In place of an annual “rounds-based” system that saw countries submit their proposals during a set funding period, the Fund says that additional money will now be invested in health programs that are “poised to achieve the quickest impact.”“The Global Fund has taken a big step forward in implementing the new funding model,” said the Board’s Chair, Simon Bland, according to a release from the Fund, which is the world’s main financier of programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.“This new funding model will make our grants even more effective and capable of achieving real impact,” he added.One important change will be more flexible timing for grant applications, the Fund said. Instead of having to apply at one set time, implementers “will be able to better align the submission of grant proposals with their own national planning cycles.”Created in 2002 to scale up resources to treat HIV, AIDS, TB and malaria, the Global Fund is a public-private partnership and international financing institution that has already approved funding of $22.9 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries. It has also helped various aid programmes provide AIDS treatment for 3.6 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.3 million people and 270 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria.While the Board adopted the framework for the new funding model in September, it also decided today on additional aspects, including a transition to the new funding model starting in 2013.“A new funding model is designed to significantly improve the way the Global Fund invests in health programs, with a process that is more predictable and reliable, and also more flexible, so that it can achieve a higher success rate in all grants and more effectively save the lives of people affected by the three diseases,” according to the Fund.A need for change emerged in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the Fund said, noting that “the international financial crisis accelerated concerns that the Global Fund needed to invest for impact, and move away from a relatively passive role in shaping demand.”“The Board,” it added, “decided to make changes to ensure that it directs the organization’s investments toward those people most in need, and toward those interventions that can help the most people.”The Fund said that the former rounds-based system had been “highly successful” in the years following the Fund’s creation, crediting it with “spurring partnerships across sectors in many countries to identify and quantify their own needs in preventing and treating AIDS, TB and malaria.”Under the new funding approach, special consideration will be given to countries applying with programmes that are, among other things, underfunded over the 2013-2014 period, or at risk of service interruptions, the Fund said. There will also be a focus on programmes that are “in a position to achieve rapid impact.”“The new funding model will change the way implementers apply for financing, get approval of their proposals and then manage their grants,” the Fund said. “Once fully developed, it will encourage the development of robust national strategic plans in each country, and strive for more simplicity and efficiency.”Separately today, the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé, congratulated Mark Dybul on his appointment as the Fund’s Executive Director.“Mark inspires confidence,” Mr. Sidibé said. “I fully trust that he will lead the Global Fund to new heights by strengthening partnerships and delivering results on the ground. His appointment marks a new era for the Global Fund and UNAIDS is looking forward to a strong and dynamic collaboration in the coming years.”According to UNAIDS, Dr. Dybul served as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator, leading the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief during the presidency of George W. Bush. He currently serves as Co-Director of the Global Health Law Programme at Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and Senior Advisor to the President at Georgetown University.
Scott Henderson discusses TwitterIt’s created overnight stars. It’s helped guide revolutions. This month, as Twitter turns five, what can’t be denied is the social network’s power.When Twitter celebrated an anniversary on March 15, it boasted more than 200 million registered users and an average of 140 million tweets sent per day.The medium has had some fine moments, like uniting protesters in the Egyptian revolution or letting Japanese earthquake victims reach out to loved ones. It’s also had some not-so-fine moments, like giving a larger-than-ever voice to embattled actor Charlie Sheen.But what’s certain is that Twitter is changing the way we think, speak and relate to each other, said Scott Henderson, associate professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film.With Twitter, he said, the medium gets as much attention as the message it delivers.“With the Charlie Sheen thing, for example, the fact that he got a million followers in 24 hours was more newsworthy than anything he happened to tweet,” Henderson said. “On Twitter, there’s more focus on the medium than anything that’s ever said on it.”Henderson shared some of his thoughts about the medium with The Brock News.What impact has Twitter had on our culture?I think it’s taken off a lot more just in the last little while. We see it in things like what went on in Egypt. The revolution was tied very much with social networking and the ability it gave people to network with each other. It really gave us a sense of what Twitter can do. It’s interesting to watch any newscast now when a major event is going on. It used to be that crews would be out in the streets doing interviews. Now they pick up tweets to find out what’s going on.With the Japanese earthquake and tsunami as well, we saw the power in the ability to get immediate, largely unmediated information from multiple users in multiple locations. When Twitter started, there was a lot of joking about people using it to say what they had for breakfast or that kind of mundane, day-to-day information. But they changed the question (that users answer when tweeting) from “what are you doing” to “what’s going on?” That slight variation changed people’s perceptions of what Twitter means and what it can do.What have been some of Twitter’s finest moments?What went on in Egypt is probably one of the most notable in terms of the positive action Twitter can create. Some of its other notable moments have often been less fine in a sense, like Charlie Sheen getting a million followers right after he signed up. I don’t think that’s a crowning achievement from a pop culture perspective, but it’s a notable moment.Another recent Twitter event involved a social media company hired by Chrysler. One of its workers swore about Detroit traffic and complained about Detroit drivers, and accidentally, he says, posted it to the Chrysler site instead of his personal site. His company lost the contract as a result. I don’t think these are shining moments, but they’re very telling in terms of the kind of power Twitter has.Has the Charlie Sheen phenomenon on Twitter changed the game at all from a pop culture perspective?Twitter has given us the ability to get little tweets and little bits of information as it happens. When someone like Sheen comes along and his little outbursts that can be so quickly repeated and don’t need a great deal of explanation, it becomes fascinating for people. What is he going to say next? Presumably that’s why a million people instantly signed up. It’s not because they thought they were going to learn more about Charlie Sheen’s life or get great information from him. It’s because they wanted to be there the moment some other ridiculous phrase was uttered. It was about being there in the moment.Where do you see the future of it going?I don’t know. It seems to be moving across devices right now. I’m surprised by the longevity. In this era, five years is longevity. Twitter and Facebook have been game changers more than anything that came before them. They’ve found the right formula.Twitter isn’t going away because it’s finding ways to adapt. The more mobile we’re becoming, the more useful that 140-character limit has been. Whether it has a long-term impact on language is one of the more interesting aspects. I get essays and emails that have Twitter-esque and MSN short forms in them. That’s how the English language has always changed – that social kind of usage.Related articles:• Man fired over obscene Chrysler tweet apologizes• Egyptian tweeter, first to use ‘#Jan25,’ says Twitter was ‘invaluable’ during protests read more