A Renewed Canadian Investment to the Global Financing Facility – Stories from Kenya

“We always knew that investing in people is the right thing to do; now we’re learning that, economically, it may very well be the smartest thing to do. Too often, we still hear from leaders, “First we’ll grow our economies, and then we’ll invest in our people.” But investing in people is investing in economic growth.”

– Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank

Recently, three Canadian Members of Parliament joined RESULTS Canada to see first-hand how Canadian aid tackles diseases of poverty in Kenya. This trip involved learning more about the impact of new models of funding for health and nutrition including the Global Financing Facility.

The Global Financing Facility (GFF) was launched in 2015 with the goal to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2030.  This new funding mechanism was designed to be creative and collaborative in order to mobilize the 33 billion dollars annually that are necessary to eliminate preventable maternal and child death worldwide.

The GFF has achieved its aims by working with low and lower-middle-income countries, donors (like Canada), and development organizations to encourage more governments to prioritize women’s, adolescents’, and children’s health in their domestic budgets. The GFF, housed at the World Bank, also uses innovative ways to unlock more funding for these often-neglected issues. For example, as of June 2018, US$452 million in GFF Trust Fund has been linked to US$3.3 billion in grant money for the health and nutrition of women, children, and adolescents.

 for each dollar the GFF Trust Fund commits to specified health areas, like reproductive health or nutrition, the country can receive a grant worth seven times the initial GFF investment.

Eligible countries receive the technical assistance of the World Bank and other partners to come up with long-term sustainable plans that encourage domestic resource mobilization (money raised by a government through domestic efforts like taxation) and coordination of development partners in the country. For example, the GFF in a country brings together big development funders, like UNICEF, the Global Fund, and Gavi, with country governments to make sure all efforts are coordinated, to increase the efficiency of development dollars spent. To illustrate, with USD $800 million in investments, the GFF has mobilized an additional USD$3.9 billion dollars in grant funding for the health and nutrition of women, children, and adolescents.

Kenya was one of the first countries to receive GFF support in 2015. With this support, Kenya has focused funding on improved maternal and newborn services and better family planning; improved care and nutrition for children under age five; and focusing on adolescents who had previously been overlooked.

As a result, the percentage of childbirths that are attended by a skilled health worker has increased from 44 percent to 62 percent. The number of deaths of children under age 5 has dropped from 74 to 52 per 1000 live births.

Investing in health and nutrition means more children stay in school and more adults can work and provide for their families. This leads to increased productivity and economic growth – an even greater return on the initial investment in the Global Financing Facility. In fact, research shows that each additional year of education increases adult earnings by 10 percent.

In November 2018, the first replenishment of the GFF Trust Fund will take place. The goal is to mobilize an additional US $2 billion from 2018-2023 to reach 50 countries with the greatest needs and which have expressed interest in GFF support.  In order to achieve this goal, the GFF needs the support of countries like Canada. Canada has greatly supported the GFF in the past, with its pledges to-date totaling $220 million CAD. By committing $240 million CAD (this amount represents less than 10% increase of the previous pledges) to the 2018 GFF Replenishment, Canada will be investing in the lives and well-being of millions.

The time is now to ensure no woman, child or adolescent should neither see their life shortened nor be unable to realize their full potential. A renewed contribution from Canada to the GFF is a catalyst for health and nutrition, a catalyst for her, and an investment in people and the economy.

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