Step 2: Advanced planning phase of establishing an End Malaria Council and Fund

This guide is part of the End Malaria Councils and Funds toolkit.

Getting started

Once the design for the EMC has been approved, the process moves quickly into the Advanced Planning phase. This phase focuses on getting the basic structures and operations for the EMC up and running and transitioning ownership of the EMC to the members.

Key deliverables include:

  • Recruiting and training the EMC members so that they are equipped to fulfil their responsibilities
  • Establishing the Secretariat so that it can support the activities of the EMC members
  • Developing an initial plan to engage the various sectors to mobilise commitments for advocacy, action and resources

Recruiting and onboarding EMC members

The most important component of the EMC is its members. They are the owners and managers of the EMC and are responsible for its success. Thus, one of the first priorities of the Advanced Planning phase is to quickly recruit and onboard the members so they can take the lead.

Recruiting the members

The recruitment process typically begins with a letter of appointment or an invitation to join the EMC sent by the Head of State and Government. The involvement of the Head of State and Government sends a signal to the new members that this the EMC is a national priority and increases the likelihood that the members will agree to join the EMC.

Appointment versus invitation

It is important to work with the legal advisor to understand whether the members are being appointed or invited to join the EMC. For a public entity, the letter is typically a formal appointment, which may need to be published in the national Gazette and may need to confirm to certain legal requirements. Whereas for other structures, the letter is typically an invitation to become a member as the Head of State and Government has no formal authority over the structure. It is also important to ensure that the letter complies with relevant laws and regulations to comply with rules relating to emoluments.

The letter of invitation is sent on official letterhead and contains following components:

  1. A brief description of the EMC and its objectives
  2. A formal appointment or invitation to join the EMC
  3. A brief description of the role and responsibilities of members
  4. An invitation to attend an orientation meeting with other members
  5. If the member if an institution, a request to designate a senior leader to serve as its representative on the EMC

Member orientation

As outlined in the letter from the Head of State and Government, the next step is to hold an orientation meeting with the members. This meeting should take soon after the letters are sent (for example, within two weeks) and is organised either by the Head of State and Government’s office or the Ministry of Health. To avoid scheduling challenges and help develop a positive culture amongst the members, this orientation meeting is often organised as a dinner.

The main objectives of this meeting are to:

  • Sensitise members to the malaria situation, objectives of the NSP, and the operational bottlenecks and resource gaps
  • Review and gain buy-in to the mission, vision, and theory of change
  • Review how the EMC will operate and members’ roles and responsibilities
  • Reivew the need to establish an administrative secretariat
  • Review the plan for the launch announcement
  • Outline a series of next steps

Depending on the circumstances, the members may also:

  • Elect leadership positions (for example, Chair)
  • Complete necessary documentation to establish the structure

Illustrative agenda

Meeting Chair: Principle Secretary

  1. Welcome remarks (by the PS)
  2. Introductions (by the members)
  3. Overview of the NSP, national malaria scorecard, and gaps (by the NMCP Director)
  4. Overview of the EMC and Roles and Responsibilities (by the PS)
  5. Election of Chair
  6. Discussion on the need to establish the Administrative Secretariat
  7. Signing of memorandum of understanding
  8. Next steps and closing (led by the Chair)

Following this meeting, the members should take responsibility for all internal activities and operations of the EMC. In practice, there will be a transition period where the EMC members assume increasing responsibility.

However, initial priorities for the EMC to focus on include:

  • Scheduling the first formal EMC meeting
  • Completing the establishment of the EMC structure, if needed
  • Recruiting the coordinator for the administrative secretariat
  • Opening financial accounts
  • Developing the initial plan to mobilise commitments from the members’ sectors

The Chair of the EMC should either lead these activities directly or assign responsibility to other EMC members.

Establishing the secretariat

Establishing the EMC’s administrative secretariat is a key component to the advanced planning phase. Ensuring that the secretariat is operational quickly is critical to the EMC’s success and also ensures that there is someone responsible for documenting and tracking the activities of the EMC.

The roles and responsibilities for the secretariat are set forth in the concept note developed during the design phase, but generally focus on:

  • Organising EMC meetings
  • Documenting and tracking commitments mobilised by the members
  • Liaising with the NMCP
  • Preparing quarterly and annual reports

Recruiting the coordinator

One of the initial responsibilities of the EMC is to recruit the coordinator for the EMC. The coordinator is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the secretariat and ensuring that the EMC members are properly supported. The ideal candidate for the secretariat coordinator is someone with senior management experience (including budgeting and finance), experience in malaria (for example, former NMCP manager), and able to work directly with the EMC members and other senior leaders across all of the sectors.

Partnership with the NMCP

Because the coordinator will need to work closely with the NMCP, including representatives from the programme in the interview and selection process is a best practice.

Funding for the coordinator is often organised between the EMC members and one or more development partners. This is necessary because the EMC lacks its own resources to finance the role. Alternatively, staff may be seconded by the EMC members or other partners during the initial phases while a permanent coordinator is being recruited.

Can the NMCP be the secretariat?

There is no reason that the NMCP cannot serve as the administrative secretariat to the EMC. In practice, however, the NMCP often lacks the resources to fulfil the administrative activities. There may be other legal and regulatory reasons to keep the administrative secretariat independent of the NMCP (for example, finance regulations).

Start-up checklist for the secretariat

After recruitment, the EMC members should adopt a resolution delegating responsibility for day-to-day management to the coordinator. The coordinator should then set about to quickly implement the necessary internal processes, policies, and controls to fully operationalise the secretariat.

Key priorities for the secretariat include implementing:

  • Policies related to conflicts of interest and anticorruption
  • Accounting and record-keeping systems and related policies (for example, reimbursement)
  • A member register to record all of the EMC members
  • A risk management policy and risk register to identify and track financial, legal, and operational risks
  • Quarterly and annual reporting templates
  • A process for receiving and managing financial donations and distributing them to the NMCP
  • An internal workplan for documenting the activities of EMC members
  • A process for documenting, tracking, and measuring commitments made by the various sectors
  • A website and communications processes for social and mass media
  • An M&E framework for measuring the impact of the EMC

EMC members and development partners can provide technical assistance and additional resources to the coordinator to help complete these activities. This may include providing the secretariat with access to software and other tools, sharing model documents and best practices, and seconding staff (for example, an accountant) to provide backstopping support to the coordinator.

Workplan tool

Zambia’s End Malaria Council adopted the online workplan tool used by the National Malaria Elimination Centre to document and report on its activities. By integrating its workplan with that of the malaria programme, both the NMEC and the EMC have increased visibility into the other entity’s activities and encouraged increased coordination and collaboration.

Secretariat design

Board charter and articles of association

Terms of reference

Onboarding and training

Launch budget