AMF Update - 28 November 2013
Distribution update - taking longer than anticipated
We had hoped by now to conclude agreements to allocate the majority of nets we are
currently able to fund. Despite our best efforts, however, we have not been able
to do so.
This is because we have not been able to reach an agreement for a major, country
or province-wide net distribution with an appropriate level of accountability and
As you know, these are key considerations for us as theft of nets at a material
level can occur with large net distributions. If there were no, or limited, concerns
over the potential material misappropriation of nets, it would be very easy to hand
over funds for them.
This statement does not indicate those potential partners with whom we have been
discussing distributions do tolerate the theft of nets. It does indicate we have
not been able to achieve an agreement that would give access to information, enabling
us to independently verify that nets would be distributed as intended, so we could
report that to donors.
Most recently, we made a significant time investment in Sierra Leone, including
visits to the key stakeholders. We offered to fund 3.1 million nets out of a total
need of 3.4 million, to protect six million people, but we were not able to reach
an agreement that satisfied everyone. The Sierra Leone government was able to gain
access to support from the UN Global Fund and we wish them well in their future
However, we anticipate allocating our funds in the near future
We are currently assessing a number of potential distributions and some discussions
are far advanced. We will announce agreements as soon as they are reached.
We will not unnecessarily risk donor funds and we will ensure nets are distributed
We see accountability as one of the major challenges of international aid and we
are working with partners who share similar objectives as ours.
We have room for more funding
AMF has room for more funding.
We anticipate allocating our current funds in the near future. As we do not wish
to agree to fund nets until we have funds in-hand and we expect to continue to focus
on large scale distributions, continuing flow of funds is important to allow us
to consider a number of distributions that require nets. We currently have $13m
in-hand we can use to fund net distributions. We are presently seeking funding of
an additional $5m to be able to fund fully those distributions currently being discussed
and requiring a decision before the end of March 2014. In total, we are considering distributions
which will require up to $40m.
The lack of AMF funding non-net costs has not been a barrier to distributions
In Sierra Leone, a potential partner with in-country presence had agreed to fund
non-net costs for the nets to be provided by AMF (more below). In several other
countries where potential distributions were discussed, non-net costs were similarly
funded by other partners. In current discussions regarding two distributions, it
has been established that non-net costs will be paid by another partner.
Other partners are able to fund non-net costs
A large scale distribution will typically involve multiple funding partners and
AMF does not see it as necessary for AMF to fund all costs of a distribution. Other
partners in-country are able to - and do - fund non-net costs. In Sierra Leone,
AMF offered to contribute $10m of funding to a nationwide programme costing some
$16-17m. Other partners with significant in-country presence were able to fund other
costs. One partner agreed to fund the non-net costs associated with AMF-funded nets.
AMF seeks to ensure that major (i.e. government) funders with substantial in-country
staff, take responsibility for tracking and auditing non-net expenses, and believes
that the most practical way to do this is to ensure that those major funders allocate
their funds to non-net costs.
It is easier to track and audit the use of funds (in a way that e.g. avoids bribery)
in the case of net purchases than in the case of other costs (particularly costs
of distribution and evaluation). AMF has the technical capacity for the former,
but not for the latter, where in-country presence, or a highly accountable in-country
partner is vital. This has legal implications. AMF has received professional audit
guidance stating that paying for substantial non-net costs could incur legal requirements
to audit the funds; such a stipulation would go beyond AMF's technical capacity.
However, this does not mean AMF cannot and does not fund non-net costs.
AMF recognized several years ago that where a distribution might not take place
or could be held up due to a lack of funding of non-net costs by other partners,
we would step in and fund those costs, as long as a reliable in-country distribution
partner had been identified who could meet AMF's regulatory reporting needs. AMF
has funded all non-net costs for the distribution of 400,000 nets in Malawi and
significant detail of these costs.
From AMF's inception in 2005 we have been clear to everyone about our core values
of accountability, efficiency and transparency. We have held to these despite working
in challenging environments, and done so by working with partners who share similar
There are always willing recipients of nets and we could pass a large sum of money
to a net distribution relatively quickly. However, this needs to be balanced against
the need to be accountable and transparent in the way those nets are distributed
and then used. Generally, large distributions are more cost-effective than small
These are relevant considerations, as misappropriation of nets at a material level
can occur with large net distributions. There is a meaningful body of evidence that
shows this has occurred.
Receiving information that shows a distribution of nets has been carried out as
intended is perfectly achievable. Relevant information is often gathered as a consequence
of the way a distribution is organised, with household-level information gathered
and used in the household-level distribution of nets. AMF's approach is to request
such information be accessible. We believe it should be a standard element of reporting
on a distribution.
We also see monitoring of continued net use as extremely important. Post-distribution,
a high level of use is the greatest single factor that ensures the continued, excellent
effectiveness of the nets in reducing the burden of malaria.