Introduction: According to the DHIS 2017 60% of Burundi’s population is under the age of 25. In spite of being one of the groups most affected and infected by HIV, young women and LGBTI have insufficient spaces and lack the freedom to make choices about their sexuality or make decisions about their health, for example, when to and how to easily access contraception. Stigma and discrimination is still an issue that has left these groups in the periphery and places them at higher risk for poor health outcomes. It is against this context that young leaders fought to be part of the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) in Burundi. Method: The new Global Fund model provided an opportunity for more meaningful involvement of key populations within the Country Coordinating Mechanism. Organizations of key populations in Burundi came together to vote in their representatives and alternates for the CCM. Amongst the community of people living with HIV, young women living with HIV advocated strongly for their representative. Amongst the community of men who have sex with men, a democratic electoral process took place to identify and agree on a representative. I am one of the representatives who got the opportunity to speak, listen and make decisions within the CCM amongst other decision makers. Results: We have gained knowledge and a deeper understanding of how the Global Fund processes work and are therefore able to contribute adequately. Additionally, we have a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of different actors within the programmes in Burundi, this has helped us to avoid working in siloes and duplicating efforts. Lastly, we have gained a firm and deeper understanding of the monitoring framework and how to feed information on gaps from our constituencies to better monitor services. Advocacy Impact: • Visibility and engagement of young women living with HIV has opened up the door and increased acceptance of two new members from key population organisations. • There is now increased solidarity between young people who consult and work together to challenge stereotypes, stigma and discrimination. Recommendations: Bring and listen to the voices of key constituents without discrimination Mentor and support young leaders in advocacy to make a change in key population programmes Key populations engaging with CCMs should continue to join forces with others without fear of other more experienced members Training of young women on the importance of participating in various decision-making institutions
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