Wednesday, 24 February 2010

KANCO/AIDSPortal mapping pilot complete and ready to launch!

Cross posted on the KANCO and Ushahidi blog.

AIDSPortal have been collaborating with the Kenya AIDS NGO’s Consortium (KANCO) and Ushahidi on an exciting six-month project to visualize civil society organizations (CSOs) in Kenya providing responses to the HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics. The project involved modifying the Ushahidi platform for Crowdsourcing Crisis Information in order for KANCO to map its member organizations. This work contributes to KANCO’s mission, “to provide leadership, promote collaboration and enhance capacity among CSOs and other stakeholders to respond to HIV & AIDS and TB at the community level.” Click here to see the KANCO Map of AIDS and TB Service Organizations.

KANCO provides leadership in community systems strengthening (CSS) and policy and advocacy activities across the country. KANCO has extensive experience leading workshops and training for organizations in the field of HIV/AIDS and TB, and these standards for providing CSS were utilized to develop a workshop curriculum, based on the customized Ushahidi platform. In November, two workshops were conducted with 16 participants to gather feedback on

platform’s usability. This feedback informed the final customization and last week, February 9-11, a further 23 participants were trained at the KANCO offices in Nairobi. The workshops introduced the three partner organizations, provided background on the project, website demonstration, and user training. Participants were given an hour and a half to browse the website. In particular, they were instructed to search for organizations on the map, learn who’s doing what, where in Kenya, submit their organization’s profile and subscribe to the alerts feature on the map.

Workshop Participants adding Organization Profiles

Overall, the 3 days of training were a great success. Participants responded positively to the project and enjoyed using the site, especially adding and updating their profiles. Generally participants thought the site was a good tool for networking and partnering, knowledge building, promotion and marketing, advocacy and information sharing. One participant described her experience as, “I have confidence and now I can do it for myself because I have been delegating rather than doing it myself. Others can find us online and may be interested in working with us.”

Currently the KANCO instance does not have a mobile component, but participants liked idea of adding SMS to the site. They thought SMS would be beneficial to them, especially for keeping up-to-date with KANCO and their constituents, particularly in regards to referrals. Participants commented that people are more likely to check SMS than email on a regular basis and that people are comfortable communicating via SMS.

Established in 1990, KANCO is a networking organization with a cumulative membership of over 1000 CSOs. The partnership between KANCO, Ushahidi, and AIDSPortal was established in early 2009 and the pilot project was supported by a Geochallenge Grant, awarded to the team in August 2009. For updates on the project, keep an eye on the KANCO blog.

Post written by Jamie Lundine and Melissa Tully.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Optimising the use of ICT in Development

AIDSPortal recently participated in a USAID hosted workshop “Optimising the use of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to advance development objectives in Southern Africa”, 26-28 January in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The workshop attended by NGOs, private sector and USAID advisors was a forum to discuss ideas and share best practices on the use of technology to address developmental challenges in the health and education sectors.

Speaking about the importance of ICT in development, US Ambassador Donald Gips, quoting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stressed the importance of fostering:

  • Partnerships
  • Sectoral rather than project approach
  • Innovation and creativity

AIDSPortal has since its inception in 2003 worked within this approach. We work with local, regional and international partners to develop innovative ways of bringing together technology and knowledge in support of community-led responses to HIV and AIDS.

If you would like to know more about AIDSPortal and explore areas of collaboration, contact

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Towards a commons for HIV and AIDS related information

The UNAIDS Civil Society Partnerships Unit and the AIDSPortal Initiative are convening a consultation on strengthening civil society database management.

The UNAIDS Secretariat does not manage a global database of NGOs and civil society organisations responding to HIV, the services they provide and associated resources such as tools and publications. However, there are a number of partners working in parallel to develop databases, interactive technology and electronic platforms to achieve such objectives. It is an important task to link these databases and initiatives and establish communication mechanisms between NGO-held databases and those held by UNAIDS country, regional and cosponsor's offices. This would allow us to know which organisations are doing what, in which country and with which groups or communities. This would make it possible to identify and consult with a representative group working in one country or on one issue. Organisations themselves would be able to identify potential partners, or refer people to those providing complementary services.

Do you want to get involved and discuss these ideas? Click here to visit the online discussion group on AIDSspace.