Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Supporting country-led knowledge management in South Africa

On February 18th AIDSPortal, in partnership with HEARD and SAfAIDS, held a day long information sharing workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. The workshop aimed to promote discussion about how a South African AIDSPortal project could support the national response to HIV & AIDS and create a space for government, civil society and the private sector to share experiences and lessons learnt relating to the four priority areas of the NSP.

We have been engaging with South African organisations since February 2006 and are continually reminded of the unique HIV and AIDS as well as knowledge management environment in South Africa. Unlike many other countries, where internet usage is limited and most HIV and AIDS resources are housed in physical resource centres, South Africa has a diverse range of strong information management initiatives focused on HIV and AIDS and based on new information and communication technology. This includes websites, portals and cell phone initiatives. In general, these have been designed to meet the needs of specific target groups, in line with urgent needs, and use effective and creative channels to disseminate information and meet these needs.

What we have found is that, in this rich information management environment, the gap lies in knowing who is doing what between sectors, particularly around shared priority areas.

As we form partnerships in South Africa and take the project forward, we hope that AIDSPortal can provide two areas of added value to the HIV and AIDS response in South Africa:

  1. Simple ways to identify, connect and share information across sectors
  2. A platform to link South African expertise and experience across sectors with cross-country learning and regional collaboration

Crucial in this process is listening carefully to the expertise of ‘infomediaries’ in South Africa, and ensuring that new knowledge management initiatives in South Africa support, connect and extend existing work.

If you would like to learn more about the workshop, the report is available here:
http://www.aidsportal.org/Article_Details.aspx?id=7111


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