Monday, 21 December 2009

UNAIDS HIV Prevention Toolkit Feedback Meeting


AIDSPortal has been commissioned by UNAIDS to conduct an assessment and analysis of the ongoing maintenance
of the English version of the UNAIDS HIV Prevention Toolkit.

On Monday 9th November, AIDSPortal held a meeting to gather feedback and discuss the toolkit. The meeting was attended by 23 participants who represented government and civil society from seven regions and three UNAIDS co-sponsors agencies.

The meeting focused primarily on the content, usability and functionality of the Toolkit. Feedback from the participants indicated a clear demand for developing the toolkits content by including national resources on the Toolkit, such as national policy documents, tools and statistical information on HIV. A number of recommendations have been made to improve the usability of the toolkit through user prompts and better search functionality. Improvements to the self-assessment tools are also needed. Additionally, the Toolkit should consider ways of syndicating content and functionality (ie self assessment tools) via third party web sites. There was willingness from several participants to include Toolkit content or features on their websites via embedded widgets. There was also great interest in seeing the Toolkit available in multiple languages.

The participant’s views on the regional rollout and management of the Toolkit were also explored. They identified international, regional and national partners and events to assist with the rollout of the Toolkit. A number of events related to specific national regional or global processes were suggested. These included national HIV prevention planning processes, national strategy review processes and Global Fund proposal development processes. Participants also mentioned several global processes, including Global Fund monitoring and evaluation meetings, World Bank review processes and the UNAIDS Outcome Framework process.

Participants agreed that capacity building would be crucial to supporting the rollout of the Toolkit. There were two specific suggestions. First, that the Toolkit initially be rolled out in one or more pilot countries. Ideally these should be countries that are in the process of developing or updating an HIV prevention plan. Lessons from the trial can inform final changes to the Toolkit (before translation takes place) and the ongoing rollout. Second, that UNAIDS country offices should help facilitate sensitization sessions for key groups. Some of the groups mentioned included UNAIDS co-sponsors, the Global Fund CCM working group and the NAC working group. These groups are key to the successful rollout of the Toolkit at a national level. Finally, an investment should be made in training trainers in the use of the Toolkit.

Monday, 7 December 2009

AIDSPortal Developing new website on Children and AIDS

AIDSPortal has been contracted by the RIATT on Children and AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa to deveop its website. The website that is based on AIDSPortal's nexus system will be launched early next year.

RIATT, the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Inter Agency Task Team on Children and AIDS is a multisectoral network comprising organisations and agencies working around vulnurable children and HIV and AIDS at the regional level. It advocates for a coordinated regional strategy on children and AIDS.

The website will have a "clearinghouse" and "knowledge management function" for RIATT members, national and international stakeholders to find the latest information. Specifically, the website aims to:

* act as a gateway to existing resources and networks
* provide an accessible platform where content can be uploaded
* be an instrument for advocacy for vulnerable children
* link up member organisations
* enable connections between people, knowledge and resources
* provide on-line workspaces/forums
* inform users of new content of their interest

Watch this space. We will keep you updated on the progress and launch of this website.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Aid transparency - New international initiative looks at transparency projects in Kenya and Brazil

From October 20 – 21st Anne Babcock and Rob Worthington participated in the first International Aid Transparency Initiative Conference. They presented their work on mapping HIV services and spending at the community level in Kenya. You can access the presentation here.

For an aid transparency perspective expected outcomes of this work include:
• New way of sharing more and better aid information, involving CBOs and end beneficiaries
• Inform donors and governments of the quality and availability of services
• Inform donors and governments of the quality and availability of HIV, AIDS and TB services
• Increased accountability and coordination

IATI is a multi-stakeholder initiative which aims to increase the availability and accessibility of information about aid. This will help to ensure that aid is used in the most effective ways in fighting poverty. IATI aims to make aid more effective in fighting poverty through improving transparency over aid flows. It does this by bringing together donors, developing countries, civil society organisations (CSOs) and aid information experts to agree ways of sharing more and better information about aid.

Participants from donor agencies, partner country governments, and CSOs came together at the conference to explore aid transparency within the broader context of ownership, domestic accountability and mutual accountability.

Of particular interest was the Brazilian presentation on Empowering Citizens: Experiences in promoting government accountability to citizens in Brazil. Check it out at http://www.portaltransparencia.gov.br/ it does a remarkable job at publishing government spending in a dynamic, user-friendly and interactive way.

Additional information of the work of conference participants can be found below.
• Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/
• Development Gateway http://www.developmentgateway.com
• Aid Info - http://www.aidinfo.org/
• Kenya AIDS Service Map - http://www.kanco.ushahidi.com
• More on IATI can be found at http://aidtransparency.net

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

HIV/AIDS Information for Decision Making

AIDSPortal and Consultancy Africa Intelligence (CAI) have agreed a new partnership to help promote their HIV/AIDS Information products and services through their respective networks.

CAI offers a suite of services on Africa, designed for business, academia, research and policy makers in public and private spheres worldwide. The services include
·Fortnightly and monthly reports on topics spanning health, gender, economics and politics;
·Tailored research; and
·Complementary ad-hoc papers

CAI’s Report titles that are relevant for AIDS Portal users include the ‘HIV and AIDS Monthly Review’, the ‘HIV and AIDS Fortnightly Focus - Business and Policy’ and the ‘Gender Issues in Africa Monthly Bulletin’. CAI also provides targeted HIV and AIDS analysis and other commissioned research intelligence.

AIDSPortal will feature the CAI profile and product information on its new sharing and networking platform http://www.myaidsnexus.org/ The platform aims to improve flows of information and networking among people responding to HIV and AIDS. Some of the key features of interest to the HIV and AIDS community include:
·Interactive profiles for individuals and groups
·Customizable discussion groups (that can include pictures and polls)
·Micro-sites (mini web-sites) for community-based organizations without a web presence
·Applications (such as job listings, videos, directories) that can be included on any website
·Jobs, events and funding opportunities

To sign up for a free one month trial subscription to specialised CAI reports, click here to fill in your details and select the reports of interest. You will receive the reports and the complimentary newsletter by email.

CAI has also agreed to provide AIDS Portal users with a special offer on any one-year report subscription. In addition to a 25% discount on the monthly subscription fee, AIDS Portal users will receive an additional three months free, that is 15 months for the price of 12.

To help us monitor this partnership, should you contact CAI by email please mention that you got this information through AIDSPortal. AIDSPortal will receive a small payment for referrals, which will be used to support our work.

Watch this space for more updates, new products and special offers from CAI.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Speak your world. Citizen journalists reporting on HIV, AIDS and TB

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, with technical support from AIDSPortal is supporting a citizen journalism programme whereby civil society members with an interest in reporting on HIV, AIDS and TB issues that affect their communities are ‘speaking their world’. These volunteer writers have been posting their stories on www.HealthDev.net. AIDSPortal and the Alliance will be regularly highlighting their hard work on the AIDSPortal blog and in the monthly Global/Eastern Africa/Southern Africa Newsletters.

KC profiles and highlights of their work can be found below.

Africa:
Henry Neondo was enlisted as a Key Correspondent during the ICASA conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2003. Realising a lot of issues surrounding HIV, AIDS and TB go unreported in the mainstream press, Henry was able to write about these for Healthdev.net and says he is constantly impressed by the site’s depth of coverage.

Recent work by Henry: Africa must draw lessons from the Thai Vaccine trial results - http://healthdev.net/site/post.php?s=6067

Eastern Africa: Johnson Kyeswa is Ugandan and working with AIDS organisations. Johnson is passionate about making change in local communities and has worked with The Ugandan Student and Prevention Association and given talks on HIV/AIDS to more than 30,000 young people.

Recent work by Johnson: Uganda's success in fighting HIV/AIDS may become history if ABC+ is not revised - http://healthdev.net/site/user.php?u=70

Asia:
Bharathi Ghanashyam is a writer from Chennai in India. She recently attended the Commonwealth in London as part of a small group of KCs reporting from the ‘Supporting the Commonwealth Response to HIV and AIDS' seminar in October, 2009.

Recent work by Bharathi: India’s AIDS orphans ask ‘Why is this our fault?’ - http://healthdev.net/site/post.php?s=6049

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tackling AIDS and TB through Communication and Information Technologies

A group of international and regional HIV and Information organisations are leading on an ambitious project to improve civil society engagement in HIV/AIDS and TB responses in Africa, through ICT- based knowledge sharing and learning.

Tackling AIDS and TB through Communication and Information Technologies (TACIT) the two year project funded by the European Commission began in September, focusing on Southern and Eastern Africa sub regions. Programme activities will be implemented in four countries: Zambia, Namibia, Uganda and Kenya, and additional funding will be sought to scale up activities in other countries in these regions.

The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) the Eastern African National Networks of AIDS Service Organisations (EANNASO), AIDSPortal and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance will work with a host of local, national and international partners to develop essential tools, processes and skills for HIV and TB stakeholders, building capacity for effective participation in the response to HIV/AIDS and TB.

“The Alliance and its partners are extremely pleased to be involved in this project in light of the very important role ICT plays in helping communities and marginalised groups apply relevant, timely and easily accessible information to address the many problems HIV/AIDS brings to Eastern and Southern Africa regions. This EU funded project will stimulate community dialogue which is a key principal in mobilising communities to be agents for social and policy change”, said Sam McPherson, Associate Director, Planning, Analysis and Learning at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

The main activities under this project include:

  • Strengthening and supporting National Partnership Platforms as a mechanism through which community based organisations (CBOs) and non-government organisations (NGOs) come together to analyse national responses and define priority advocacy issues
  • Building two regional ICT platforms that enable knowledge production and sharing, election of representatives and consultation with constituencies in eastern and southern Africa
  • Developing the capacity of communities in ICT, policy and advocacy and documentation

    The National Partnership Platform (NPP), a unique approach designed by HDN and SAfAIDS creates space for effective exchange of information and dialogue on AIDS and TB among civil society, government, and other stakeholders based on transparency and accountability, providing a hub for critical advocacy activities and campaigns. Under the direction of a national partnership coordinator, national partners regularly meet and communicate through a set of collaborative mechanisms that typically include meetings, online discussion forums, resource centres and ‘Key Correspondents’ – community-based writers or citizen journalists trained to document local HIV and TB realities and lived experiences, advocating for social and policy change.

    A key component of the initiative is the development of regional knowledge management platforms, which will enable sharing among and between NPPs, as well as enhance regional and global linkages and information flows. A user will for example be able to search from one location, information housed in a number of linked databases, websites and resource centre catalogues. Registered users will be able to upload content from any location. The platform will initially be in English but will incorporate other languages in future, and it will deliver information through the internet, email and mobile technologies. Social networking features will maximise opinions, consultation and discussion.

    The long-term objective of the project is strengthened national responses with a strong, civil society supported by self-sustaining, nationally-owned information, dialogue and advocacy processes.

    One of the initial activities already underway is the employment of a Regional Project Coordinator to support the work. The implementing partners will meet in November in Johannesburg South Africa, to map the way forward.

    For more information contact:
    Michelle Evans, Regional Programmes Manager Africa, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, mevans@aidsalliance.org
    Robert Worthington, Manager, AIDSPortal, rob@aidsportal.org
    Roman Mukendi, Information Coordinator, EANNASO, rmukendi@gmail.com
    Sara Page, Deputy Director, SAfAIDS, sara@safaids.net

Friday, 9 October 2009

UNAIDS HIV Prevention Toolkit

AIDSPortal has been commissioned by UNAIDS to conduct an assessment and analysis of the ongoing maintenance of the English version of the UNAIDS HIV Prevention Toolkit

The HIV Prevention Toolkit offers a series of programming tools and resources in HIV prevention which are readily accessible from one platform and provide information, planning tools and detailed technical resources to decision makers in low and middle income countries in order to enable them to support the planning and delivery of ever-more effective HIV prevention activities and services.

We will be holding an invited stakeholder meeting in November. In order to allow broader participation in the assessment, we have set up a basic questionnaire aimed at HIV prevention programme implementers and managers. The questionnaire is open at this link: UNAIDS HIV Prevention Toolkit Questionnaire. Please comment and feel free to distribute the questionnaire through your networks.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Introducing MyAIDSNexus

We are very pleased to share the beta version of our new site MyAIDSNexus with you: www.myaidsnexus.org.

While the official launch is still a few months away, we’d really appreciate your feedback on the site. Have a look around, set up a personal profile, start a group, highlight your organisation – and let us know what you like and what could be improved.

The site is the result of many conversations with you and other partners. It is a social networking site that aims to improve flows of information and networking among people responding to HIV and AIDS.

MyAIDSNexus is a global site (the first one built on the new Nexus platform) and is aimed primarily at people in countries where we do not have AIDSPortal partners. In addition to show casing some new features, it also provides an example of what is possible in other Nexus sites.

Some of the key features include:
∗ Interactive profiles for individuals and groups
∗ Customizable discussion groups (that can include pictures and polls)
∗ Micro-sites (mini web-sites) for community-based organizations without a web presence
∗ Applications (such as job listings, videos, directories) that you can include on your own website
∗ Jobs, events and funding opportunities

We are now starting to work with some of our partners to help create their own Nexus sites. These will have their own distinct names and branding, but could utilise the same features and content if wanted. We are also working on a way for users to manage the same profiles across different sites.

This is only the beginning. For one, we will be introducing mobile phone functionality, such as SMS, to extend the reach of information. We’ve built the platform to allow you to add new features and functions, so let us know if there is something you would like to see included.

Since the site is still in a ‘beta’ (testing) version, you will notice that there are things that don’t work as they should, or parts of the site that need to simplified. We’ve set up a simple form that you can fill in if you come across a problem: http://www.myaidsnexus.org/web/guest/feedback. This will help get the site ready for the launch, and help us make sure it meets your needs.

We look forward to hearing what you think.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Mapping availability of HIV, AIDS and TB services in Kenya

How can policymakers identify gaps in the delivery of HIV, AIDS and TB services at the community level?
How can communities provide feedback to policymakers on availability and quality of services in their area?
How can communities affected by AIDS be referred to appropriate local services?

The information needed to answer these important questions is mostly already available, just not easily accessible. A new AIDSPortal project seeks to make it easier to answer these and other questions by publishing data on location and type of HIV services for Kenya on a Google map.

The project is a partnership with the Kenyan AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) and Ushahidi and receives funding from the Google.org Fund at the Tides Foundation .

It will adapt the platform developed by Ushahidi for crowd sourcing crisis information to enable the publication of data on the coverage of HIV, AIDS and TB services across Africa. Outcomes from this work will be:

• A way for organisations to publish and maintain interactive data relating to public, non-governmental organisation (NGO) and community based organization (CBO) service provision
• More widespread, accessible and, up to date visual information and supportive material, such as contact details, for policy makers, planners and professionals

This map will allow policy makers, practitioners and advocates to identify gaps in services and improve referrals for people living with HIV or AIDS.

Some of the questions we seek to answer during this project include:

• Is it more cost effective for a network with pre-existing linkages with service providers to collect data on service availability?
• Does this approach result in reliable and accurate data?
• What incentives are need to encourage service providers to update their own data?
• What is the most appropriate way to make this data accessible to different audiences (communities affected by AIDS, service providers, policymakers and donors)?

Please leave a comment below or contact us if you would like to know more. For information on other organisations funded through the Geo Challenge Grant see the following link. Official google.org Blog: Announcing 14 Geo Challenge Grant Recipients

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

PortalSIDA: meeting a need for knowledge sharing and networking in Latin America and the Caribbean

PortalSIDA has rapidly grown since its launch just one year ago at the Mexico AIDS Conference. The knowledge sharing and networking portal for Latin America and the Caribbean now has over 1500 resources (documents, weblinks and events) and a growing number of visitors every month. The site also highlights job opportunities and has hosted discussions on key issues, such as regional priorities and the Global Fund.

PortalSIDA is run by our partner organisation, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, and is the online component of the Latin American and Caribbean Knowledge Managment Centre.

Vist PortalSIDA to
  • share spanish language information related to HIV and AIDS, including policy, best practice and lesson learned
  • connect with people and organisations from around the region
  • consult and provide feedback on key regional issues
You can also follow PortalSIDA on Facebook and Twitter, and email the PortalSIDA Moderator at info@portalsida.org.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Partner update: Key Health and Development Networks (HDN) programmes transfer to AIDSPortal

Following the sad news earlier this year that Health & Development Networks (HDN) had lost its core funding, the AIDSPortal has been working with HDN colleagues to put a plan in place to transfer key programmes to a range of partners, including the AIDSPortal.

Following the confirmation of arrangements with other partners and donors, AIDSPortal and HDN are now pleased to confirm which HDN programmes will be transferred to the International AIDS Alliance and many prgrammes will be hosted by AIDSPortal. Here is a breakdown:

eForums

HDN has been at the forefront of harnessing the power of on-line communications to facilitate dialogue and advocacy. AIDSPortal will host the tools. In addition, SAfAIDS will manage and moderate the Africa eForums, and there are plans underway to transition the management of the South East Asia eForum, SEA-AIDS to the 7 Sisters Network.

The AIDSPortal will work with the Alliance to manage and develop the tools used by Key Correspondents (i.e. healthdev.net), providing user support and moderation skills and continue to collaborate with the Alliance and SAfAIDS to ensure global oversight.

Between now and the end of July 2009, a core team remains at HDN to continue the challenging work of documenting these key programmes into toolkits to enable a smooth transition to AIDSPortal and other partners.

National Partnership Platforms (NPPs)

The NPPs were developed by HDN with the aim of creating a national space for effective dialogue between civil society, government and other stakeholders – with a particular focus on transparency and accountability. Using information, dialogue, advocacy and documentation tools and approaches, they also aim to facilitate meaningful engagement between governments and civil society to monitor national AIDS and TB targets and milestones.

Three NPPs will be transferred to Alliance linking organisations in Zambia (Partners Zambia), Uganda (Partners Uganda) and Cambodia (Daiku Cambodia). Overall coordination and oversight of these NPPs, knowledge and learning across individual platforms, as well as integration with in-country key correspondent programmes, will be led by Alliance Secretariat. The Alliance will continue linkages with the other NPPs in Namibia, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Thailand.

Key Correspondents

The Key Correspondents (KCs) are a network of 200 community-based writers who share stories from their communities to ensure community voices are heard in the response to HIV and TB and also aim to connect with policy makers to advocate for social and policy change.

Management and coordination of this programme will be fully transferred from HDN to the Alliance.

In recognition of the value and importance of this programme, the Alliance has committed funding for a new Key Correspondent Coordinator and a full-time Programme Assistant to be based in the Alliance Secretariat from July 2009.

TB

HDN is well known for its work supporting people with HIV and TB. In order to ensure this expertise is maintained and maximised. HDN’s TB programme (led by Bobby Ramakant) will be based in Alliance India.

For more information please contact Rob Worthington at rob@aidsportal.org.

To see more about the programmes described here visit the HDN website.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Mobile phones - a tool for social change

Looking to do something a little different? Would you like to learn about how to use technology more effectively to promote social change? Why not attend a Mobile Active event.
"Mobile Active is a community of people and organizations using mobile phones for social impact. They are committed to increasing the effectiveness of NGOs around the world who recognize that the 3.5 billion mobile phones provide unprecedented opportunities for organizing, communications, and service and information delivery." - Mobile Active 2009

They're holding a bar camp - Mobile Tech 4 Social Change - in London, UK on 23rd May 2009.

Or if you live on the east coast of Canada why not check out the Mobile Tech 4 Social Change bar camp on 23 May 2009 in Halifax.

Each event includes

  • interactive discussions
  • hands-on-demos
  • collaborations about ways to use, deploy, develop and promote mobile technology in health, advocacy, economic development, environment, human rights, citizen media, to name a few areas.

Participants for Mobile Tech 4 Social Change barcamps include nonprofits, mobile app developers, researchers, donors, intermediary organizations, and mobile operators.

For more information go to http://mobileactive.org/.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

ICTs now a major feature in mass mobilization campaigns in Africa?

The African national Congress (ANC) ran an election campaign that has been described as “slick, cool and clever”[1], resulting in it winning 66% of the South African vote and the closest rival on 17%.

Indeed, we were expecting nothing less after the Barack Obama campaign that captured the heart of American voters and the world. There are suggestions that the ANC borrowed features from the Obama Campaign.

So what did the ANC do that was different? One thing was to use cyberspace to effectively go after the youth vote. Young people in South Africa’s political speak, are under 40 years old.

“Because we live in a world where cyberspace is used by millions of potential voters, we could not leave that space unattended. This is why we set up a massive communication centre, which we used to communicate our message to those who are connected to the web” said an election manager quoted in the Sunday Times newspaper.

Virtually all the political parties contesting the election had a web presence however; the ANC was the most visible.

No, the parties did not use the internet to aggressively solicit donations- although the option to make donations was available. Voters could among others, receive email newsletters, participate in discussions on face book and other sites, chat with political party representatives, and download election theme songs onto their mobile phones.

I must add that beside the web, the ANC hosted parties with plenty of barbecued meat, celebrity personalities, luxury cars, wine and beer and music and dance- a surefire way of grabbing the attention of the upwardly mobile sector of society.

The Independent Electoral Commission that managed the elections had a website where voters could check if they were registered to vote. They could also do the same by mobile phone. A section of the website was devoted to explaining the process to first time voters.

Another interesting site was the vote2009.co.za where visitors could match their views on prominent issues with the parties’ manifestos, to help them decide on which party to vote for. Issues sampled included HIV/AIDS, healthcare, education, crime, the death penalty and poverty.

So did this work and will the web feature prominently in the election campaigns of other African countries?

Time will tell and as the analysts do the maths and tell us how many of the 77% voter turnout, were below 40 years old.


[1] Sunday Times, 26 April 2009

Friday, 17 April 2009

Find a job using your mobile phone

Do you want to get involved in the HIV & AIDS response but don't know where to start looking? Users in India can now get alerts to new job postings on AIDSPortal delivered to their mobile phone through the Google SMS Channel.


The Google SMS Channel is a free service that lets you get SMS updates on new HIV & AIDS related jobs. All you need is an Indian cell phone number. You can sign up on the Google SMS Channel website and there is a useful FAQ section if you have any questions on how to set up or use the SMS service.


This is a trial service so we would really like your feedback! Is getting an SMS with new job postings useful? What suggestions do you have to make it work better for you? info@aidsportal.org.



Monday, 23 March 2009


On March 16 and 17, Andree Gacoin, AIDSPortal Facilitator, held a two day workshop in NYC with members of the MenEngage Alliance: Fabio Verani (Instituto Promundo), Pancho Aguayo (CulturaSalud), Theresa Castillo (EngenderHealth) and Lucio Verani.

The objectives of the workshop were to train MenEngage members to use AIDSPortal information services, and to identify strategies to facilitate information sharing and networking with the MenEngage Alliance.

MenEngage is a dynamic alliance of non-governmental organisations that seek to engage men and boys in effective ways to reduce gender inequalities and promote the health and well-being of women, men and children. Since 2007, they have run the 'Men and Masculinities' page on AIDSPortal, and they are now also moderating the 'Hombres y Masculinidades' page on PortalSIDA.

Check out the pages for the latest resources related to men and masculinities - and join AIDSPortal and PortalSIDA to directly add your own case studies, tool-kits, policy briefs or other resources.

Also, you can learn more about the MenEngage Alliance during the upcoming Global Symposium 'Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality' which will be held March 30 - April 03, 2009 in Rio de Janerio, Brasil.

Monday, 16 March 2009

What I learned at Info-Activism Camp in India


From graffiti to drama, digital activism, hot coco (cooperation and collaboration), story telling through video, Expanded SMS and Mobiles, sourcing and verifying data, Content Management Systems(drupal, joomla and Pluno), blogs and blogging, wikis silhouette to geo mapping geo wanking, it was a time of innovative learning and building on a diverse range of tactics to enhance civil society activism

Info-Activism is an approach which helps rights advocates tactically utilize information, communications and digital technologies to enhance advocacy work. Tactical Tech believes that new technologies have significant potential to enhance the work of campaigners and advocates, giving them the tools to gather and analyze information and the means to turn that information into action.

The info-activism camp was held in Bangalore, the capital of the state of Karnataka, in Doddaballapura taluk at Green Valley resort This was my first info-activism Camp and I didn’t quite know what to expect, by the end of it I found my self rejuvenated, inspired, relaxed, energized, challenged, invigorated and full of new ideas to apply and share what I learned in an AIDSPortal context.

Over 130 established advocates and experienced technologist and designers from around the world attended. Other participants included: women empowerment organisations, journalists, media, sex workers, sustainable society, Health /HIV/AIDS orgnaiations, philanthropic organisations , environment, civic, technology and research organisations, as well as number of independent consultants. See full list at:
http://www.informationactivism.org/participants#pagetop

The main aim was to provide an environment where they all can build relationships, exchange knowledge and develop strategies, partnership and skills. Topics were varied and diverse. They included:
• Strategy and issue areas
• Information Acquisition, Analysis and Evaluation
• Outreach and Video
• Visualisation and story telling
• Publishing and Engaging Audiences
• Increasing and Sustaining Participation
• Cooperation and Collaboration
• Telephony and Voice communications
• Security and Privacy

Notes and materials for the above topics are available at:
http://mobiles.tacticaltech.org
http://www.tacticaltech.org/mappingforadvocacy
http://www.tacticaltech.org/infodesign
http://security.ngoinabox.org
http://www.informationactivism.org/messageinabox
http://www.informationactivism.org/mobilesinabox
http://www.informationactivism.org/mapsforadvocacy


In examining the effects certain technology designs may have on a particular group of people, one must not lose sight of the nature of technology.
Technology itself is a profound form of social change, which has permanently changed the way humans think and relate to one another. My time in the camp triggered some very exciting feelings. I have learned loads of many new tactics. Now I am thinking ahead- what I need to do with the skill and knowledge.

To find out more about Info-Activism go to http://www.informationactivism.org

Posted on behalf of Leonard Odini, Resource Centre Manager, KANCO

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The AIDSPortal team would like to congratulate Leonard Odini for being accepted to the HINARI Access to Research Initiative. Thanks to Leonard's application to the HINARI Programme, set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other major publishers, his organisation now has access to one of the world's largest collections of biomedical and health literature journals. This includes over 6200 journal titles.

Leonard is the Kenya AIDSPortal Facilitator and Resource Centre Manager for the Kenyan AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO). Leonard's registration with
HINARI will benefit KANCO staff and members.
KANCO membership consists of over 900 Kenyan organisations responding to HIV. They range from health workers, researchers to AIDS activists who can now access the latest research via HINARI and the KANCO resource centre.

Your institution/organisation whether it be, an academic, government or research institution may be eligible to register for access to journals through HINARI. Check your eligibility here!

Monday, 19 January 2009

How-to Join AIDSPortal

Welcome to AIDSPortal. Do you want to get involved? Then become an AIDSPortal member!


First, do you have affiliation with an AIDS organization? Are you 18 years of age or older? If you answered yes to both, and you are a hands-on kind of person, then being a member of AIDSPortal is right up your alley.


You must be wondering why you need to be a member. Of course there is information you can access without membership. However, for more interactive and in-depth participation you need to join AIDSPortal. As a member you will:

  • Connect with practionners, researchers and policy makers who are responding to HIV and AIDS
  • Research organisations in your region and build partnerships
  • Directly add and publicise your events and programme resources
  • Receive personalized email alerts
  • Save your searches
  • Create personal document libraries


How does this become possible?


Through your own personal homepage. We know your life is already busy and you visit so many websites; so, what’s new here? Well it’s simple to be here. The homepage is there to help you organise the information you find on AIDSPortal.






What else is there on the homepage?


Saved Searches and Pages – Email Alerts: As any effective library, the homepage allows you to save searches and email alerts so you do not miss anything about the issues you are interested in.

Page Alerts: Have you ever viewed a page on a site and returned later to notice something had changed? You scratch your head wondering what has changed. Well, with ‘Page Alerts’ as long as you ‘tag’ the page, we will let you know when the pages you are interested in are updated. With pleasure!

Libraries: You do not need to hunting for the information you want. Documents and contacts you are interested in can be saved as ‘Libraries’!

Jobs: Are you looking for the perfect person to work at your organisation? Let your colleagues know about it!

Joining


Now that you know some of the great features and benefits waiting for you, let’s go to how you can join.


Where? The request form is here: http://www.aidsportal.org/Request_Join.aspx



How to fill in the request form?


It is very important to fill in all the places marked required.

  • Username – It is best to use one short word. Your username is case (uppercase and lowercase) and space sensitive.
  • Password – The best combination is the use of letters and numbers. Although there is no character limitation, the shorter the better (so you will remember it!). The password is als o case and space sensitive.


  • Organization Name – AIDSPortal members must be affiliated with an organisation responding to HIV and AIDS.

  • Postal Code – If your country does not use postal codes simply type in 00000.

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This 'how-to' join post was written by Mildred Mugocheki, an AIDSPortal volunteer. This is the first in a series of 'how-to' guides that she will be working on. Let us know if there is something you would like to know 'how-to' do!


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Looking back to go Forward

At this time when organizations are unveiling their priorities for the year, I wonder how much time and effort is spent looking at progress/evaluation reports produced outside their own, and other mainstream structures like government and the UN.

I am drawn back to three reports released at the end of last year that AIDSPortal highlighted on its website and regional newsletters. These include: Scenarios from Africa 2008, The Treatment Barometer: A Survey of Treatment provision for PLHIV in Southern Africa, The Global Health Watch 2, Undoubtedly, there are many more.

Scenarios from Africa 2008 presents a form of qualitative analysis of young people’s (median age of 16 years) knowledge and views on HIV based on their competition entries of a story for a short film on HIV. About 40 thousand youths from 43 countries (4 in southern Africa) submitted more than 18 000 texts. Among the findings are:

· Young people do not make connections between STIs and HIV, most probably because organizations tend to divorce HIV prevention from reproductive health programmes
· While condom use is gaining support among young people, they tend to view faithfulness and abstinence as too difficult to achieve- a worrying trend as they move into adulthood
· Young people rarely express alternatives to transactional and age-disparate sex, regarding them as all-pervasive and inevitable. photo credit: Eva-Lotta Jansson/IRIN

The Treatment Barometer records the findings of a community initiative to assess progress on provision of HIV treatment and the extent to which governments in Southern Africa have met their commitments:


· Hidden behind figures of expanding rates of national treatment coverage is the fact that rural and peri-urban populations struggle to access services due to weak procurement and logistical systems as well as centralization of services.
· Stigmatization by health care workers is cited as one of the key deterrents to uptake of treatment.
· In addition to national and regional advocacy efforts, civil society can bolster AIDS programmes by providing community based treatment literacy and psychosocial support

The point is, there are many other sources of information that are useful for organizations when critically analyzing their contribution to the HIV response, looking at new areas for engagement and developing useful partnerships.