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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Worthington, Manager, AIDSPortal, email@example.com
Roman Mukendi, Information Coordinator, EANNASO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Page, Deputy Director, SAfAIDS, email@example.com