Global Fund: Process and Funding Model

The Global Fund Process and Funding Model

In 2014, the Global Fund fully rolled out a new Funding Model that it had piloted in 2013. Under the new framework, the Global Fund announces funding allocations for each country at the beginning of each funding cycle, based on Gross National Income (GNI) and disease burden. Countries can apply for funds at any time during the three year cycle, which allows them to align Global Fund financing with national strategies and budget cycles, to integrate Global Fund projects into national disease and health plans, and thus places countries more firmly in the drivers’ seat. The funding model offers an opportunity for countries to anchor their Global Fund applications not only in national disease and health strategies, but also more broadly in national development and poverty reduction strategies, and national budget processes and expenditure frameworks. Countries have the option of reallocating funding from one disease to another, or setting aside a portion of the allocation for building resilient and sustainable health systems.

The Global Fund Funding Model has been aimed to support The Global Fund Strategy through enabling investment aligned to national strategies and priorities. It aims to provide implementers with more flexible timing, better alignment with national strategies and predictability on the level of funding available. The process encourages active engagement with implementers and partners throughout the funding application and grant implementation to ensure greater global impact.

Key Features

The funding model is designed to make a bigger impact against the three diseases. It enables predictable funding, encourages ambitious vision, and works according to more flexible timelines and with a more streamlined process that ensures a higher success rate of applications.

  1. It focuses more resources on countries that have the highest disease burden and the lowest ability to finance their response to the three diseases, to ensure bigger impact.
  2. Each eligible country has an allocated amount of predictable funding for the allocation period.
  3. It aims to encourage ambitious vision by having a pool of additional funding available known as Catalytic investments matching funds to allocate more funds to applicants that make a powerful case for achievable interventions based on their National Strategic Plan or investment case.
  4. Instead of a rounds-based system with a set application date, the Global Fund now allows countries to apply on a flexible schedule that meets their own national timelines, within the allocation period.
  5. It aims to cut the timeline from application to signing.

Differentiated Approach

The funding application process for 2017-2019 is tailored to the needs of applicants through differentiated’ application materials and corresponding review approaches. This updated process allows for flexible and tailored funding requests that are ‘right-sized’ to match the needs and context of a country.  The differentiated approaches enable quality funding requests to be developed more efficiently, to ensure greater time can be spent implementing grants. Simplified procedures have also been introduced based on lessons learned during the 2014-2016 allocation cycle. For example, the modular template has been replaced by the performance framework and budget at the application stage, which can be directly used for grant-making.

There are three different approaches to accessing funding in the differentiated process: 

  1. Program continuation: streamlines the funding request process to ensure well-performing programs with no material change needed can continue implementation with minimal distraction.
  2. Tailored Review: funding request documentation requirements are specifically tailored for:
  • Programs with material change in limited and defined programmatic area(s): Designed to facilitate access to funding for applicants with programs that have experienced or require change in limited and defined program areas. 
  • Programs in Challenging Operating Environments: Challenging Operating Environments refer to countries as a whole, but also to unstable parts of countries or regions, characterized by weak governance, poor access to health services and manufactured or natural crises. 
  • Programs with transition funding, using a transition work plan or other form of a transition readiness assessment: For programs eligible for transition funding under the Global Fund’s Sustainability, Transition, and Co-Financing Policy or those approaching transition. 
  • Programs where innovative approaches and learning opportunities are being applied: Certain countries will be identified by the Global Fund to trial innovative application approaches and learning opportunities.
  1. Full review: comprehensive overall review of a program’s approach and strategic priorities. 

Determining the application approach for each country program is a process involving the Global Fund, the applicant, and in cases of program continuation, the Technical Review Panel. The application approach for each program is communicated to countries by the Global Fund in their Allocation Letter and is determined by program. For example, a country might be eligible for program continuation for its malaria program, and full review for its TB and HIV programs. The type of application process will also determine the type of review carried out by the Global Fund on the funding request:

The Global Fund Differentiated Application and Review Processes

The Funding Request Process


Developing or Strengthening of National Strategic Plans

The Global Fund encourages applicants to base funding requests on national strategic plans for the diseases. This applies to all types of funding requests under the differentiated approach. 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 investment case. 

Investment Case
An investment case is a country-developed proposal for resource allocation. It is based on an analysis of the epidemiology and state of the current response; identifies vulnerabilities to infection, obstacles to uptake of services, and funding gaps.

National strategic plans are country-owned and provide the overall strategic direction for a country over a period of time. Disease strategic plans should be aligned with the overarching national health strategy in a country.  All requests should aim to achieve resilient and sustainable systems for as part of the national health strategy and any relevant sub-sector strategies. Countries should develop or update costed, prioritised plans through an inclusive process. As part of the on-going country dialogue, countries should assess these plans through a multi-stakeholder participatory process between CCMs, technical partners, donors and civil-society organisations (including key affected and most-at-risk populations).

Country Dialogue

Country dialogue is an ongoing process at country level among the government; the private sector; the public sector; key and vulnerable populations; implementers; civil society; faith-based organizations; academia; and bilateral, multilateral and technical partners. The purpose of country dialogue is to achieve maximum impact in health strategies and through health and community systems. It is a nationally owned and led process that is not Global Fund-specific, and may be more or less formal according to the country.

The dialogue should ensure that the development of any Global Fund grant and its implementation is embedded within the larger context of the country’s health sector strategy and responds to the needs of those affected by the three diseases.

Submitting the Funding Request

Using the national strategic plan as the basis, the Country Coordinating Mechanism will develop their funding request. In the concept note CCMs are expected to justify why they need Global Fund funds and how they will effectively and efficiently use this investment for the greatest impact in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. All funding requests to the Global Fund are required to include evidence-based interventions, in line with their epidemiological context, which will maximize impact against HIV, TB and Malaria and contribute towards building Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH). Applicants should also include, as appropriate, interventions that respond to key and vulnerable populations, human rights and gender-related barriers and vulnerabilities in access to services. For those countries who are receiving transition funding for a component, the focus of the request must be on priority transition needs as defined by an agreed upon transition work-plan.

Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH)
The Global Fund expects each applicant to critically examine their health system and identify areas that need strengthening in order to become more resilient and sustainable and enable effective delivery of disease programs.
The revised Eligibility Policy and differentiated application process encourages targeted investments in RSSH in all countries, with a broad focus at the lower end of the development continuum and more targeted focus in areas critical to those transitioning.

The application materials (instruction manuals and application forms) for each type of funding requests can be found here.

The Global Fund strategy for 2017-2022 commits to scaling up evidence-based interventions for key and vulnerable populations, as well as supporting their meaningful engagement in Global Fund-related processes. As an example of this, the new allocation methodology includes qualitative adjustment factors that aim to reflect the needs of key populations, with an increased focus on community rights. More information can be found here.

Technical Review Panel Review

After submission, the funding request is evaluated by the The Technical Review Panel (TRP). This independent panel of technical, scientific, medical, development and finance experts examine the funding request thoroughly. They look to see if the funding request is adapted to a country’s epidemiological situation, that the programs proposed are based on scientific evidence and demonstrate good impact and good value for money. If they feel a funding request is not of sufficient quality they will ask the country to revise and re-submit. Once the panel is satisfied the funding request is ready for the next step, it moves to grant-making.


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 together develop detailed budgets and work plans.

The purpose of grant-making is to translate funding requests into disbursement- ready grants that are positioned for signature and effective delivery. There are three interrelated work streams during grant-making:

  1. Review and agree on implementation arrangements.
  2. Identify capacity gaps and risks related to grant implementation and define mitigation measures to ensure Global Fund grant are positioned to achieve the greatest impact.
  3. Develop / negotiate and finalize grant documents.

 Review by the Grants Approvals Committee

The Grant Approvals Committee is a committee of senior management at the Global Fund, as well as representatives of technical, bilateral and multilateral partners. One of their responsibilities is to set the upper funding ceiling for the grant, based on the Technical Review Panel’s recommendations as well as a number of other relevant factors. They also review the final grants before recommending them to the Board for approval.

Approval of grants by the Global Fund Board

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.