This paper encapsulates the outputs of a Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) funded project that aimed to improve the levels of HIV governance at the district level in Malawi and Zambia by encouraging public participation in an effort to more effective use of local resources. The methodology for this project, developed by the Institute for Democracy in Africa (Idasa) and SDC, included a barometer which assessed perceptions of district HIV governance among key stakeholders. Perceptions were gathered on governance principles of effectiveness, efficiency, rule of law, accountability, participation and equity. The stakeholders ranged from administrators, political representatives, community-based organisations and the private sector on the supply side and citizens on the demand or beneficiary side. The findings of the research indicate specific sector governance issues that may be generalised to governance. Communication and transparency appear to be major issues underpinning the bottlenecks and shortcomings in the HIV sector governance at the district level. Information gaps have given rise to accountability deficits and coordination deficiencies. Addressing these matters would make more effective use of resources and lessen dependence on external funding sources.
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