New WFH Development Grant Program announced

There was a degree of excitement in the air as Alain Baumann, Chief Executive Officer at the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH), announced the launch of the WFH Development Grant Program. Baumann said that the Program came about after a brainstorming exercise among WFH staff to identify the greatest unmet needs within the bleeding disorders community. Local support for local initiatives was a recurring theme and formed the basis of the WFH Development Grant Program, which will provide the tools and support that the bleeding disorders community need to implement such projects.

Antonio Almeida, Director of Programs and Education at the WFH, elaborated further. “There are a lot of great ideas coming from our patient organizations, but these ideas are not always implemented,” he stated. The Program has been developed to encourage novel ideas and projects that address an unmet need in the bleeding disorders community. It consists of a one-time financial grant of between US$5,000 and US$25,000 to support new projects within national member organizations (NMOs). Projects should last between 6 and 24 months.

Almeida described the three objectives of the program: 1) to assist NMOs in developing and strengthening their skills; 2) to provide tools to help NMOs create and implement new, successful and sustainable development projects; 3) to empower NMOs to better advocate and support improvements in bleeding disorders care in their respective countries.

The WFH Development Grant Program is open to NMOs in developed and developing countries, although developing countries may be prioritized. Almeida added that joint proposals from two or three countries will also be considered. The main criterion is that proposals must come from patient organizations.

The Program will focus on several key areas, including advocacy to achieve government support and access to safe treatment products; training to improve medical expertise, care delivery and laboratory diagnosis; and support to build strong national patient organizations.

Almeida touched on the application and review process. In 2018, there will be one cycle of funding available on July 31. In 2019, funding will be available on January 31 and July 31. Applications should include a detailed project outline, a comprehensive budget and a plan to evaluate success of the project. Applicants should apply early in case the WFH requires further clarification. “The WFH wants to respond quickly so projects can start as soon as possible,” explained Almeida.

Projects will be selected based on multiple criteria, including how the project relates to the WFH development model and strategic plan, how it relates to patient organization activities, how it contributes to longer-term sustainable improvements in advocacy and comprehensive care, the merits of the proposal and the needs of the local community.

Mitch Semienchuk, Editor, Hemophilia World Online, wishes to thank Georghia Michael. PhD, for her contributions to this article.