of the grant. In other words, get involved and stay involved. 

    National strategic plan

    Rather than providing funding on the basis of a separate project, which can lead to fragmentation of efforts and a heavy administrative burden for both countries and donors, the Global Fund wants to work with existing national systems and so we are encouraging countries to base their funding requests on the country’s national strategic plan for the disease. 

    Again bringing the principal of partnership into play, national strategic plans should be developed in consultation with all stakeholders.

    If a country does not yet have a national strategic plan for a disease, or if the plan is no longer current, countries can base their requests on an established investment case.

    Concept note

    Using the national strategic plan as the basis, the Country Coordinating Mechanism will then develop the request for funding, known as a “concept note.” The most effective concept notes are those developed with the input of a group that includes representatives of multiple sectors – particularly representatives of communities living with the diseases.

    The concept note includes four sections:

    Section 1: Country Context

    Countries provide information on the current epidemiological situation and outline the constraints and barriers. They also provide an assessment of the country’s current response to the disease.

    Section 2: Funding Landscape

    What is the current funding landscape, and what is the anticipated future funding? This allows reviewers to understand the total commitments to the disease, both from the country and from other donors. It is particularly useful in understanding where there may be funding gaps.

    Section 3: Funding Request

    In this section, the country will prioritize all the interventions and programs to be included in the Global Fund grant(s), and include a budget.

    Section 4: Implementation and Risk

    After defining and costing the interventions to be funded, countries detail how these interventions will be implemented, and by whom. They also need to include any risk mitigation measures that will be put into place.

    Technical Review Panel

    After submission, the concept note will be evaluated by the Technical Review Panel. The Technical Review Panel meets to coincide with application “windows.” Countries can submit their concept notes during any window during the three-year allocation period, but we ask that the Country Coordinating Mechanism register for the windows in which they intend to submit.

    The Technical Review Panel is designed to work to get to an outcome of “yes”, which is the recommendation that the concept note is ready to proceed to grant-making, bearing in mind that their goal is to support programs that will have the highest impact in the context of the country. If they feel that a concept note is not of sufficient quality they will ask the country to revise and re-submit their concept note. A re-submitted concept note is known as an “iteration.” 

    During this step of the process, the Technical Review Panel will work with the Country Coordinating Mechanism and the country team of the Global Fund to ensure that the funding request is as robust as possible. Once it is satisfied that the concept note is ready for the next step, it passes its recommendation on to the Grant Approvals Committee.

    Grant Approvals Committee

    The Grant Approvals Committee is a committee of senior management at the Global Fund and technical and bilateral partners. Their responsibility is to set the upper funding ceiling for the grant(s), based on the Technical Review Panel’s recommendations as well as a number of qualitative factors.

    The budget for grants includes funding available from a country’s allocation amount and, if applicable, any available “incentive funding.” Incentive funding is a special reserve of funding available on a competitive basis and it is awarded to eligible applications that demonstrate the greatest potential for high impact with additional funds. Incentive funding is meant to encourage ambitious requests based on national strategic plans.

    If projects are deemed technically sound and strategically focused but there is no money to fund them, they are placed on the “Register of Unfunded Quality Demand.” This list of unfunded projects is made available so that donors who wish to fund specific interventions can identify projects and areas of need.


    In this stage of the process, the Country Coordinating Mechanism and the Global Fund work with the organization nominated to implement the grant, known as a Principal Recipient. The Principal Recipient is assessed by the Global Fund and then the Principal Recipient and the Global Fund will work together to develop, among other documents:

    • The performance framework 
    • The detailed budget 
    • The workplan
    • The procurement and supply management plan

    Part of the work at this step is also to create an implementation map, which sets out exactly which activities will be carried out and by whom.

    Once this work is completed, the grant documentation undergoes a final review by the Grant Approvals Committee before being sent to the Board for approval. 

    Board approval

    After the Grant Approvals Committee’s review, grants are considered to be “disbursement-ready.” These are then sent to the Board of the Global Fund for final approval and, once approved, the grant is then signed and the first disbursement is made to the Principal Recipient.

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