This newsletter is a special, thematic issue of Global Fund Observer. In this issue, Aidspan examines challenges that arose in three sub-Saharan African countries – Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania (Zanzibar) – during the preparation of funding requests to the Global Fund for the first window of the 2017-2019 funding cycle. Zanzibar submitted a program continuation request. Uganda and Zimbabwe both submitted full review requests. It is believed that applicants who have yet to submit their funding requests can learn from the experiences of these three countries.