Sharjah Award winners at the NCD Alliance 2017 Global Forum in Sharjah UAE, 11 Dec. 2018
Sharjah Award winners at the NCD Alliance 2017 Global Forum in Sharjah UAE, 11 Dec. 2018. © Gilberto Lontro

Award-winning NCD alliances build on successes

10th January 2018

NCD civil society organisations (CSOs) that were recognised for their work in 2017 have set ambitious plans for 2018.

The Tanzania NCD Alliance will continue assisting young People Living with NCDs (PLWNCDs) to create peer support groups, says the group’s Secretary, Dr. Kaushik Ramaiya.

The alliance was one of four that received the Sharjah Award for Excellence in NCD Civil Society Action at the Global NCD Alliance Forum 2017. "It has given us a lot of impetus and encouragement to continue with the innovative activities that we have been doing," said Ramaiya.

The alliance was recognised for its work encouraging journalists to form a dedicated group that would help raise awareness about NCDs among the general public. Simultaneously, it worked with young people living with diabetes so they could offer support to their peers, and Ramaiya says that work will expand in 2018.

David Mulabi, Project Manager and CEO of the East Africa NCD Alliance, says the Sharjah Award had a strong impact on his organisation. "It re-energised us. We do all these things -- advocacy, awareness, etc -- representing the interests of PLWNCDs so to be recognised for this sort of work is really exciting.”

"This issue of NCDs is about our brothers, our sisters, our mothers. It's not about some statistics pulled out of the WHO playbook." - David Mulabi, Project Manager and CEO, East Africa NCD Alliance

The focus of the East Africa Alliance’s work in 2018 will be to change the general perception about NCDs, adds Mulabi. “One of the things that we're looking to bring out is the human face of this scourge... This issue of NCDs is about our brothers, our sisters, our mothers. It's not about some statistics pulled out of the WHO playbook."

The four CSOs each received US$5,000 to support future work. Case studies of their projects, and 34 other national and regional civil society projects that advanced the NCD agenda at country or regional level, were collected in the NCD Civil Society Atlas. That publication was launched at the Global Forum on 11 December 2017.

The Coalición Latinoamérica Saludable (CLAS) was awarded for its work to set up a rapid response mechanism in cases where proposed health policies in Latin America were attacked by commercial interests.  “The prize will help to encourage and strengthen CLAS,” said its Spokesperson Belén Ríos.

The recognition bestowed by the Sharjah Award is “super relevant today because in some countries in Latin America organisations are unable to work together on technical and political issues but CLAS can do this at the regional level,” added Ríos.

In 2018 CLAS’ focus will be ensuring strong outcomes at the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs. “All of our efforts, in all countries, will be on ensuring that the recommended outcomes are evidence-based and result in effective policies at the national level and that they take into account conflict of interest and industry interference," said Ríos.

The fourth winner of a Sharjah Award was the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, for its initiative, Building Civil Society Capacity to Improve Access to Cancer Services for Underserved Populations.

"We are honoured and humbled for having been recognised for this valuable work, which has directly and indirectly benefited women in underserved communities across the Caribbean," said HCC Executive Director Maisha Hutton.

The grant will assist the HCC in supporting national and regional NCD accountability and policy action with a focus on: childhood obesity prevention; strengthening the regional multisectoral NCD response with a focus on National NCD Commissions; and supporting regional and international dissemination, sharing and networking in lead up to the 2018 HLM on NCDs, she added.

The Atlas (full name National and Regional NCD Alliances in Action: An Atlas of Civil Society Initiatives) aims to share good practice among NCD alliances and to help make the case for the critical role played by civil society in the NCD response.