Community Responses and Community Systems Strengthening (CSS)

Communities have a long history of acting to preserve and promote the health of their members. Public health researchers, implementers, and funders are increasingly recognizing that community involvement is essential to improving health, especially among populations that are disproportionately affected by HIV.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, together with civil society organizations and other development partners, created the Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) Framework to help Global Fund applicants frame, define, and quantify efforts to strengthen community contributions and engagement.

Although the use of a CSS approach in health program implementation shows promise, it lacks a theoretical framework to guide collaborations with communities. Additionally, it suffers from a paucity of program designs and evaluation practices, an incomplete evidence-based rationale for investing in CSS, and imprecise definitions. ICASO has developed a number of tools to help advocates to understand and advocate for community-based approaches to the AIDS response.

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