The Ghana-West Africa Program to Combat AIDS & STI (WAPCAS) is legally registered with the Registrar General’s Department and the Department of Social Welfare as a non-profit Civil Society Organization (CSO).It has a six-member Advisory Board and one co-opted member from beneficiary community as may be required. WAPCAS operations are guided by its constitution. Members of the Board have backgrounds ranging from Academia, Social Sciences, Health, Legal, Accounting and Auditing and the KP constituent. WAPCAS started operation in Ghana in 1996 as part of a regional project funded by CIDA but registered as a local organization in 2006. WAPCAS can best be described as a CSO with a national coverage and physical presence in several districts in Ghana. We are the first CSO in Ghana to have initiated and implemented a comprehensive HIV and AIDS intervention program for KPs. It must be noted that we are also the first organization to conduct an exploratory study into the MSM community (the Pandora box), which opened the community up for HIV programming. WAPCAS has been involved in other operational studies such as the 3rd round of FSW IBBSS, HIV/TB Exit Surveys 1 and 2, Peer Paralegal Assessment, Impact of COVID 19 on FSW in Ghana, TB Index study and HIV stigma index study for Ghana. WAPCAS has also been prominent in the development and review of relevant national HIV documents including National KP strategy and operational plan; KP Standard Operating Procedures (KP SOP) and National HIV Strategic Plans.
The vision of WAPCAS is to become a model CSO enhancing the health, human rights and economic empowerment of key and vulnerable populations in society with a mission to promote and provide quality health care, skills development, human rights and gender related services for key and vulnerable populations through capacity building, advocacy, education, operational research and collaboration with key partners.
WAPCAS has an in-house expertise for capacity building. We have since inception, built the capacities of several individuals and CSOs/NGOs/FBOs in developing and implementing HIV/TB, Malaria and other health related interventions. We have also financially supported some CSOs/NGOs for programme implementation. We have also collaborated with several local and foreign academic institutions for attachments and study visits e.g. University of Cincinnati and University of Ghana, Legon. Our facility has served as a practical site for participants of the Ghana HIV/AIDS M&E programme (GHAME) which was organized through the collaborative efforts of GAC, University of California, San Francisco and School of Public Health (SPH), Legon.
WAPCAS has over the years demonstrated its ability to manage multiple donor projects with intervention periods ranging 2 to10 years. For the past 10 years, WAPCAS has implemented the following projects; the Global Fund Round 8 , TGF NFM I and NFM II projects, USAID/Ghana SHAPS, USAID/Ghana RISK project, USAID/Ghana-SHARPER and LINKAGES projects, USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project, Empowerment and Social Protection Program for FSW (with funding from Government of Ghana through GAC). We have for 2 consecutive periods received funding directly from USAID Ghana (USAID SHAPS 2012-2014; USAID RISK project 2015-2017).
For 10 years running (2010-2020), WAPCAS has received funding from the Global Fund either as a Sub-Recipient (2010-2017) or Principal Recipient (2018-2020). As a Principal Recipient under the Global Fund NFM II project, WAPCAS was managing the Key Populations (KP), Human Rights (HR) and the Community System Strengthening (CSS) grant. We were collaborating with 4 other SRs (CSOs) for the implementation of these interventions. On the CSS intervention, we collaborated with TB Voice Network and the PLHIV community to support the development of a Community Based Monitoring Framework (CBMF) strategy for Ghana. Moving forward, WAPCAS has been given another opportunity as Principal Recipient to implement Human Rights and Key Population activities under the Global Fund NFM III project (2021-2023). WAPCAS is an implementing PR (for the FSW intervention) and collaborating with 4 other sub-recipients (PROLINK – FSW intervention; CEPEHRG, MARITME & WAAF – MSM intervention).
Aside the HIV intervention, WAPCAS has a social and community empowerment program for FSW. Some FSW have been trained in baking, bead making and events decoration some of which have established themselves.
For effective program management, WAPCAS has a very robust financial and M&E system which has seen us undergo several financial and data reviews, and audits without challenges. For our financial management system, we are currently using the Quick Book and Sage Accounting software. We have organization specific Financial and Accounting Manual, Procurement/ Supply Management and Assets Management guides. Aside these, we also respect specific donor financial management policies/guidelines. In line with the 3-ones principle, WAPCAS has used the national M&E tools and data management systems. For M&E capacities, we have qualified staff who have contributed immensely to the development and/or revision of national M&E tools and documents. We have put systems in place to support effective planning, data analysis, reports generation, data quality assurance, targeting and forecasting including assessment and evaluation. WAPCAS has received several visits from GAC data quality assurance teams, Local Funding Agency (LFA) for The Global Fund, and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of USAID and The Global Fund.
We have representations on various national technical working groups and sub-committees which include the Programmes Committee of GAC, KP Sub Committee, KP technical working group (KPTWG), Committees on Communication, and human rights.