First steps towards AIDS Competence in AKDN East Africa

18-20 November, Tanzania

Staff members of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in East Africa met in Dar-es-salaam. While most of them did not know each other, they were moved by a common concern: stopping the impact of HIV on their organizations and on their families. They left the meeting as a team mobilized by a common vision: that of an AIDS Competent AKDN in East Africa. “We need a change and time for change is now,” said a participant.
Each team in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zanzibar and Kenya will do its self-assessment twice a year and integrate actions into the HIV/AIDS working policy. “We started without confidence and now we are leaving with confidence and competence,” shared one participant.

Staff members from AKDN in East Africa met for a learning event on AIDS Competence. The Constellation and AKDN Kenya have collaborated since three years to develop AIDS Competence in all AKDN institutions in Kenya. Now, AKDN wants to expand the approach in three other countries –Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique. AKDN consists of institutions as diverse as Banks, Hotels, Insurance Companies, Hospitals, Social services, Schools and Madrasas.

“I learned a lot. AIDS Competence is a good opportunity for my country”, shared a participant. During the learning event, participants explored the self-assessment framework and translated the five first practices in English, Portuguese, Swahili and Luganda. They practiced the SALT way-of-working during a SALT visit to two groups of PLHIV. They learned more about the HIV/AIDS policy in Kenya and discussed next steps in each country.

“This is just the beginning” and “We have a long way to go, but hope that things will get done”, shared two participants. Each AKDN institutions will respond to HIV by doing its self assessment of AIDS Competence, choosing its priorities and building its action plan. This will be integrated into the ‘AKDN HIV/AIDS policy in the work environment’.

Institutions will learn from each other through the Network Facilitation Team. These national teams will conduct 3 SALT visits per year and meet 4 times per year. The interaction within East Africa would take place mostly through distance communication. “My greatest joy is that we are all taking this on. We are walking beside each other in this journey,” concluded one of the participants.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.