CABSA was at...(activities we attended)

CABSA and CARIS are involved with a wide variety of networking, advocacy and information sharing events and activities.  Here we will highlight some of the "external" activities we were involved in.  You can also read about CABSA's own 'events' and training.

 

 

 

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CABSA was @... 2017

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CABSA was @Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development. 3-6 Octobr 2017

Lyn was invited to attend An Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development convened by the World Council of Churches in Geneva. The WCC reported as follows from this event:

Forum strengthens ecumenical commitment to diakonia

Forum strengthens ecumenical commitment to diakonia

Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

12 October 2017

Ecumenical diakonia means complementing each other in what we do best: serving our communities, thus bringing visible church unity to the world, agreed participants at an Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) last week.

More than 100 representatives from churches, church agencies and specialized ministries across the globe met in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva from 3-6 October to seek a common vision for the churches’ engagement in diakonia and sustainable development and strengthen their ability to collaborate.

Sharing the existing practices of ecumenical diakonia, Samer Laham, member of the Middle East Council of Churches and a regional director of Ecumenical Relief Services, noted that bond of cooperation between churches is the expression of church unity. “It can be seen today in many diaconal activities on the ground in countries that have been living under volatile conflicts like Syria and Iraq”, he acknowledged.

Caring for refugees from Syria has been a priority of the Armenia Inter-church Round Table Foundation as well, said foundation director Dr Karen Nazaryan. “Since 2014 we are consistently helping refugees from Syria to find a safe place in Armenia, supporting their integration into Armenian society economically, socially and spiritually.” More than 2,000 Syrian refugees have benefited from the program, and this support is possible thanks to collaboration of Armenia Round Table Foundation with ACT Alliance and its member agencies, says Nazaryan.

Rev. Dr Kjell Nordstokke, one of the authors of the newly developed “Ecumenical Diakonia” document presented during the forum, advocated for assets-based ecumenical work - an attitude that would bring forward what each partner is already doing best along with a courageous move to be widely open to serve the other.

Lyn van Rooyen, executive director of the faith-based non-governmental organization CABSA in South Africa, shared that her organization deliberately works non-denominationally in training and equiping faith leaders to respond to the HIV challenges.

“We work from a competence or asset based perspective and realised very early on that collaboration and cooperation, also with other faith communities, is a very important asset”, says van Rooyen. “In our training we often have representatives from many different denominations and faith traditions and significant community response is often initiated when denominational barriers are broken down.”

In South Africa faith communities often start collaborating when there is a compelling need and limited resources, adds Lyn van Rooyen. “In these situations faith communities, compelled by the love of Christ, find new and creative ways to respond to seemingly overwhelming crises.”

Sustainable development goals adopted by the member states of United Nations and a global civil society provides renewed strength for the diakonia and advocacy work of churches and their ministries, thinks Ingrid Næss-Holm, climate advisor of Norwegian Church Aid.

“When we advocate for climate justice, when we work with partners to end gender-based violence and when we provide humanitarian assistance in times of crises - it is all diakonia in practice”, says Næss-Holm. Norwegian Church Aid has been addressing the issues climate justice, economic justice, access to water, sanitation and hygiene, peace building in many places of the world for a long time. “However the sustainable development goals give us a renewed strength and legitimacy to take this work forward together with existing partners and new allies”, envisions Næss-Holm.

Speaking of the outcomes of the forum, it is impossible to overlook the presented framework for further cooperation, the Ecumenical Diakonia document, acknowledged as a common ground and a solid basis for conversation, bringing churches and other actors in diakonia and humanitarian work at one table.

For Roel Aalbersberg, member of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, the most important outcome of the forum was the introduction and discussion on the Ecumenical Diakonia document. “In 2014 the Malawi Consultation had called for the creation of such a policy paper that could be shared by churches and specialized ministries alike. From now on we will have a common framework for our diakonal and development work”, says Roel Aalbersberg. “It is a major step forward in our mutual relationships!”

“It was very inspiring to see the unity between WCC, ACT and LWF (Lutheran World Relief) shown by the three secretary generals and reflected in the discussions”, says Næss-Holm, reflecting on the days of the forum.

A strong and united ecumenical family that puts diakonia into action can indeed make a huge difference in addressing today's injustices and achieving the sustainable development goals. “When we add the interfaith dimension - we will be even stronger”, adds Næss-Holm.

The Ecumenical Strategic Forum gathered participants from churches, councils, communions and specialized ministries, involving national, regional and global ecumenical actors. The primary objective of the forum was to strengthen ecumenical collaboration on diakonia and development; stimulate strategies for leveraging national impact; and provide a road map for the ecumenical accompaniment of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Ecumenical diakonia: sharing God’s gifts at all tables

Ecumenical diaconia: sharing God’s gifts at all tables

LWF General secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge at one of the panel discussions during the forum on Ecumenical diakonia. Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

05 October 2017

"Maybe through ecumenical diakonia, hence by jointly preparing the tables for the marginalized and hungry, the theologies will emerge among us that will allow us to eventually accept the invitation of Christ to receive and share God's gifts at one table”, said Rev. Dr Kjell Nordstokke, during the Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development. The concept of “ecumenical diakonia” has been a key element of inspiration in the discussions taking place at the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in Geneva, Switzerland, between 3-6 October.

Nordstokke advocated for assets-based ecumenical work, an attitude that would bring forward what each partner is already doing best along with a courageous move to be widely open to serve the other.

As he presented the recently launched WCC document “Ecumenical Diakonia” to the forum, Nordstokke explained that the process of developing it was accompanied by a working group drawn from the WCC, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and ACT Alliance.

The document conceptualizes ecumenical diakonia from two perspectives. The first links to a theological understanding of diakonia, based on reflection that seeks to understand diakonia as a dimension integral to the nature and mission of the church; and the second being more practical, describing how churches are engaged in diaconal action across confessional and geographical boundaries.

The text, which is becoming an important tool for churches worldwide to explore entry points between their diaconal work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “considers the specific contribution of diaconal agencies; responds to relevant political and social issues in today’s world; provides theological insight; and proposes concrete steps to strengthen the diaconal capacity of the churches in cooperation with their ecumenical partners”, reads the document.

“It is our hope that the process of distribution and reflection on the Ecumenical Diakonia document will help our member churches to have a more comprehensive understanding of how their diaconal work can be in many ways a collaboration on the SDGs”, said Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary. “May the shared constructive spirit that dominates the discussions here in Geneva these days also be a sign of hope that would take our churches and partners toward the next level of ecumenical cooperation.”

General secretary of the LWF, Rev. Dr Martin Junge, commended the Ecumenical Diakonia document as it "gives a common ground for all of us and is a good basis to begin the conversation". He referred to the challenge to give this document political traction so as to address questions of structures, processes and agendas to bring different diaconal actors to one table. He acknowledged that in many cases churches and other actors in diakonia and humanitarian work "still have a huge distance between them”.

Junge also explored the common challenges that the document makes clear are still on the table. “How do we bring together the grammar of the churches with the grammar of sustainable development goals?”, inquired the LWF general secretary.

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, general secretary of the ACT Alliance, sees the agenda of Ecumenical Diakonia as an important element to bring partners closer in the work on development. “The ecumenical movement has to explore its potential, and stop going for competition. In such a competitive world as today, we may better come together as one ecumenical movement; otherwise, we are risking being irrelevant”, he said.

“Ecumenical diakonia has to be understood in a way that we complement each other, that builds on the distinctiveness of our organizations and members”, concluded de Faria.

Photos from the Ecumenical Strategic Forum (download free of charge)

9.5 Theses by the WCC general secretary

Full address of LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge at the forum on Ecumenical diakonia

Responding to the world’s challenges: forum shapes strategy on diakonia

Responding to the world’s challenges: forum shapes strategy on diakonia

Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

04 October 2017

An Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development was convening this week, drawing 130 thinkers from across the globe who have agreed to seek a common vision for churches and strengthen their ability to collaborate.

The forum, hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC), is taking place 3-6 October at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. Its objective is to strengthen ecumenical collaboration on diakonia and development; stimulate strategies for leveraging national impact; and provide direction for the ecumenical accompaniment of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom described the forum as a vital aspect of a journey together as it provides the opportunity to review the context and impact of various ministries. “Further the forum is also a time to reflect and plan together for the future, acknowledging our different roles and their interrelatedness,” she said. “The theme is of great importance to all of us and our institutions because it resonates with our identities and mandates as faith-based organizations and the ecumenical movement at large.”

In his presentation, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said: “In the month of commemorating 500 years of Reformation, a modest contribution to our joint reflection and actions for a new transformation of the world towards unity, justice and peace, maybe could be expressed in 1/10 of the amount of theses that initiated the transformation called ‘Reformation’.”

Tveit said: “When we try to discern the signs of our times, we see many tendencies towards different quests for unity.”

He added: “There is a sense of being one world through new possibilities of communication and sharing information, connecting people through enormous and sometimes unlimited openness, but also making the world a globalized marketplace dominated by a few and powerful actors, some with little or no ethical or value-based standards.”

Tveit said also: “There is a new momentum for the unity of the church. The connection between a new quest for unity and a new quest for ecumenical diakonia should manifest itself in new initiatives towards more mutual accountability.”

Tveit concluded: “For the constant renewal and reformation of the churches and human societies we cannot wait for figures like Martin Luther or Martin Luther King. We all have to be, and we all can be, agents of change for unity, justice and peace.”

Prof Dr Kjell Nordstokke offered a presentation on the document “Ecumenical Diakonia,” which takes into account the longstanding experiences of diaconal practice and reflection within the ecumenical movement. The text also considers the specific contribution of specific diaconal agencies; responds to relevant political and social issues in today’s world; provides theological insight; and proposes concrete steps to strengthen the diaconal capacity of the churches in cooperation with their ecumenical partners.

Rev. Jörgen Thomsen, representing DanChurchAid, reflected that more and more people are starting to realize that faith informs world views and shapes behavior, and many are seeking cooperation with faith actors in the world.

“In this new dialogue I expect us to be courageous,” he said. “The most courageous act you can perform is to actually say ‘welcome’ to somebody you don’t know: Welcome to those who invite us to cooperate for change.”

“For us in the LWF, partnership can only be defined as accompaniment,” the LWF general secretary Rev. Martin Junge said. “In times of fragmentation and communication breakdowns our ability to work and stand together as partners in diakonia becomes a telling witness to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our hearts.” Junge underlined the need to invest more in theological education and formation.

ACT Alliance general secretary Rudelmar Bueno de Faria noted that over the years churches have been major actors in development in almost all continents. “It is something that we cannot ignore, especially if we consider the social capital they can mobilize - volunteers and more,” he said. “Nobody else can do the same.”

We are now in a change of era, he added. “Conflicts are increasing everywhere, with migration and displacement reaching records. We are facing increasing populism in very corner of the planet, hatred speeches, exclusion, discrimination, xenophobia, racism, and homophobia.”

“As churches and faith communities, we cannot be silent,” he concluded. “We have to act and to speak out."

Photos from the Ecumenical Strategic Forum (download free of charge)

9.5 Theses by the WCC general secretary

Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Diakonia and Sustainable Development

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CABSA was @ WCC-EAA HIV Strategy Group Meeting. 26-28 September 2017

Lyn is a member of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance HIV Strategy Group and International Reference Group. She attended a meeting of the WCC-EAA Strategy Group in Bossey, Switzerland from 26-28 September 2017.

You can read more about this important meeting in the WCC Press release and see pictures here and here.

 

 

 

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CABSA was @ Hope Restoration Church. 9/9/2017

Nonceba attended an HIV and Wellness Awareness Campaign organised by the young adults of Hope Restoration Church in Evaton. She writes:

The church is  situated in the middle of informal settlement. The clinic and the church decided to partner and bring services to the community where individuals could be tested for HIV, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. There were different health related presentations which were conducted in the church hall.

I presented on:

  • Basic information on HIV
  • Stigma
  • Importance of knowing you’re your status
  • How to start support groups within the church

A group of young adults are planning to start support groups for young people who are affected by HIV. The youth especially expressed the importance of continued HIV and general health programs because most of the people who are ill find it difficult to go to the health centre, the program will be fully supported by the church.

The elderly people also appreciated the presentations on HIV and asked a lot of questions. One of the grannies is living with a grandchild who is living with HIV and has been struggling to support her on taking medication and encouraging her to live a positive life. “How do I encourage and help my daughter to stop drinking excessive alcohol and drink her medication?” This is one of the questions from the elderly who is stressed about her young daughter no taking care of herself.

It was a full day program which saw about 100 people from the church and the community attending the event.

It was a well organized event and fully attended by all those who were involved. It was also impressive to see the church leaders available throughout the day.

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CABSA was @ Khanya Africa Development Service's Women Seminar. 26/8/2017

Last Saturday Nonceba attended a women's seminar which was organised by Khanya Africa Development Services. The event was attended by various stakeholders including some of the organisations board members who also presented sessions. Over 55 fifty five people attended the seminar.

"I did a presentation on HIV/AIDS but addressing Stigma within the community and the church.

After the presentation there were a lot of participants who wanted to share their experiences but also to find solutions to their challenges which was very emotionally draining for the presenter.

I had a conversation with a grandmother who has 3 daughters who are living with HIV and may not have had proper support and counselling because they have found a solution in drinking and neglecting their children, now she has to care for 5 grand children.

This seminar made me realise that there is still a serious need to focus deeply on HIV especially concerning stigma, positive living and more HIV training.

Our communities still need more information on HIV and how to have a strong to move on and how to support their families who are living with HIV and affected by HIV."

 

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CABSA was @ Gauteng Provincial Treasury. 17/8/2017

Gauteng Province Treasury has a number of sessions focused on Women and Children and Gender Based Violence which are organised every two weeks especially now because of Women’s month. Thursdays in Black was invited to be part of the programme. There was an attendance of 60 people.

These sessions involve staff and any other invited visitors from other government departments. The sessions are meant to be a safe space where women can share their stories, here they can be motivated and also be informed about services  available to women who are experiencing abuse.

Men are also actively taking  part of these in these sessions. Most of them are against women and children abuse. Men mentioned that much more proactive stance should  to be applied in standing  Violence Against Women & Children and that begins  with structured preventative programmes   that includes men as they are found to be the majority perpetrators of Gender Based Violence.

Although most women who were present were still sceptical about sharing their stories they still stayed in the room to listen to speaker after speaker until the end of the session.

There is a big need for safe spaces for women because a lot of women have been through a lot of pain and there is still more who are going through that similar pain.

It was to see most men and women fully taking part in the campaign by visibly wearing black with their badges.

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CABSA was @ “Movement for Change” Faith Leaders Training. 27-29/6/2017

We Will Speak Out SA with the support of Amplify Change in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice opened a safe and powerful space for gender activists, survivors and church leaders to come together and grapple with questions related to the church’s responsibility in the light of the increasingly common and cruel sexual Gender Based Violence, both amongst churches and in wider society.

From the 27 to 29 June 2017, a ‘Movement for Change Faith Leaders training on sexual and gender based violence’ with faith leaders from Gauteng, supported by Amplify Change, Tear Fund and the We Will Speak Out Coalition.

Throughout the week, participants and facilitators engaged in group discussions and thematic sessions on the socio-cultural construction of gender in relation to emotions, sexuality, media, and the LGBTIQA perspective.

In particular they discussed deeper gender sensitive bible studies which were held through interactive reflections on biblical passages and their socio-cultural contexts. The training concluded with the joint development of action plans by participants to be implemented in their faith communities in the following months.

Through discussions as a participant I discovered that there is so much pain and injustice that hasn’t been dealt with, survivors shared how it was their first opportunity to actually share their painful experiences because the training environment was a safe space.

There is a serious need for safer spaces in our churches and faith communities. Churches need to be a place where women, children and survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence can be a part of a strong supportive community where family lives and peoples futures are important.

 

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CABSA was @ SAAIDS 2017. 13-15/6/2017

http://storify.com/Thursdays_Black/saaids2017-through-the-eys-of-lyn4carisLong walk to preventionLyn and Aneleh attended the 8th SA AIDS Conference in Durban from 13-15 June 2017. The theme of this conference was: "The Long Road to Prevention: Every Voice Counts".

CABSA presented two different poster presentations which can be downloaded from this page:

"Faith Leaders: Amplifying Voices that Hasten the Walk to Prevention" focuses on CABSA and the faith sector's role in the theme of the conference.

"Faith, Farms and HIV: Churches Channels of Hope Peer Educator Farm Programme" reports on the programme CABSA did in partnership with CHABAHIVA.

You can read about Lyn's experience on Storify.

The CABSA Poster Presentations

 

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CABSA was @ the Sizimbokodo Meeting. 14/6/2017

CABSA and We Will Speak Out South Africa, together with women from many different NGOs, faith organizations and activist groups came together yesterday to discuss actions they will take to address the pandemic proportions of violence against women and LGBTIAQ people in South Africa. This meeting was organized by a new social movement— Sizimbokodo. The movement is dedicated to smashing the patriarchy and ending violence against women and queer people. The meeting aimed to plan and strategize a national shut down, to bring the country to a standstill, in order to demand that the state and other duty bearers take urgent action to address gender violence across our country .

One of the many issues raised in the meeting which is of concern its how Faith communities and other independent organisations struggle to work together, and this is because there is lack of communication on issues such violence against women. There is a belief that the faith community is not having focus on ending violence against women because its not of concern.

This is not true because many faith organisations and churches  are active when it comes to fighting patriarchy and ending violence against women.

There is a huge need for dialogue between the faith community and other organisations like Sizimbokodo so that we can all work together as a unit. We need to make efforts in involving all involved parties and add all voices then our work will move forward successfully.

  

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CABSA was @ the #NotinmyName March. 26/5/2017

A number of people gathered to participate in the #NotInMyName march against gender based violence at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto Campus to Regina Mundi Church. There were more than 500 people who participated in the march. Various church leaders, organisations and Government departments were visible and making noise against Gender Based Violence.

Faith communities were also visible in their various church uniforms. I was there to represent Thursdays in Black and We Will Speak Out SA. Bishop Adams officiated the Soweto #NotInMyName march.

MEC for Community Safety: Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Minister Susan Shabangu were also part of the march.

The marchers chanted, 'Not in my name', with many thrusting their clenched fists towards the sky. Men were on the forefront holding banners and standing up against the brutality against women in our communities.

Organisers of the event said all women who had been attacked and killed by men would not be forgotten, and that their names would not be buried with their bodies, but remembered as the powerful women they were.

The #NotInMyName campaign could become a non-profit organisation in order to start helping all women who are marred by the violence of men in South Africa. 

        

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CABSA was @... 2016

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CABSA was @ the 1st SA Violence Conference. 15-17/8/2016

CABSA represented We Will Speak Out SA and other partners at the 1st South African Conference on Violence, from the 15th to the 17th August 2016 at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre. In addition to materials from We Will Speak Out, materials were share from two Coalition partners: GEMA and CABSA. The Thursdays in Black Campaign was also highlighted.

The conference was exceptionally well-focused on gender based violence. There were over 400 delegates, 129 speakers, 21 poster presentations and 14 exhibitors . There were between 20 and 25 visitors at the exhibition daily. Participants had an opportunity to visit the exhibition room at tea break and after lunch, so there wasn’t much activity between sessions.

Brochures and pamphlets were shared with the participants. We had participants who completed the forms to join the coalition; one of them was a representative from the Ethekwini Mayoral office.

Participants were very interested in what Faith Based Organisations are busy with in their communities, because some of the organisations present at the conference had started to work with churches and church leaders. Participants were interested to gather information on activities on sexual violence and gender based violence and how to collaborate with faith based organisations. 

There were lots of questions asked.

This was also a good opportunity to interact with other exhibitors and hear what work they are doing.

Together with Lifeline, exhibitors agreed to wear black on Wednesday since the following day was “Thursday in Black”. It made it easier to demonstrate or encourage our visitors about Thursday in Black.

Nomsa Papale from Lifeline and I had conversations on how to reach out to faith communities and what types of programs could be proposed to churches. She found this very encouraging because a lot of people have given up on faith communities. She also appreciated hearing other people’s experiences working with faith communities. She was also impressed on hearing and reading about We Will Speak Out. For her it was not just about being there to represent LifeLine but she has a burden for her faith community. It would be a great achievement for her to see faith leaders in her community working together to combat gender based violence.

Hearing stories from different people about the work they are doing and the impact it has on their communities and churches was motivating. A Muslim lady, who is a psychologist by profession, shared the challenges she faced on starting interfaith projects in Paarl focusing on Gender Based Violence. She faced challenges in also trying to show faith leaders how the project could have an impact if they worked together. She realised that this was a process not a quick fix.

Having a conversations with Doctors Without Borders was also enlightening. Mpho shared about their work with faith communities, she said “I realised that its not an easy task to get faith leaders to work together, it doesn’t matter where you are from and what education level you have. When you want to work in a community you have to have thick skin”.

It is imperative to understand the communities we work in and be inclusive to the faith community.

 

This was a great opportunity for We Will Speak Out to be known and recognised.

 

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CABSA was @ the Methodist Church of Southern Africa Annual Conference. 24/9/2016

On the 24 September 2016 We Will Speak Out had an opportunity to exhibit at the annual Methodist Church of Southern Africa conference which was held at St Georges Hotel in Pretoria.

The conference was attended by 150 delegates. The delegation is made up of church leaders, lay and clergy, from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Swaziland.

We had an opportunity to interact and share information on WWSO_SA with around 80 people who were very interested in joining the coalition. 60 membership forms and Coalition Membership: Policy Document were distributed.

Even though we exhibited for only 5hrs, it was an exciting and good opportunity to interact with the leadership of the church. 

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CABSA was @ the “Truth Be Told” International Conference & Leadership Training. 14-17/9/2016

CABSA represented We Will Speak Out SA and Thursdays in Black at the “Truth be Told” Conference at Rhema Ministries from the 14 – 17 September 2016.

Various Christian leaders spoke and challenged religious patriarchy and gender based violence (GBV). There between 50 to 60 visitors at the exhibition daily, participants had an opportunity to visit the exhibition before the sessions began and during tea and lunch breaks.

Brochures and pamphlets were shared with the participants, we had resources from all three partners and most of the resources were disseminated. We had participants who completed the forms to join the WWSOSA coalition. Most participants were very much intrigued by resources on Church and GBV, these resources sparked discussions and questions.

I met Mary-Anne who shared her very painful story with me where she was forced to be indoors by her ex-husband and not work or be part of any activities in her community or church. Every time she made a “mistake” she would be locked in a cage for a few hours in another room. Her marriage has been a terrible experience for her and her young son. She took courage to file for divorce and now she is safe but still needs support and counselling for her son also.

There are a lot of local church leaders who were amazed on the amount of information on GBV and on how they can get involved.

Ps Cele from AFM told of many cases from his church that he turned a blind eye on because he didn’t have any clue of how to deal with the situation but now he will have a new approach on how to deal with GBV in his church.

This was a good platform for church leaders to learn and be exposed to Gender Based Violence.

 

 

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CABSA was @ . . .2015

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Aneleh, Rhodé and Lyn were @ the 7th South African AIDS conference

AttachmentSize
PDF icon final poster ATF 4.0.pdf3.11 MB

In June, some of CABSA’s staff exchanged the cold Johannesburg and Cape Town for comfortable Durban, in order to participate in the 7th South African AIDS conference. CABSA was involved in three activities; the ‘Faith in Action’ exhibition, a satellite session and a poster presentation.

The ‘Faith in Action’ exhibition was very popular with many visitors walking in wondering what we were representing.  Posters or pamphlets of their denomination triggered the interest of many visitors sparking their curiosity on how their churches were involved in the HIV epidemic.

Although the exhibition space had a strong Christian focus, we had some good conversations with Hindi and Muslim delegates and invited them to cooperate with us in the 2016 International AIDS conference in order to truly have a ‘inter-faith’ presence

For the satellite session we were very blessed to have some great speakers reflecting on their journey with HIV and the role religion played in this journey. Unfortunately, this session had less visitors than we hoped. Many reasons can be found for this, including the time of the session.

CABSA’s poster presentation (see attachement below) illustrated how CABSA’s Churches, Channels of Hope training assists faith-leaders to understand and break down HIV-stigma in their faith community.

In addition to all CABSA’s input into the conference, we also had some time to participate in different sessions, network and simply enjoy the conference.

It was an unique week in Durban in which we were able to equip delegates, but which also equipped our own staff.

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

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CABSA was at...2014

Reports on some events CABSA was part of in 2014.

 

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Lyn and Rhodé @ Women, Religion and Violence. 31/10/ 2014

Last Friday Lyn and Rhodé were at a conference on Women, Religion and Violence in Johannesburg. This was organized by the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians and the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Johannesburg. These sessions offer the floor to upcoming and more experienced researchers to discuss their latest papers. It was a unique opportunity to see what is happening in the research field and to connect with the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.

 
Highlights of the day where the sessions on ‘Culture Representations of Violence’, ‘Islam and Gender Violence’ and ‘Pentecostals and African Initiated Churches, and ‘Violence against Women’.
 
In the session on ‘Culture Representations of Violence’ it was discussed how child rape is represented in South Africa’s media. This research was conducted around the time of Anene Booysen’s death (2013) therefore there might have been increased attention to child rape in the newspapers. Another research in the same session highlighted the case of Malala Yousafzai. In the research she is approached as a discourse to understand the images of oppressed Islamic women that arose when she became celebrated as activist for a child’s right to education.
 
The session on ‘Islam and Gender Violence’ reviewed a text from the Qur’an specifically 4 verse 34. This verse is often interpreted in such a way that it is permits men to beat their wives. The session challenged the literal translation of the text and uses a contextual approach in which Islamic Law, Qur’anic meaning and the Prophetic authority is taken in consideration.
 
The session on ‘Pentecostals and African Initiated Churches, and Violence against Women’, was fascinating. The research provided insight why young, well-educated women join patriarchal churches such as Pentecostal and Zionistic movements. Furthermore the research addressed violence that some of these women are exposed to within their churches.
 
During the day a lot of interesting knowledge was shared and the message of Thursdays in Black was shared with interested participants. CABSA wants to express thanks to the Department of Religious Studies and the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians for organizing this innovative conference.

 

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Lyn @ Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. June 2014

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CABSA was at ... 2013

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17th ICASA 2013 -7-11 December 2013

CABSA coordinated a selection of activities and events at ICASA.

Below is a presentation highlighting these activities. This 'PREZI' is a large file - I suggest that you wait until the presentation is loaded before you start clicking. It may not be possible to view this on your mobile. If you have any problem viewing the presentation, it has been converted to PDF format and is available for download below.

You can also download "Narrative Report on Interfaith Activities at the 17th ICASA held in Cape Town From 7-11 December 2014 " below.

A number of news reports were published during the conference. Click on the links below to view these reports:

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Lyn @ Manche Masemola on International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service. 19/5/2013

Lyn was part of the Pentecost and International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service on 19 May 2013 at the Manche Masemola Anglican hurch in Lombardy East.

 Fr Tsepo Matubatuba, the proeist of Manche Masemola, was trained as Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator in 2013, and has been a passionate friend of CABSA since then

Fr Tsepo used the litany provided by CABSA as part of the liturgy, which he shared with CABSA and which you can download below.

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Lyn @“Contending with HIV, Contending with the Church: Building a Redemptive Religious Community”, KZN, 6-9 May 2013

From the UKZN website:

Chart Gathering on the North CoastMay 22, 2013

CHART Consultation
Participants at the CHART consultation.

The Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART), based in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, organised a consultation: “Contending with HIV, Contending with the Church: Building a Redemptive Religious Community”, at the Salt Rock Hotel on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast. 

Participants included Professor Beverley Haddad, Professor Gerald West, Professor Philippe Denis, Professor Sue Rakoczy, Dr Herbert Moyo, Ms Bongi Zengele, Ms Nokhaya Makiwane and Ms Cherry Muslim, religious leaders from both Christian and Muslim communities, and co-ordinators of faith-based organisations from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Namibia, Kenya and Zambia.

Organisations attending included the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Affected by HIV and AIDS (+INERELA), the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) and the Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa (CABSA).

In addition to the plenary presentations, participants spent a great deal of time in small groups where the findings of the CHART research project: “The Cartography of HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology”, were shared (see: www.chart.ukzn.ac.za).  The fruitful discussions led to planning for future work in religion and HIV and mapping this agenda.

Resources and report from CHART Website:

A consultation, “Contending with HIV, Contending with the Church: Building a Redemptive Religious Community” took place from 6th – 9th May at the Salt Rock Hotel, north of Durban. This consultation brought together Muslim and Christian leaders from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda, Kenya and Namibia where the findings of the project, “The Cartography of HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology” were shared and a way forward for our future work mapped out. In addition to the plenary presentations available below, participants spent a great deal of time in small groups. Much of this discussion is outlined in the consultation report.

 

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CABSA was at...2012.

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Aneleh and Jerry @ Petals of Hope. 30/12/2012

On 30 November, CABSA was co-responsible for the first joint World AIDS Day initiative in Paarl, called Petals of Hope on the banks of the Berg River. Despite a very strong South Easterly wind, about 100 people attended the event. This included members of various organisations in the Drakenstein Health district, staff of the Electoral commission, Drakenstein Hospice, Anova and peer educators of Koinonia.

The guest speakers include the mayoral spokesperson, Dr Noel Adams, Patty Brooks – living openly with HIV and Pastor Jacko Pedro. The wind made it impossible to distribute any material, but the 200 plus red balloons and enormous AIDS ribbons made it quite a visual experience. Flowers were dropped into the Berg River to honour the memories of people who died of AIDS, but also in solidarity with those who live with HIV and work in the field.

       

      

      

      

      

      

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World AIDS Day and 16 Days Activities 04/02/2013

 



Report on CABSA’s additional Activity in the Gender and HIV Mainstreaming Project.

CABSA’s (the Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa) additional proposal to the Gender and HIV Mainstreaming project focused on “Integrating Gender and Gender Based Violence in World AIDS Day Programmes”.

The project involved a number of activities around World AIDS Day which CABSA organised or took part in. As the events and celebrations fall within the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Abuse of Women and children, this was seen as an ideal opportunity to create awareness and make faith communities more aware of GBV and the role faith communities can lay in addressing the issue.

This was done by highlighting gender and gender based violence and its intersection with HIV in all WAD activities, designing and printing posters specifically for the campaign, developing worship resources around the theme, and distributing resources from partner organisation PACSA and Thursdays in Black Badges from Diakonia Council of Churches.

                  

Although the lead times and deadlines for the project was extremely tight, the project can be seen as very successful in meeting the objectives.

The focus created will however not end with the ending of the project timeframe:

  • Materials remain available on the CABSA website, which averages more than 10 000 web visits per month.
  • Posters will continue to be displayed in CABSA offices and the offices of many other organisations and faith communities.
  • Any posters, pamphlets or resources left at the end of the project period, will still be distributed at the many faith based events of which CABSA is part.

Event Summary

This is a short summary of the events that were included in the project. Additional information about any of the events is available on request.

1.    A complete liturgy, sermon guidelines and Sermon material and worship resources which focused specifically on World AIDS Day were developed and distributed in November. A wide selection of resources, video’s and guidelines from other organisations were also highlighted on the website. These worship resources were sent out to more than 730 regular subscribers to the CABSA Bible Message. It was also placed on the website in three languages (English, Afrikaans and Xhosa) and highlighted on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. CABSA is aware that the resources were further distributed by “Christians Concerned for One World” (CCOW), a group of Anglican Churches in the UK, Churches Together in Oxfordshire, the Uniting Reformed Church of South Africa, and reposted on websites such as EAA, Commitment for Life (the United Reformed Church's international social justice programme) and the World Development Advisers website for the Church of England. It was also highlighted in the email newsletters of the MICAH Network and SIM Hope for AIDS and various regional synods of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa

2.    During the month of November and early December, 7 interviews with Lyn were broadcast on East Rand Stereo, a community radio station with 60 000 listeners, as part of their HIV awareness month. Four of these 10-15 interviews were in English, and three in Afrikaans. More than 20 short items were broadcast throughout the month under the heading “HIV fact of the Day”. The interaction between HIV, gender and GBV was highlighted on many occasions.

3.    On 20 November Aneleh facilitated a workshop on preaching on HIV for clergy at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Cape Town. The event formed part of a collaborative World AIDS Day initiative between churches in the city of Cape Town and Christian NGOs. It was attended by 14 people from 7 different denominations. “HIV Competent Faith Communities” was the underlying theme to encourage clergy to seize the awareness opportunity offered by World AIDS Day, but also to think beyond only once-off World AIDS Day events.  A wide selection of HIV resources, including the PACSA Gender Violence and HIV books were distributed. Feedback was very positive.

A few photos:

             

4.    On 22 November Aneleh did a presentation at a Symposium for Faith leaders in Worcester. The event was hosted by YWAM and organised and funded by the Department of Health district office.  The topic of the presentation was again “HIV Competent Faith Communities” and also included aspects of gender relationships, violence against women and the responsibility of the church to restore and uphold the dignity and worth of every human being.  More than 60 people attended, many clergy and others as direct representatives of their faith leaders.  The response of the group was absolutely amazing, as if they were hungry for this truth. The programme was adjusted by the organisers to give more time for participants to respond and engage and many individuals engaged in discussions with Aneleh after the session. Folders containing a wide selection of HIV resources and the 3 PACSA booklets were distributed to all 60 participants.

Group photo:

5.    On 22 November, Meloney sent 50 copies of a selection of HIV materials a Dutch Reformed Church in Hartenbos on their request. The material was aimed at facilitating discussion on HIV during a church service.

6.    On 22 November, Jerry attended the launch of the 16 Days report for 2012 with the theme “Peace in our Churches to Peace in our Families & Communities” It was organized by the Western Cape Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) in collaboration and partnership with the Mothers Union (MU) under the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. It was attended by about 30 participants. Although the gender resources were not received in time to distribute at this event an attendance list has been requested from the organisers and a set of gender resources will be mailed to each participant.

7.    Rev Nelis Du Toit collected 100 HIV related pamphlets for a URCSA church service on 25 November which focused on HIV.

8.    Sermon material and worship resources were developed focusing specifically on the 16 Day Campaign. This, together with links to the posters developed for the campaign, was sent out to 730 subscribers, placed on the website and highlighted on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. The materials were widely distributed by various partner and network organisations such as Dr. Sue Parry, Southern African Co-ordinator of EHAIA. This can be accessed at http://www.cabsa.org.za/content/worship-resources-16-days-activism-no-violence-against-women-and-children.

9.    On 25 November an interview with Lyn was broadcast on “Sondag Aktueel”, an early morning programme on RSG, an Afrikaans radio station. The focus was on World AIDS Day and particular emphasis was placed on Thursdays in Black and the role of GBV in HIV.

10.    On 26 November Lyn was a speaker at a workshop on HIV & AIDS and Wellness for 18 participants. She focused on “Holistic prevention from ABC to A Comprehensive Multifaceted model”. The role of gender roles and gender based violence in HIV prevention was discussed, the Thursdays in Black campaign was highlighted and the posters were displayed. Feedback was positive.

11.    On 27 November, Aneleh chaired an HIV focused meeting in the municipal sub-district of Drakenstein. This meeting was organised by the Drakenstein Health and Wellness Forum that consists of different task teams. Aneleh is the chairperson of the HIV, AIDS and TB task team (also known as MSAT – Multi-sectorial Action team). Two speakers, one a medical doctor specialising in HIV and the other an HIV positive person participated. CABSA distributed resources, including gender and gender based violence material from PACSA. This material was introduced as part of an appeal for participants to also focus on the 16 Days of Activism against Violence against women and children.  Though only 23 people attended, a total of 50 packs were taken – again indicating a real need for solid information regarding HIV and gender.  Responses were very positive, specifically to the message of the person living with HIV.

12.    On 28 November, CABSA’s Wellington staff presented a short HIV programme at a local primary school, St Albans. Age appropriate HIV related pamphlets of the Christian Literature Fund and AIDS ribbons were distributed to 1387 children.  The principle, Mr. Bailey, welcomed CABSA’s involvement and expressed the wish that we would be in contact again.  Additionally, 50 information packs that included HIV and gender resources were prepared for each of the staff members.

In pictures:

    

    

 

13.    On 29 November, CABSA and the Centre for Christian Spirituality co-hosted a panel discussion with HIV positive people sharing on the theme “Positive Spirituality – how my HIV status impacted on my faith and relationship with God”. This meeting was hosted by the Garden’s Presbyterian Church in Cape Town and was attended by 11 people.  At this event CABSA distributed TiB pins and HIV and gender material, and made an announcement on the Thursdays in Black campaign.

Rev. Natalie van Rooyen from St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church gave the following feedback on the event: “This was a very meaningful evening for me and the sharing from the 2 very precious people who came from so far was amazing. I will not forget this evening ever. It moved me deeply.”

14.    On 30 November, CABSA hosted an intimate WAD event in the Ferguson Building, where our Wellington office is based.  Invitations were sent to staff members of Bible Media, Huguenot College and local pastors. It was attended by 22 people.  At this meeting Patty Thomas shared her testimony about the lessons she has learned in her journey with HIV and about the new dreams she is dreaming. The CABSA gender posters were introduced and Thursdays in Black was promoted. HIV and gender material, posters, ribbons and pins were distributed.

15.    On 30 November, Meloney dropped 50 copies of HIV pamphlets at the St George’s Presbyterian Church in Wellington for use during their church service on Sunday, 2nd December.  Aneleh also assisted Rev Set Buttle with material and testimonies to be used during the church service.

16.    On 30 November, Aneleh was interviewed by a local radio station, Radio KC based in Paarl which has a daily listener count of 83 000.  The 15 minute interview touched on the need for organisations to work together, the Drakenstein Health and Wellness Forum, World AIDS Day events and specifically addressed the issue of healthy and life giving, life affirming relationships.

17.    On 30 November, CABSA was co-responsible for the first joint World AIDS Day initiative in Paarl, called Petals of Hope on the banks of the Berg River.  Despite a very strong South Easterly wind, about 100 people attended the event. This included members of various organisations in the Drakenstein Health district, staff of the Electoral commission, Drakenstein Hospice, Anova and peer educators of Koinonia.  The guest speakers include the mayoral spokesperson, Dr Noel Adams, Patty Brooks – living openly with HIV and Pastor Jacko Pedro.  The wind made it impossible to distribute any material, but the 200 plus red balloons and enormous AIDS ribbons made it quite a visual experience. Flowers were dropped into the Berg River to honour the memories of people who died of AIDS, but also in solidarity with those who live with HIV and work in the field.

    

18.    On 1 December CABSA participated in the WAD events in Cape Town, a collaborative church initiative between churches in the city of Cape Town and Christian NGOs. The event included a candle lightning ceremony, a drama, VCT, exhibitions and distribution of material and an ecumenical church service.  CABSA distributed hundreds of pamphlets, especially with a gender focus. Gender posters and TiB pins were also distributed. With different activities happening at different venues it is difficult to determine how many people participated in total. The ecumenical service at the end of programme was attended by about 150 people. More photos are available at https://picasaweb.google.com/104581640766239311257/ScrapbookPhotos

     

19.    On 1 December, CABSA had an exhibition table at the finals of the “School’s got Talent”, music awards in Wellington. Posters were on display and HIV and gender material was available. Three hundred people attended the event and 60 TiB buttons and a variety of HIV and gender materials were distributed.

20.    On 2 December, Lyn took part in a special church service of the “South African Police Service Gauteng:  Department Employee Health and Wellness” which focused on HIV and gender based violence. More than 700 participants from the police and local communities attended. Lyn focused on CABSA’s “Guiding Principles” and faith communities’ involvement in issues of health, sexuality and gender based violence. Large amounts of Gender Resources and Thursdays in Black Badges were distributed.

21.    On 2 December, Fontainebleau Community Church focused on gender based violence. CABSA provided guidance, posters and resources. Thursdays in Black was a particular focus.

22.    On 2 December, Aneleh addressed her own Helderberg congregation in two services, reaching about 800 people with short “liturgy of Hope” as an introduction.  Posters were displayed around the church and HIV resources were made available after the services. An article on TiB campaign will be prepared early in January for the church newspaper and website.

23.    On 5 December, Aneleh lead a WAD prayer meeting at the Dutch Reformed Church office in Bellville.  The message focused on the fact that men and women were created in the image of God and CABSA’s guiding principle to honour, restore and uphold the dignity and worth of every human being was emphasized. It was attended by about 20 people, each received a selection of HIV and Gender pamphlets, Gender posters and TiB pins were also available and 24 people took TiB pins.

At the end of this week a summary of Aneleh’s message was included in a weekly group email that was distributed to hundreds of DRC leaders and members in this province.

24.    Gender posters were distributed to the local World Vision ADP in the Western Cape and the INERELA+ office in Randburg.

25.    In February all the gender and TiB material will also be shared with the joint DRC and URCSA HIV task group in the Western Cape.

26.    Discussions with congregations and faith based organisations continue, and posters, resources and badges will continue to be distributed were appropriate.

Conclusion:

CABSA was privileged to be part of this project and would like to thank the donors and project partners, PACSA and Diakonia Council of Churches, for the opportunity. We would also like to thank the organisers, facilitators and partners of all these events for their co-operation.

We believe that this short project opened the eyes of many people of faith to the issues of gender inequality; gender based violence and the intersection of these issues with HIV, and assisted in bringing reconciliation and hope in a world with HIV and Gender Based Violence.

So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

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Jerry @ Drakenstein June 16 Youth Week. 25-28/6/2012

The Drakenstein municipality had planned the youth week celebration in conjunction with the June 16 youth celebration and also June being regarded as the month of youth.
The planning for this event already started with the first meeting in April and was followed up with two other meetings in May month and the beginning of June. Three meetings were held overall before the event could take place. The event was held from the 25th – 28th June 2012 at Thusong Centre, Paarl East.
Different stakeholders were invited to these meetings to deliberate and plan for this event. Government and municipal departments in the Drakenstein area were invited and also NGO’s, FBO’s, Universities, Local Schools and everyone else who had an interest in the development of youth.
The whole week was in a form of Exhibitions and social awareness -, career guidance - and participatory workshops. All the stakeholders were asked to come and exhibit what they offer and CABSA took the opportunity to network and make the organization known and distribute free resources that were youth focused, that we got from CLF.
Apart from the young people going to all exhibitions in the main hall, they were then invited to attend the social awareness and participatory democracy workshops in small lectures halls which were organized by the Drakenstein municipality. It was a full day program which saw each day welcome 90 young people from different schools in the area in full school uniform to attend the event.
It was a well organized event and fully attended by all those who were involved and we thank the Drakenstein municipality for the organizing of the event and the opportunity that was afforded us as CABSA to make the organization known, but to at the same time impart something in the lives of the young people.
 

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Aneleh @ General Synod of the Calvyn Protestant Church. 21/6/2012

CABSA was privileged to be invited to bring a message to the 27th General Synod of the Calvyn Protestant Church of South Africa on the 21st of June 2012 in Athlone, Cape Town. We were one of eight guests to address the synod and CABSA was represented by Aneleh Fourie-Le Roux.

CABSA’s message focused on the relationship between the Calvin Protestant Church and CABSA that developed over many years and was also strongly linked to the commitment of the church to address HIV and AIDS in a meaningful way. Already in 2004 a formal Memorandum of Understanding and a Memorandum of Agreement were signed between CABSA and the Calvin Protestant Church. The Church was commended for their early and committed response to HIV and for their support of CABSA, but was also invited to revisit their HIV and AIDS policy document and look at it with fresh eyes within our present context and the challenges HIV and AIDS pose to us today.

The Synod was reminded that though we have become tired of the topic and though we are faced with numerous other challenges in our community, AIDS has not disappeared and it is still just as important and urgent for us to respond to it and CABSA would love to support them in this journey.

Apart from the formal session, it was also a wonderful opportunity for Aneleh to meet up with the 8 clergy of the church who over the past few years have participated in the Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator trainings and to be able to encourage one another again.

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Lyn was @ " National Church Leaders Summit on Child Health and Survival in South Africa – 19-20/03/2012"

Lyn attended and presented at this importantant summit of church leaders.  You can read more about the event and download documents and presentations below.

PROGRAMME

Day 1
Introductions and Welcome: Ms Pontsho Segwai MC Director       
Official Opening:  Mr. Lehlohonolo Chabeli (WVSA National Director)
Key Note Address: Rev Keith Vermulen (SACC Parliamentary Office - Director)
Child Health Now: Anthony Ambrose (WVSA Advocacy Advisor)  
Panel Presentation and Discussions:
State of Child and Maternal Health in South Africa – The Millennium Development Goals: Chantell Witten (UNICEF)
Children’s’ Right to Life and good health: Sr. Flora Loate ( Nursing Sister at George Makhari Hospital), Mrs Thabisile Msezana (Director of Sithabile Child and Youth Care)
Practical Church responses to child and maternal health in communities: Marcus Solomon  (Coordinator of Children’s Resource Centre and National Project Coordinator, Ms. Lyn Van Rooyen (Director of CABSA)
A Child in the Midst?: Dr. Johannes Malherbe (Director - About Children)
Key Note Speech
“How the church can use its prophetic voice and leadership to promote social justice for children through positive policy influence and advocacy”  Rev Canon Desmond Lambrechts (South Africa National AIDS Council - Religious Sector Chair)
Recap and Closing: Pontsho Segwai
 
Day 2
Worship and Opening Prayer - led by SACC

Key note Speeches
Church’s perspective on the issues faced by children in health: Sr. Alison Munro (Director  of the AIDS Office of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference)
Child Health as a Reality in South Africa Today: Moipone Buda-Ramatlo (Acting CEO - Nelson Mandela Children's Fund) 
Key Note Speech
The State of Child health- a sense of urgency is needed: Prof. Ashraf Coovadia (Wits University, Heading the Empilweni Services and Research Unit - Head of Department)
National Churches Week of Action (Overview): Anthony Ambrose(WVSA Advocacy Advisor)
Draft Declaration
Closing Remarks: Rev Gift Moerane, (SACC Head of Programming)
Closing Remarks and Vote of Thanks 
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Aneleh at "Preaching On HIV/AIDS and Related Issues" Workshop. November 2012

Read more about this workshop and view the photos at

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church

.

 

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CABSA was at ... 2011

You can read more about a few of the many events and activities CABSA staff and co-workers attend:

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Lyn @PACANet General Assembly and Pre-ICASA Conference 30/11 - 2/12/2011

Lyn attended the PACANet General Assembly in  Addis Abeba on the 30th November 2011. Delegates had the opportunity to reflect on the past and also to look forward to the future of the organisation. CABSA was a founder members of this organisation, and our interaction was taken to the next level when Lyn was elected as one of the new board members who will guide the organisation into the next phase of its development. CABSA and PACANet share the dream of  the church responding to its calling around HIV in a comprehensive, caring and competent manner, and there is much synergy between the organisations. The new Board members will get to know each other and start planning for the future at a Board orientation session which is being planned for the end of January.

On the 1-2nd of December, Lyn attended the 4th PACANet Pre ICASA conference with the theme "Accelerating a Grassroots Church Movement for a Sustainable HIV and AIDS Response", which was also held in Addis Abeba.

A selection of the presentation can be found on the PACANet website and the Communiqué is available below.

Having attended a number of previous conferences of this kind, Lyn was particularly impressed by the greater depth of discussions, and a greater willingness to address difficult issues: "I think this really reflects greater HIV competence from faith communities," Lyn said.  "I was also impressed by the fact that we in Africa are starting to look within ourselves for solutions and resources. I have never heard so many people emphasising the untapped resources we as church in Africa have."

PACANet 4th Pre-ICASA Conference Communiqué

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1st-2nd December 2011

Accelerating a Grassroots Church Movement for a Sustainable HIV and AIDS Response

Preamble

From 1st to 2nd December 2011, in Desalegn Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Pan African Christian AIDS Network (PACANet) convened a conference, ahead of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), to explore and debate, from a Christian perspective, the issues of ownership, scaling-up and sustainability of the Church’s response to HIV and AIDS in Africa.

The event in Addis Ababa was hosted by PACANet, in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Agency, NORAD and the Danish Mission Council Development Department, and assisted locally by a team lead by the Swedish Philadelphia Church Mission and made up of representatives from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Evangelical Church Fellowship of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Catholic Church.

The purpose of the conference was to review progress of the Church’s response to HIV and AIDS in Africa, to renew its resolve to own and scale-up Church responses and to chart a road-map for a sustainable way forward.

n attendance were 151 participants (87 males and 64 females) from 30 countries (25 from within the continent). The participants represented leaders and practitioners from different church backgrounds, including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, African Instituted Churches, the Evangelical movement and the mainline established churches.

PACANet is a continental networking body that seeks to link churches, Christian organizations and networks in Africa to enhance their HIV and AIDS responses by sharing ideas, skills, experiences and resources and to stimulate strategic partnerships. Given this mission, PACANet is dedicated to holding a Pre-ICASA Conference, every two years, ahead of the ICASA.

Participants of the 4th PACANet Pre-ICASA conference committed to the following statement.

Recommendations

We call for:

1. The Shifting of Paradigms

  • A move from destructive and negative paradigms (i.e. punishment and stigmatization) to constructive and life promoting paradigms focusing on the promotion of human identity and human dignity.
  • Appropriate and meaningful involvement in daily life issues at grassroots level within the local framework of the African cultural context.
  • A deliberate and urgent effort to harmonize faith and science, belief and life.
  • An emphasis on teaching about identity in Christ alongside the focus on preaching and the proclamation of the gospel.

2. The Quest for Competence

  • The church to adopt an inclusive model, where we “do the right thing” as well as being the “right church” at grassroots level. This should encompass inner competence (i.e. personal responses; local responsibility; recognition of the impact and risk factors; compassionate involvement; unmasking stigma, discrimination and denial associated with HIV & AIDS), outer competence (i.e. technical competence and strategic planning; appropriate theological knowledge; networking within an inclusive social approach; promotion of dignity and hope) and the bridge between inner and outer competence (i.e. leadership, knowledge and resources).

3. Sustainability

  • Discipline in thought, words and actions so as to realize sustainability relevant for development outcomes; benchmarks; long term motivation; sources and resources.

4. Fundraising and Resources

  • A shift from fundraising from abroad to fundraising within the capacity of the African setting; i.e. tapping the resources within local communities and believers.
  • The linking of financial resources with the development of “human capital”: invest in human potential development.

5. The Reframing of the Notion of Human Sexuality

  • The Church to adopt a constructive educational model for the promotion of the understanding of human sexuality within the Church, which includes educational youth models on sex and sexuality from the Christian perspective, beyond the merely “no-sex-before-marriage” paradigm.
  • An understanding of the Christian spiritual purpose and meaning of human sexuality; an integrative understanding of our being human, beyond the schism (dualism) between body and soul; the sacredness of intercourse; the sanctification of the human body and its sexual functioning.

6. Mainstreaming HIV and AIDS in church practice (The Quest for a Grassroots Kingdom of God Model)

  • Mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS with emphasis on service delivery to grassroots communities and on integrating HIV and AIDS related issues into programmes of church ministries.
  • We call for a “Kingdom of God” centred model which would include:
    • A small group approach;
    • Home care and ARV Treatment
    • A community focused approach;
    • The incorporation of local people and identification of community leaders.
  • Special attention to be given to palliative care in order to improve the quality of life of those with life-limiting illnesses.

7. Advocacy and Christian Leadership

  • Training and leadership formation that focus on passion; compassion; excellence; the energizing of human potential and resources.
  • The inclusion of religious leaders infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in local projects as agents of change.

8. The Reframing of Power

  • The reframing of power, whether male or female, as both are exposed to vulnerability and should be approached from the perspective of human dignity.
  • The consideration of issues such as power abuse and the treatment of women; the position of males within feminist campaigns; the acknowledgement of the work done by women on grassroots level; the challenge how to incorporate males within “women care giving work”; loveless and inhumane stigmatization and discrimination within the realm of human sexuality.

9. Networking

  • The formation of new partnerships, including North–South, as well as South–South partnerships; interdenominational cooperation; interfaith interaction; inclusion of both the private and public sector.
  • The overcoming of “denominationalism” (barriers due to doctrine, church polity, and confessional issues) and the joining of hands as together we can do more and better.

10. The Interplay between the Social Media and Culturality

  • The Church to explore avenues of incorporating the media within the notions of advocacy and the communication of appropriate knowledge regarding HIV & AIDS; the link between cultural traditions and the notion of human sexuality.
  • An understanding of the interplay between culture, tradition and globalization.

Conclusion

In light of the above, we, the participants of the 4th PACANet Pre-ICASA conference, commit to contribute to the current UNAIDS slogan and perspective: “zero discrimination; zero new infections; zero HIV & AIDS related deaths”, by adopting the following strategic resolve: “zero incompetent churches at grassroots level”.

For further information please contact: Rev Edward Baralemwa, Executive Secretary, PACANet, ebaralemwa@pacanet.net

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Logy @ SAHARA: The Role of FBOs in the fight against the HIV/AIDS Pandemic 1/12/2011

CABSA Founder Ms Logy Murray represented CABSA partners WorldVision, CABSA and the Dutch Reformed Church in this discussion:

Due to time limits Logy could not present all her thoughts, but we copy the text of the presentation she would have liked to give!

Contribution to the SAHARA Round Table Discussion

The Role of faith-based organisations (FBOs) in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic

I am so glad for the space created at this conference to also focus on the role of faith based organizations - also asking the question:  Are we turning the tide on HIV and AIDS?  I know the topic for this section is “The Role of faith based organizations (FBOs) in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but I would have loved to rephrase this to read: Faith inspired organisations respond to HIV and AIDS! Why the changes?

  • (1)   FBOs – who are they?  Churches, mosques, synagogues, congregations?  Or perhaps people inspired by their faith to respond – forming NGOs?  I believe we talk about all of them!  Actually I am representing the full spectrum!  I am here on representing my own church – the Dutch Reformed Church!  But I also represent two Christian organizations, formed and inspired by Christians:  The Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa, and World Vision International.
  • (2)   Changing from “fighting” to “responding”!  If we continue using “battle” language, we will keep on pushing people living with HIV into the arena of a fight.  I would rather visualize a group of passionate people engaging seriously at all levels with the challenges HIV and AIDS has brought to our lives – inclusive of yours and mine.  I am not fighting something or someone – I am walking alongside, facing hopeful outcomes.

We were asked to respond to a few bullet points – and I will try my best to capture some thoughts that could lead to discussion, but also to celebration.  (perhaps we are sometimes fighting so much that we do not have time to celebrate!) I will sometimes respond from our church perspective, and sometimes from the “NGO/FBO” perspective the that I represent.

·         The faith base of our involvement in HIV/AIDS (prevention, treatment, care, etc)

Firstly: No church can effectively respond to HIV and AIDS if not coming from its roots, the core, the heart of their faith. Who is the church?  It is made up of people like you and me.  Yes, there are formal meetings and declarations and initiatives – but in the end it is how individuals respond from their position and understanding of God – who he/she is – and who we are.  The key values of the Dutch Reformed Church have been moulded during the past 6 years through deep thought and a process of “listening” to God and to one another.  These values guide our response to HIV and AIDS: Compassion, Teachability, Openness and Trust. In addition to this, a culture of “embracing” the value and dignity of every human being is growing.  This goes beyond the formal declaration of intent of the DRCs involvement in HIV and AIDS - published in 1998, which renewed in 2005.  Who we are – our values, encourage and drive our congregations to reach out with love, compassion, to provide trust worthy information and learn as we walk the road with our brothers and sisters who know the pain or know the way forward. We do not only challenging HIV directly, but also the contexts which drive and fuel the pandemic – especially poverty, family relationships, gender imbalances and abuse.  What glows in your heart will flow in your deeds!  We do not preach involvement – our faith base leads us to practical acts of love and compassion.  One of the core programmes we implement is based on 9 guiding principles from the Bible.

We do not preach involvement – our faith base leads us to practical acts of love and compassion.  BUT – unfortunately some faith leaders interpret their sacred texts wrongly, or use it irresponsibly – leading to stigma, discrimination, and yet – sometimes to more infections!  I will come back to these statements later.

·         The extent of our current work in the HIV/AIDS field

The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa:

It is impossible to give you a rundown of the work of the 1,100 congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa – and even more challenging to mention the work of “Faith Inspired” projects managed by the Church focusing on prevention, care, treatment and advocacy. Let me mention a few outreach programmes that focus on some of the most vulnerable groups regarding HIV -
·         Engagement with street children and children vulnerable because of HIV – some orphaned
·         Empowerment of women – to create income, but also to foster healthy family relationships
·         Practical support through distribution of food, and arranging transport to clinics
·         Addressing alcoholism and substance abuse which leads to wrong decisions in sexual behaviour
·         Income generating projects

But let me give you more details of one or two projects inspired by our Christian faith.

(1)   The CLF (Christian Literature Fund):  This organizations produces literature – easy for reading and understanding – especially for people with a low literacy level.  They also distribute such materials developed by other organizations, such as the “Called to Care” series of Strategies for Hope – a set of 10 books which guides congregations towards a Christian Response to HIV and AIDS.

(2)   In 2001 – 10 years ago – it was the Dutch Reformed Church which gave the first seed money to start an organization that is now know worldwide – the Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa! This is no longer a “DRC” project – it has grown to be a NGO/FBO of note! I want to highlight one tool which was developed by CABSA, which is now being used by many churches in South Africa, as well as global organizations such as World Vision International and AIDSlink.

CABSA:

CABSA guides and supports churches/congregations in a holistic an comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS.  It’s four focus areas are:
·         Advocacy and Sensitizing
·         Training and mentoring of Channels of Hope facilitators
·         Knowledge and information sharing  (CARIS)
·         Networking and cooperation

But I want to mention a tool developed but them – a transformation tool!  “Churches, Channels of Hope”!  They train facilitators to guide congregations in a holistic and comprehensive response to HI and AIDS – ant this is being used internationally by organizations such as World Vision, AIDSlink and many churches in South Africa.

World Vision:

World Vision’s HIV work centres around prevention, care and advocacy.  But I want to focus on our use of “Channels of Hope”.  Since 2004 we have trained more than 3,000 Channels of Hope facilitators, who facilitate capacity building events and processes.  In Africa alone more than 46,000 volunteers have been empowered through Channels of Hope to reach out through home visits to orphaned households, to provide home based care and to run prevention initiatives. One of the most evident impacts of Channels of Hope was documented during a three year operations research done in Uganda and Zambia. Through the implementation of Channels of Hope there was a significant reduction in the levels of HIV related stigma in the communities. (Slide on punishment from God).

But this is not the only HIV response of World Vision. We have a strong outreach to orphans and vulnerable children (during the past 10 years in Africa alone we managed to facilitate the formation of 4222 community-led initiatives caring for 1.2 million OVC.

Our latest involvement is “cPMTCT” – “Commnity” PMTCT. Complementing the clinical approach of PMTCT – which includes a strong focus on pongs 1, 2 and 4 – with emphasis on community supporting action e.g. mobilizing faith communities, emphasis on male involvement, support for ARV adherence, continued care for pregnant mothers, strengthened community support for exclusive breastfeeding etc! Together we can turn the tide – and embrace the slogan of this year’s WAD: Zero new infections, Zero discrimination, and Zero AIDS related deaths!

·         The recognition (or lack thereof) of their work in the HIV/AIDS field by governments, non-FBOs, etc

A typical South African cry would be “eich!”… We know that various UN agencies, such as UNAIDS and UNFPA has officially recognized the role of FBOs in a comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS.

I want to make a statement that faith communities remain the single most important partner in the quest for community development.  And this has been recognised also lately but UN agencies:

UNAIDS: Advocating for “structured and ongoing relationships” with faith-based communities “to ensure delivery on commitments to universal access within the context of the AIDS response” – UNAIDS Partnership with Faith-based Communities: UNAIDS Strategic Framework, 2009. www.unaids.org

UNFPA: Advocating for “systematic and deliberate engagement of the like‐minded partners among them (faith communities)”  - UNFPA Guidelines for Engaging Faith Based Organizations as Agents of Change, 2009. www.unfpa.org

But it still feels as though FBOs are marginalized and not recognized fully – especially when it comes to funding for faith-based or faith inspired initiatives. We know that funding for HIV is globally dwindling – which is so sad! – we cannot stop now!  We are turning the tide!  What would it help if all the clinical work is done professionally with wonderful results – but the stigma in our communities still prevent people from being tested – or the medication is not accessible and faith communities are not empowered to form the supporting initiatives.  More than one FBO (or FIO) in South Africa are facing closure!  The one cannot be done without the other!  We want to thank many non-FBOs which have recognized the role of FBOs, but perhaps this should be more prominent in our Southern African society.

·         The aspect(s) of their work and approaches to HIV/AIDS that may be deemed controversial and how they mitigate against negative criticism

I do not think any of our work or approaches to HIV are deemed controversial for non FBO people – BUT some of our approaches are deemed controversial for our own brothers and sisters!  Sadly, for many years people thought that FBOs will only be able to talk about “A” and “B” of the ABC prevention approach.  This is very sad – especially because ABC is such a limited prevention strategy!  As CABSA, World Vision, and many congregations in our church – now embrace the acronym developed by INERELA+ : SAVE!  So, within our own “FBO” constituencies we have been blamed to encourage prostitution and irresponsible sexual behaviour by talking openly about the value of condoms, of circumcision and safe needle supply.

How we mitigate against this?  Well, we are actually only living out our core values!  Compassion, Truth, Openness and Teachability!  In the Channels of Hope programme which I mentioned, we assist faith communities – faith leaders – to grapple with the realities of HIV infection as a health issue, instead of making it a moral issue.  Each church/denomination/individual needs a safe space to openly ask questions of faith while discovering the scientific facts.  I have so many stories of pastors, priests, imams, sheiks that expressed an eagerness to engage in HIV from a new understanding of the realities.

·         The future role of FBOs in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic

I think the future role of FBOs will not be much different from the past, but I want to highlight just 5 important roles:
(1)   Strengthening their advocacy voice to address policies and practice
(2)   Encourage stronger male involvement and appropriate (Biblical) understanding of gender roles
(3)   Open doors to - and provide accessible, comprehensive knowledge
(4)   Continue to break stigma and negative attitudes – while addressing harmful cultural practices
(5)   Be good “stewards” – of the resources – especially with less funding available

Perhaps a bit more emphasis on their role to reach Zero infections by 2015

I want to end with a quote:
“Go to the people.  Live with them.  Learn from them.  Love them.  Start with what they know.  Build with what they love.  With the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, ‘We have done this ourselves!”      Lao Tsu, 700 BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Minie@ Community Implementers Forum. 24/11/2011

1. Keynote address:

1.       Dutch policy in the field of development cooperation – Deputy head of mission Mr Wouter Jurgens Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands

·         They have been active in SA since 1994

·         Dutch involvement in HIV in SA is ending this year and will now focus on poor countries or those in transition in southern Africa, particularly targeting the trucking routes, prostitution and HIV on a regional basis. SA no longer falls within the criteria of countries they support.

2.      2.  State of HIV & AIDS Service delivery in the City of Tshwane municipality 2011 – John Matjila, University of Pretoria

·         Summary of findings – 5th edition of Tshwane report on HIV services



Category


Findings


June 2011


HCT


11.9 mil tested – 79% of target (Zuma call for HCT) 21,000 1st year students tested


ART


1.4 mil on treatment – 150% increase


TB


4.2 mil screened for TB; 65,209 0n treatment – 277% increase


NIM-ART


2000 nurses certified vs 250; 2,205 sites certified vs 490


December 2010


Circumcision


17,000 performed


Condom distribution


403.8 mil male condoms distributed; 4.4 mil female condoms distributed

 3.       Report on HIV services released since 2007



Findings


Service providers in Tshwane


Most are in highly populated areas


Types


NGO’s have been more in number than private, public and PBO’s. NGO’s are the major contributors and still increasing


Staffing in organisations (to see if there will be stability and if it will last


NGO’s (major contributor)


58.8% are fulltime staff; 36.6% are volunteers.


Public & FBO sector also active


 


FBO’s


93% volunteers; 5.3% full time staff

 4.       General summary of findings in the report

·         A number of services have stabilized

·         Condom distribution decreased and stabilized

·         Drug use and violence against women is on the increase and a growing concern. This is country wide as well. Rape, HCBC (Home Community-based Care), Income generating projects are also on the increase

·         HIV advocacy and nutritional support are on the decrease

·         NGO’s are the main contributor in support services as well as in prevention

·         Public sector main contributor in treatment related services

·         IPT, DOTS + Cotrimoxazole providers lower than number of TB screening providers

 5.       Way forward

·         Integrate TB and HIV services due to the relationship between the two

·         Ensure wider access to HCT and ART especially for children

·         Increase number of OVC services + support to NGO’S with OVC programs (there is 43.3% coverage)

·         Increase the ability of sectors to leverage and support each other through TMAC

·         Continue to provide municipal specific information for Monitoring and Evaluation purposes.

 6.       Challenges

·         Drug abuse, women and child abuse. These are serious problems that will hinder efforts being made to curb TB and HIV infections

·         It is also difficult to control HIV infection if Gender Based Violence is on the increase 

 7.       TB and HIV co infection – Alice Mokone, Sediba Hope Pretoria

·         Gave general presentation on the process their organisation uses to screen and assist TB patients as well as tips on good hygiene.

FPD has a Calculator on its site under tools which provides statistics and details of service providers. It also calculates the need for ART etc. A very good site to use which also includes score cards www.foundation.co.za

 

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Aneleh @ Gesamentlike Vigstaakgroep Vergadering, Wes en Suidkaap Sinodes van die NG Kerkfamilie; 27/10/2011

Om te leef as MIV-geaffekteerde gemeentes
Terugvoer van groter Vigstaakgroep vergadering
______________________________________________________________________________
Die Bediening vir Armoede en Sorg se Vigstaakgroep het op 27 Oktober 2011 ‘n groter Vigstaakgroep vergadering by die Marturia Sentrum, Pastoriestraat, Bellville gehou. Alle ringe was genooi om verteenwoordigers na die vergadering te stuur om saam te dink en besin oor die rol van die Vigstaakgroep en die onderwerp van MIV bevoegde gemeentes en kerke.

Die grootste deurbraak van hierdie vergadering was rondom die formulering van die doel van die Vigstaakgroep. Dit het vir ons duidelik geword dat die uitdaging nie ten eerste lê by WAT gemeentes en ringe DOEN met betrekking tot MIV en Vigs nie, maar dat dit noodsaaklik is om te fokus op WIE ons IS en HOE ons as kerk onsself met die kwessie van MIV identifiseer.  Dit is dus nodig om te help vorm aan ‘n kultuur van geaffekteerdheid eerder as nog en nog aktiwiteite.

In hierdie verband is daar ook ‘n paar keer daarna verwys dat die Vigstaakgroep die gewete van die kerk is – en veral die funksie het om die kerk te herinner, bly herinner aan MIV en Vigs en help om ‘n klimaat te skep waarin MIV en Vigs ook ‘n prioriteit is.

Met aanvang van die vergadering het almal teenwoordig ‘n geleentheid gekry om hulself aan die vergadering voor te stel en ook om hulle persepsies oor die taakgroep te deel. Uit hierdie terugvoer was dit duidelik dat ten spyte van die toewyding en entoesiasme van die taakgroep, min werklik kennis dra van die bestaan en of funksie van die taakgroep.

Individue het ook die geleentheid gebruik om hulle frustrasie uit te spreek spesifiek rondom hoe moeilik dit is om toegang tot of betrokkenheid spesifiek vanuit sekere NG kerke te kry. Daar is onder andere gesê dat die NG Kerk MIV nie as HUL probleem sien nie en dus baie ontoeganklik is.

Op die vraag hoekom dit nodig is vir die Kerk om op MIV en Vigs te reageer, is daar as volg reageer
    Dit is vir baie mense die melaatsheid van ons tyd
    Is deel van ons geroepenheid om om te gee
    Is deel van ons gebroke werklikheid
    Dit is deel van mense se nood
    Dit is ons opdrag – nie net tov my eie gemeente en kerk nie, maar wyer
    Gehoorsaamheid aan skrifopdrag
    ONS HET NIE “N KEUSE NIE – word daartoe gedwing (gedring?)
    Kerk het bepaalde invloed as agent vir verandering
    Kerk preek en praat lewe

Hier is dit ook beklemtoon dat die verwagting nie is dat die Kerk alles anders moet los en uitsluitlik op MIV moet fokus nie, maar juis dat ons as Kerk moet besef dat ook MIV belangrik is en ons nie regtig ‘n keuse het of ons op hierdie onderwerp en die pyn en stigma wat daarmee gepaard gaan, wil fokus nie.  Ons het wel nodig om te leer hoe om die kwessie van MIV binne die bestaande bedienings en projekte van ons kerk te integreer, eerder as om dit as nog ‘n addisionele verantwoordelikheid te sien. Sodoende kan die onderwerp al meer genormaliseer word, ook binne eredienste. Dit hang daarmee saam om begrip te ontwikkel rondom wat dit beteken om ‘n MIV bevoegde gemeente te wees.

Vêrder is daar stil gestaan by die vraag wat dit moeilik maak vir kerke om ook op MIV te fokus?
Dit is beklemtoon dat dit hier ten nouste saamhang met wat ons verstaan die “core business” van die kerk is. Die “core business” van die kerk is nie MIV en Vigs nie. Die core business van die kerk is God – en in hoe en watter mate die kerk mense kan begelei en ondersteun om nader aan God en mekaar te groei. 

Die terugvoer was:
    Want ons dink dis ‘n opsie?
    Kerkleiers is toegegooi met verskeie sake – waarvan almal dink hulle saak is die belangrikste en behoort die volle aandag van predikante te geniet.
    Seks is nie sonde nie – maar daar is baie vrae rondom moraliteit – en die seksuele oordrag van MIV maak dit moeilik om eerlik en gemaklik met die onderwerp om te gaan.
    Vooroordele en stigma
    Dat ons onderskeid maak tussen verskillende sondes
    Onkunde oor sonde
    Onkunde oor die realiteite van MIV
    Vrees vir pandemie, vrees vir aansteek, vrees vir stigma
    Kommunikasie been en kanale (dit is moeilik om boodskap by die regte persoon te kry)  Hier bied Jacky Swart aan dat sy ‘n belangrike rol daarin kan speel om die boodskap by die regte persone uit te kry.
    Blootstelling is minder (in wit kerke?)
    Ons leef al minder in ‘community’ (veral wit kerke waar mense al meer in isolasie, baie individuele lewens lei?)
    MIV beklemtoon soveel ander “probleme” en uitdagings (plaas vergrootglas oor vraagstukke soos armoede, posisie van vrou, werkloosheid, uitsigloosheid van jeug, tienerswangerskappe, drank misbruik, dwelms, gesinsgeweld, geslagsrolle ens.)

Dit word beklemtoon dat die Vigstaakgroep nodig het om bg. uitdagings te verstaan en in ag te neem wanneer ons oor ons taak en verantwoordelikheid besin. Om bloot net kritiek uit te spreek, gaan nie verhoudings bevorder of die uitdagings oorkom nie.

Die taakgroep definieer ons doel: Om ‘n kultuur van broosheid binne die kerk te vestig waar gemeentes ‘n veilige tuiste vir almal sal wees.
Hierdie kultuur van broosheid hang ten nouste daarmee saam dat ons as kerk nodig het om nie maar net by MIV betrokke te raak of iets te doen nie, maar ten eerste dat ons as kerk sal leef as ‘n geaffekteer gemeente en ons sodoende ten volle met MIV en Vigs identifiseer.

Kultuur hang saam met bedieningspraktyke en bewustheid, maar die vertrekpunt is om ons met die saak te identifiseer.
Die primêre taak van die taakspan is dus om hierdie kultuur te help vestig dat ons regtig geaffekteer is (leef as geaffekteerdes). Leef in die oortuiging: Ek is geaffekteer. Ons is geaffekteer.

En hier praat ons nie daarvan dat ek geaffekteer is omdat my familielid of kollega MIV positief is en daarom ‘n direkte of indirekte invloed op my het nie. Maar ek leef as geaffekteerde, omdat ek myself vereenselwig met die liggaam van Christus wat MIV positief is en Vigs het (en hiermee sou ons kon byvoeg, gemarginaliseerd is, arm is, uitgebuit word)
Die fokus van hierdie komitee lê egter by MIV en Vigs, maar ons gerigtheid lê nie in isolasie van die ander realiteite waarmee ons as liggaam van Christus leef nie. Ons wil dus ‘n kultuur skep (help skep) van identifiseer met mense in nood en wat verby hulle en ons grense strek

Die Vigstaakgroep sien ons rol as agente om die kultuur te verander en sal in die volgende vergadering ons beplanning doen vir hoe ons hierdie taak in 2012 sal aanpak.

Aktiwiteite wat in verlede al deur taakgroep aangepak is:
    Besoeke aan ringe en sinodes
    Ontwikkel van preekriglyne rondom Wêreld Vigsdag en AIDS Memorial Day
    Ontwikkeling van twee pamflette
    Ontwerp en verspreiding van plakkate vir Wêreld Vigsdag
    Groter Vigstaakgroep byeenkomste
    Toetsing gereël vir VG kerk sinode.

‘n Oorsigtelike gesprek volg wat fokus op MIV bevoegdheid.

Twee bronne (Beacons of Hope deur Dr. Sue Perry van EHAIA en Towards an HIV AND AIDS COMPETENT CHURCH gepubliseer deur CUAHA en Tumaini Universiteit) word onder die aandag van vergadering gebring.
Taakgroep lede het reeds ‘n harde of sagte kopie van Beacons of Hope – en enigiemand kan hierdie boek elektronies aflaai deur CABSA se webtuiste.

Die “Competence barrel” soos aangepas en ontwikkel deur CABSA is ook bekendgestel en verduidelik.

In kort kan ons sê dat MIV bevoegdheid nie maar net daaroor gaan om “iets te doen nie”, maar dat ‘n mens op ‘n verantwoordelike manier met die onderwerp omgaan en regtig omvattend na die onderwerp van MIV en Vigs kyk. Terselfdertyd staan MIV en Vigs nie in isolasie van wie die kerk is en waarmee die kerk reeds besig is nie – en daarom is dit belangrik om MIV te leer sien en integreer in bestaande bedieninge en projekte van die kerk.  In plaas daarvan om MIV uit te lig en uit te sonder, wil ‘n mens dit eerder normaliseer en deel maak van wie en wat die kerk reeds is. En hier gaan dit ten eerste dus om die ingesteldheid van die kerk, of dan die heersende kultuur wat uiteindelik sal bepaal op watter manier (en of ) ‘n kerk by MIV en Vigs betrokke sal raak en as deel van haar realiteit sal herken.

Die Vigstaakgroep se volgende vergadering is geskeduleer vir Donderdag 10 November 2011.  Vir meer besonderhede oor die aktiwiteite van die taakgroep, kontak gerus Ds. William Ficks by williamficks@mweb.co.za of 084 5140 363.

Verslag opgestel deur Aneleh Fourie-Le Roux van CABSA – die Christen Vigsburo vir Suider-Afrika, www.cabsa.org.za
 

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Lyn @Church Dialogue on Human Rights. 11/10/2011

Lyn participated in this exciting dialogue organised by Sonke Gender Justice Network, POWA and the SACC.

The theme was "The Role of Religious Institutions in curbing Sexual Violence".  Lyn's presentation focussed on the role faith communities can play in addressing female sexual health.

One of the reasons for this dialogue was a programme on a South African pay TV channel , where there are apparently many examples of abuse of women particularly.  If you know of any similar examples, please let CABSA know (management@cabsa.org.za). We will coordinate a campaign to try and stop abuse of this kind.

Included below is Lyn's presentation and a report on the dialogues from the SANAC men's sector

 Programme

Opening prayer: Rev. Monwabisi Mcophela

Setting the Scene and Purpose of the dialogue: Rev. Desmond Lesejane

Presentations

•POWA Director: Nhlanhla Mokwena – The psychosocial effects of sexual violence and discrimination.
•NPA: Adv. Vuyokazi Mhlanga- Ketelo – Violence against women and children: The Sexual Offences Act and reporting obligations.
•CABSA: Lyn Van Rooyen – Understanding Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health.
•South Africa Council of Churches: Rev Gift Moerane - Role of the church in combating GBV.

Questions, Plenary discussions and way-forward

Closing prayer 

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Lyn @ “Prospects for The Demographic Dividend in South Africa”. 11-12 July 2011

Lyn was invited to attend the national World Population Day commemoration hosted by by the Department of Social Development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on 11 – 12 July 2011. 

World Population Day (WPD) is an annual event, commemorated on 11 July. The aim is to raise awareness on the importance of population and socio-economic development.  WPD was first highlighted when the world reached five billion in 1987 and in 1999 the world passed the six billion mark.  This year, the world population is projected to reach 7 billion on 31 October.  Current world population projections point to the importance of creating opportunities for young people, who constitute the majority in many African countries, including South Africa.  

The focus of this year’s event was on young people, because when young people can exercise their right to health and education, and have access to descent work, they can contribute significantly to improve the capacities of their countries to escape poverty.

During the seminar, government leaders, researchers and senior officials presented papers that reflect on different aspects of the state of our country’s youth, and prospects for their development. 

On the second day of the seminar, participants engaged in group discussions on how to collaborate in a “youth population strategy”, which will support the government’s objectives on the sexual & reproductive health & rights and health of young people, their employment and education & training.

Key points from the presentations

Youth is now the largest part of the SA population This provides economic & other growth opportunity if key conditions are in place.

Schreiner, UNFPA:

-        Projected Global population 7 billion by end October. Start of advocacy campaign to highlight challenges and opportunities.
-        Essential that young people have opportunities, skills, choices, health-, education-, economic opportunities to utilise the dividend.

Deputy Minister of Social Development Ntuli:

-        Population pressure has particular effect on Africa.
-        Africa has been poor for too long - let us work hard and move on!

Min Soc Dev Bathabile Dlamini: The Minister’s speech is available on the DSD website 

-        The work of academics come from communities & ultimately are for communities.
-        Communities need to understand why population issues and planning are important.
-        SA now has more than 50 million people.
-        Fertility declining. Still pockets of poor access to reproductive health services and information and pockets of high youth pregnancy.
-        40% of South African population are youth. This provides a once off demographic window of opportunity.
-        10% of teenagers experience pregnancy, 30% of SA rape victims are youth, high HIV rates, high risk behaviour, high incidence of drugs, high exposure to violence.
-        Accurate sensus 2011 data essential for planning & targeted response, especially also for youth.

Dr Zacarius, UN:

-        Power of working together through social networks for change.
-        Youth face many challenges
-        Challenges facing youth: teenage pregnancy, youth unemployment, substance abuse, HIV.

Dr Altman, National Planning Commission: Achieving a demographic dividend?

-        The Demographic dividend is the opportunity that exists when there is a large economic population supporting relatively small dependant population.
-        SA has large youth proportion (Youth bulge) but most are economically inactive and thus dependant rather than adding to growth
-        National Planning Commission want youth involved & need ideas: will come as speakers, facebook, twitter, website 
-        Wild cards:
o   Inward migration from region;
o   1/3 women 18-30 HIV+;
o   access to services enabling social mobility;
o   general rate of economic growth
-        Education: Virtually universal enrolment to grade 9, but capabilities not in line with needs of economy or for post school learning.
-        Social mobilisation will be key but the context is one of diminishing social cohesion & alignment. Need leverage points eg mobile technology

Dr Makiwane HSRC - Demographics of Youth.

-        Two extremes - group who leave household early, and group who stays with parents for long time
-        2.9% of teenagers are the head of their household, rises dramatically in age group 20-24.
-        Vast majority of Indigent households (no regular household income) are youth - too old for grant, no job opportunity.

National Youth Development Agency on Youth, jobs & skills.

-        Quoting O R Tambo: "A nation who does not look after its youth has no future & does not deserve one".
-        Need second opportunities to make sure youth leaving school unprepared for job market have further opportunities for development.
-        All these plans will not be able to stop the "slide" if we do not fix our primary education system.
Always entertaining & informative Dr Eddie Mhlanga on sexual & reproductive health needs of adolescents
-        needs not addressed
-        Condoms are not made for young people, poor early experience might discourage safe sex for future.
-        Poor parental guidance;
o   Need to deal with issues: gender identity, physical deviations from norm; affirm & acceptance individuals
-         We need to deal with education issues NOW or we miss the opportunity. 'Real' nutrition also crucial for reproductive health
-         Risks of youth pregnancy:
o   Increase in premature births,
o   Increase in difficult births,
o   Increase in brain damage of babies,
o   Increase in hypertension & other complications of pregnancy,
o   Increase in miscarriage;
o   Lowered education
-        Barriers to SRH:
o   Limited knowledge - medical & social;
o   Social disintegration, attitudes;
o   Poverty - material, mind & spirit

Ms Dululu Hlatshaneni - Pregnancy in schools. Response of department of basic education

-         Multi-sectorial and interdepartmental challenge,
-        especially in primary education, abstinence is the first priority,
-        Learners suggested that longer school hours and more extracurricular activities are necessary to prevent teen pregnancy.
-        Watch out for poor school performance, regular absence from school & history of child abuse as risk factors for teen pregnancy
-         Reintegrate learners into schools after pregnancy or other drop out - second chance and catch up programmes.
-        Need support for pregnant learners, including parenting classes and health care, and for young mothers who return to school.

Makiwane: Is health of youth improving?

-        Increase in alcohol and tobacco use;
-        Sexual initiation under age of 15yrs increasing in female youth.
-        Young females:
o   more cross generational sex;
o   teenage child bearing declining;
o   increased induced abortion;
o   HIV prevalence stabilising
-         Young men:
o   Sexual initiation not delayed,
o   Condom use increasing but not consistent,
o   More young men reporting multiple partners.

Dr Charles Sheppard: Trends in Educational Attainment.

-        99% or appropriate age children are in school at ages Gr1 - 7.
-        Close to gender parity in primary and secondary schooling.
-        In tertiary education females dominate and are doing much better.
-        massive loss of children after grade 9.
-        Dramatic reduction in local and international measures of educational performance.
-        2.5mil people between 18-24 not working and not studying, although many of them qualify for some type of tertiary education.

Potgieter-Gqubule: Social and labour market exclusion and inclusion:

-        Youth are often seen as trouble: IN trouble or SOURCE of trouble.
-        Youth research (Everatt & Orkin) in 1993 on 12 dimensions: 25% fine, 26% marginalised, 44% at risk, 5% lost. Where are we now?
-        Youth Labour Market viewed as distinct sector in labour market. Two thirds of the SA labour force is under 35. High percentage of discouragement in youth unemployed.

Neloufar Khan:

-        Trend towards non-marriage, earlier sexual initiation, more births outside recognised family patterns, change in family patterns
-        We are reproducing a culture of violence in places where children should be safest - home & school.

Oliver Zambuko: Reporting on large study by Dept Population & Development on Factors associated with teenage pregnancy in SA.

-        Teenage pregnancy largely amongst black & coloured learners,
-        more likely with girls performing poorly at school,
-        linked with low self esteem
-        Girls often drop out and then fall pregnant - drop out precedes pregnancy. Keep girls in school!
-        Problem of teenage pregnancy acerbated by:
o   lack of partner support,
o   lack of family support,
o   cross generational sex,
o   poor knowledge of reproductive functions,
o   poor access to care
-        Access to care limited by
o   societal values & norms;
o   judgemental approach of health care,
o   stigma,
o   distance,
o   disruption of service & stocks

A selection of the papers presented are available here

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Lyn, Ashley and Jerry @5th SA AIDS Conference. 7-10/6/2011

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Lyn, Jerry and Ashleigh attended the 5th SA AIDS Conference where CABSA coordinated the interfaith exhibition. This meant a large amount of materials had to be packed and Lyn's car groaned under the weight!!

 

 

The energy started building with drummers at the door, and a amazing community choir

Participants was surprised by a flashmob during the opening ceremony:

 

Lyn took part in a panel on the religious response to the epidemic. You can read the archbishops introduction below.

Lyn also acted as community rapporteur for the Community Implementers’ guide and Tweeted very actively from the conference. You can download her report of highlights of the session she attended.

People communicate in many ways!

Like always it is good to realise that you and your organisation are part of something much bigger.  Jerry is concentrating on a session - together with a few thousand other participants!

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Address of the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba at 5th South African HIV and AIDS Conference

This address was given on 8 June 2011 at the 5th South African HIV and AIDS Conference in Durban.

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Our title for this session is ‘Is the Religious Sector’s Response to the HIV Epidemic Sufficient?’ I shall answer by speaking about the role of faith communities as a necessary and effective partner, not only in tackling HIV and AIDS, but also TB, and across society’s health needs. I will speak as an Anglican, with my colleagues from the Anglican AIDS and Health-care Trust supporting this with practical examples from their work and experience on the ground. Colleagues will offer Catholic, Methodist and Muslim perspectives, from their long experience of working with the poor and most vulnerable. In this way, what may seem a theoretical call from my paper will be ‘earthed’ by the panellists.

Care and compassion towards the sick and the suffering has been the touchstone of most faiths since earliest times. Historically, the emergence of hospitals was strongly influenced by the care provided by Christian Churches, over many centuries. Today close to half of all health services in sub-Saharan Africa are provided by the religious sector.

But this is only part our commitment to holistic human well-being. Christians speak of humanity being created to live in harmony with God, loving him with heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbours as ourselves. In other words, we, like our God, are concerned for emotional, spiritual, mental and physical well-being of both individuals and communities. Therefore our contribution should be as much about promoting good health and disease prevention, as about responding to ill-health and its wider consequences in our communities.

This care and compassion, in practical terms, means an urgent and vocal commitment on our part to intensifying all our efforts that seek to ensure access for all God’s people, especially the poor and vulnerable, to adequate prevention, care, treatment and support. We cannot do this alone; we must continue working in communities, with those most affected, discriminated, with stigma and are silenced.

Community Engagement and Primary Health Care

It is at community level where the religious sector can perhaps make the greatest difference. Our pervasive grass roots presence allows us to work ‘bottom up’, vitally complementing the ‘top down’ approach that is inevitably part of the national and provincial responsibilities of Governments and Health Departments. And we certainly need to make a difference at the grass roots, if we are to make headway in health promotion and disease prevention as well as caring for the sick. We can do so through continuing our education programmes which help to break stigma, silence and death; and give a voice to people living with HIV. Within general health promotion, we give a particular priority to ensuring access to prevention measures, treatment, and a broad range of care and support to mothers, children and all living with HIV and TB. These are chief amongst the health challenges that we are facing at this time.

I am delighted that we share so much of this vision with our current Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Last year he launched what he calls ‘a massive primary healthcare campaign’, which is as much about teaching healthy living as it is about caring for the sick. With Dr Motsoaledi, I was privileged to co-chair a national conference on religion and public health last October, which was sponsored by the National Religious Association for Social Development. Out of this, and our continued involvement with the South African National AIDS Council, we are developing various partnerships between government and faith communities. We hope soon to sign a Memorandum with the Department of Health.

My own church has also worked with other governments, including those of the US, UK and Canada, in running community-based programmes. Through the NRSAD we are also in partnership with the Global Fund.

In all of these, education and capacity building around good practices in disease prevention and treatment is a key objective. For though poverty exacerbates health problems in many ways, one of the most insidious is the lack of basic education. This is the most significant reason
• why HIV still spreads at unacceptable levels
• why TB, entirely treatable, remains so prevalent
• why people don’t stick with their courses of medicine
• why people are so passive, defeatist, in the face of illness, often only going to clinics when they are seriously unwell
• why so many of us follow life-style practices that increase the risk of us developing serious, even life-threatening, conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer – when so many of these are largely unavoidable.

The great saga around toilets in our recent local elections illustrates the vast task that the country faces in providing adequate clean water and sanitation facilities for our population. This is one area – among others, of course – where the religious sector is pressing the government to do better. But good hygiene habits also have a vital role to play in cutting the close to 100 deaths a day of South African children to diarrhoeal diseases.

It is a truism that ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Teaching people how to live well has always been at the heart of religious activity. So we must ensure that we train religious leaders explicitly to promote good health education – directly and through their congregations – within their local communities, as part of this call to abundant life of heart, soul, mind and body. Jesus said his followers were to be like salt in the world – a tiny amount can make the difference between a tasteless meal and something wholly delicious! We must do the same.

Informing Minds, Transforming Behaviour

Such teaching is not just to inform minds – it must also transform behaviour. Studies regularly show that in South Africa we have very high levels of awareness about HIV and TB – but this has been slow to change sexual and social behaviour. In Uganda, the most significant prevention measures came through person to person communication at grass roots level, in which religious networks played a key role. We must mobilise our people to persist in doing the same – and indeed, within the Anglican church we are particularly aiming to do this, for example, through the Siyafundisa (‘Teaching our Children’) Peer Education and Life Skills Education programmes, funded by PEPFAR. Recent studies are finally beginning to show, thank God, a reduction in infection rates among young people.

Of course, it must be admitted that churches and other faith communities have not always played a positive role in relation to education on HIV and AIDS. Let’s face it, the religious sector has found it hard to talk more constructively around issues of sex, which is so often something of a taboo subject. For too long we fuelled stigma, and with it ignorance and denial, all of which contributed to the disease’s spread. But as we learn to speak more openly, honestly, and constructively, about these diseases and the factors around them, so we can help society as a whole to deal with them in this way.

I think, for example, of a man who, after wrestling with his status, admitted openly that he was HIV +ve, even though he was a monk, and supposed to be celibate. By acknowledging publicly that he was ‘only human’, he discovered that he was able to come alongside people, and genuinely engage with them in a way he never could if they had not been able to identify with him in the way they now did. There are many other good news stories of where changing church attitudes have helped change community attitudes. I leave it to my colleagues to give practical examples from their work on the ground.

These examples, will, I hope, demonstrate that making a transition from being part of the problem to being part of the solution has required first of all a commitment to ensuring our faith leaders are well-educated in the facts and appropriate attitudes. We must continue to also tackle patriarchal distortions in our own teachings that too often collude in the abuse of women and children, which is also such a damaging part of community health and well-being.

People on the Ground

The presence of churches and other faiths in every community can help in the battle for good health in other ways. We can support Government by offering places where community-based health officers and nurse-practitioners can provide essential primary care at village level; or hold mobile clinics; or connect patients with mobile phone-based ‘telemedicine’. A consensus is emerging that these are cheap and effective ways of significantly boosting health care.

All these are over and above the care networks and programmes that so many of us already run to support those infected and affected by HIV, AIDS, TB and other illnesses. Let me mention the Anglican Vana Vetu (‘Caring for our Children’) Programme, funded by DFID and PEPFAR, which aims to ensure that orphaned and vulnerable children receive appropriate care and support to grow to their full potential. It provides counselling, education, care and support to communities and also trains people to respond to their needs.

Caring for Souls

But, as I draw to a close, let me say something about the religious sector’s unique and necessary contribution. For we are far, far, more than just another social development organisation that can assist governments in their uphill task of promoting good health. Medicine can treat the body, but physical well-being is intimately linked to spiritual and emotional health.

All of us are mortal – yet death is increasingly one of society’s last taboos. Too often we behave as if it were an unsubstantiated rumour – until, of course, it faces us. Then people need our support, our care, our clear proclamation of the love of God that encompasses both this world and the next. One task of faith communities is to help everyone to live with honesty, and face death without terror or despair – setting people free to make the most of their lives in generous loving relationships with those around them.

An ancient prayer asks God to grant us a ‘good death’. I have to say that where people have dared to face their dying, by putting their hand in the hand of God, trusting him and finding his gift of peace, that they are amongst the most healed people – healed emotionally and spiritually – that I have ever met.

It is not only the sick, the dying, and their nearest and dearest for whom we care, and for whom we pray. We can also provide health professionals with spiritual and emotional support. Sometimes, in their stressed and demanding lives, it can make the world of difference to receive a ‘good listening to’ when they need it; to know they are valued; to know that they too are upheld in our prayers and those of our communities.

This week we mourn the passing of Ma Sisulu – who, among her many gifts and achievements was a dedicated nurse. We need to value nurses as we did when she trained – and resource them to make the difference that she and her generation contributed to our country.

So may God bless our discussions here; and bless us in the lessons we take home and share with our own communities. For most of all, we pray that he will make us communities of blessing to those around – especially those in greatest need. Amen

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Churches Channels Of Hope As Capacity Building Tool In Faith Communities

Lyn's Comment: My presentation was curtailed due to time pressure, and I promised to add it to the website.

Background:

Capacity building programs often include large amounts of information, skills or techniques, but when there is no fundamental change in mindset, attitude and worldview, lasting change seldom follows.

CABSA addresses this challenge through the Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) programme, through which facilitators are trained to present workshops and guide faith communities towards HIV competence.  CCoH simultaneously addresses attitudes, knowledge, and the spiritual response to HIV in a process which (through the work of the Holy Spirit) leads to transformation on the intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual level.

CABSA does not view capacity building as merely building external or technical skills and knowledge of HIV or facilitation. Through the Churches Channels of Hope programme CABSA also builds the skills and provides the opportunity for in dept reflection; openness to be challenged and confronted and the willingness to rethink difficult issues.

We believe that if the heart of the church does not change, intellectual and technical skills alone will not create sufficient impact.  If individuals are not transformed, they will not have the capacity to transform faith communities.

CCoH provides the opportunity for faith leaders (at many different levels) to embark on a journey where they:
-    learn sound, current, scientific HIV information, on a foundation of Scripture and in the Christian context;
-    are challenge to think beyond the obvious and superficial;
-    are empowered with facilitation skills through a highly interactive adult learning process;
-    learn to assist faith communities towards HIV competence;
-    are offered ongoing mentoring and support at the end of the training.

Ideally, individuals in the process should have the support of their organisation and leaders – this ensures that greater capacity is built in the church or organisation, and eventually has a greater impact in society.

However, even in the absence of this support, Churches Channels of Hope is much more than ‘just another capacity building programme”.  It is a challenge to an alternative lifestyle, a lifestyle that leads to the realisation of CABSA’s vision: ‘caring Christian communities ministering reconciliation and hope in a world with HIV.”
 

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Lyn @ Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) HIV Consultation in Chiang Mai 20-22/3/2011

Lyn was privileged to join fifty members and partners of EAA who participated in an EAA HIV Consultation in Chiang Mai, Thailand in March 20-22, 2011. The consultation was hosted by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), in collaboration with the Church of Christ in Thailand AIDS Ministry (CAM).

The consultation was an opportunity for EAA members and partners to meet together face-to-face to share and evaluate experiences and to broaden and deepen their joint work, both in plans for action and in theological reflection and understanding.

EAA described the consultation as follows:

“With 2010 having been the target year for fulfilment of key governmental commitments on HIV and AIDS (specifically concerning universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support), 2011 is seen as a vital year for assessing progress, analyzing and learning from past experiences, and re-focusing advocacy efforts and strategies in order to contribute to a renewed momentum in the global response to HIV, so that unmet targets are not ignored and are ultimately achieved.

This consultation will take place in the mid-term of the current “Live the Promise” Campaign Framework (2009-2012). It is thus timely to take stock of the campaign thus far, to consolidate our efforts and to envision the work that remains to be done.”

CABSA was chosen as one of the four case studies presented at the consultation, and Lyn had the opportunity to share a presentation on “Inviting Channels of Hope Facilitators on a Gender Journey”

Key presentations (including CABSA's!) can be downloaded from the EAA website

Participants had the opportunity to visit local faith based projects. Lyn said: "During my visit to a local Buddhist temple with a long running HIV project, I realised again that people of different faith backgrounds are all motivated by compassion."

Following the consultation, the EAA held a one-day workshop to enhance the participation of faith-based organizations in Global Fund processes.

You can read reports from the EAA and other participants

Live the Promise: HIV and AIDS campaign bulletin no. 2 / 2011

The World YWCA attends EAA Consultation in Thailand

WACC participates in Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance consultation

CCA e-Letter

 

(Photo Credit EAA)

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Lyn @ WACC-AR Seminar on Media, Gender Justice and Peace-building 14 -15 March 2011

After two days of talking and listening, a group of nearly 30 Christian communicators were brought to silence at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The reality of their seminar topic, and the result of failure of the processes they were deliberating on, was shown in stark reality.

This visit came at the end of the World Association of Christian Communication- Africa Region (WACC-AR) Seminar on Media, Gender Justice and Peace-building held at EPR Guesthouse at Kiyovu, Kigali, Rwanda, From 14th to 15th March 2011. WACC is a global network of communicators, journalists and activists committed to using communication media for social change.

For two days the group from all over Africa reflected on the role of the media, and particularly of Christian media, in peace-building and in ensuring gender equity in peace-building processes and reporting thereof.

From the devotions, to the many diverse presentations, participants were made aware of the effects of violence and conflict and the impact of different forms of violence particularly on women.  A short summary of the different presentations will follow below.

The presentation reflecting on the situation in Rwanda and the visit to the Genocide memorial reminded me in a particular way of the situation around HIV.  We heard about rape (particularly rape by men who were known to be HIV positive) as weapon of war, and the role this plays in the spread of HIV in the region. 

There are however more fundamental thoughts that keeps going through my mind.  The atrocities in Rwanda were only possible because one group viewed another group as “other”, “less human”, “unworthy” – is this not also what happens with HIV?  We stigmatise people we view as “other”!  

I also think of the press in South Africa, and the way recent news reports emphasise difference (especially racial difference) – I hear warning signals!  In Rwanda one group could refer to another as “cockroaches” – and then it becomes easy to “step on” someone, to destroy them. I pray that we in South Africa, and people working with HIV everywhere, will be more careful of our language and “othering”!

(Photo's and official communique will follow)

You can read the official communique from the seminar here.

Report from Seminar

Welcome from Rev. Achowah Umenei, WACC-AR President.

Dr. Tharcisse Gatwa, General Secretary of Council of Protestant Churches in Rwanda introduced: Bishop Samuel Kayinamura, Methodist Church of Rwanda who lead the devotion from Ezekiel 45:9.

He emphasised the key focus on violence in this verse, and the effect violence has on the victims and the perpetrators. He associated the violence in the time of Ezekiel with the violence in Africa at this time.

The first response could be passiveness or cowardliness.  He referred to the words of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, who aligns passivity to accomplishes of injustice and violence

The second would be counter violence – some would say this is better than passivity, and that this has something positive, as violence is not accepted. The principles Jesus teaches asks us not to respond to bad with bad - Matt 5:39. Martin Luther King Jr says counter-violence will increase violence, you will kill the one who hates, but you will not kill hatred. Darkness cannot take away darkness, only light can take away darkness.

The call of God is to respond to violence with non-violence, saying no to violence or doing bad things to others.  Ghandi says that this is where the future of the world lies.  Respect is key to non-violence

We need to say no to violence and to counter-violence, this is not submission or degradation of the human, it is to resist the negative and use the power of love, with action of truth, justice and peace.

Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, Council of Protestant Churches Rwanda, in his welcoming remarks emphasised the importance of this particular seminar being held in Rwanda and the importance of gender reporting in the context of violence, conflict and post conflict situations.  He highlighted the importance of media and Christian media as transformative tool and the vast learnings possible from the people of Rwanda

Introductions

Rev Dave Wanless introduced WACC, a global network of communicators, journalists and activists committed to using communication media for social change.

Values

-            People’s humanity
-            Importance of culture
-            Importance of participation through hearing all voices
-            Creating community for social change



Conference Participants

Lyn’s Comments: My notes from the presentations will follow. As usual, I emphasise that this is my notes, and that I might not always represent the speakers accurately.  I apologise if this happens, and will link to the full presentations as soon as this is available (I will add photo's later):

On the global stage: UNSCR 1325 and subsequent UN resolution on women’s involvement in conflict and peace building - Dr. Sarah Macharia (WACC Global)

Dr. Macharia reminded participants of the recent 100th celebration of International Women’s Day, where women worldwide gathered on bridges, to highlight the role women can play in building bridges of peace in times of conflict and to call for greater participation of women. She highlighted linkages between media discourse and local, national and international policies.

She reminded participants of a number of international policies and frameworks that have been enacted and the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) of WACC that took place in 108 countries.

UNSCR 1325 was adopted in 2000 and was a landmark framework on the participation and representation of women in media. This resolution binds UN states to take special steps to prevent violence again women, include them in peacekeeping and peace building forces and processes and entrenches women’s participation in peacekeeping negotiations.

Three key supporting UN resolutions followed after 1325. UNSCR 1820, signed in 2008, recognises conflict related sexual violence as a key global security issue and calls for mechanisms to address this. 

A number of international and regional resolutions and processes support this and national action plans should support these resolutions. Although women have always been involved in local peace processes, only 7% of participants in formal peace building processes are women. Women’s roles are not acknowledged at the formal and media level and are often locked out of formal peace keeping processes, but they still participate as activists.

The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) of WACC has been operating since 1995 and have teams of volunteers evaluating news media reporting across different disciplines in a large number of countries, looking for gender bias and stereotyping in reporting. Last report was published in 2010. Peace is one of the topics covered. As media to a significant way shape reshape and reinforce knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards groups, this programme is very important.

GMMP 2010 Results on peace reporting:

- 56% print, 22% radio, 22% TV – implications for advocacy
- subjects of news: 21% female, 79% male
- stories with women as central focus, 9% globally: 5% in Europe, 3% in Asia and 14% in Africa
- Gender stereotyping (exaggerating) – 30% neutral, 65% reinforces, only 5% challenges
- Highlighting gender inequality – Only 4%! 96% ignore opportunity to address inequality

Dr Macharia recounted an unusual news report from the Standard newspaper in Kenya of a group of local women whose peace efforts transcended local clans, barriers and borders and the way this report was presented. This kind of reporting should be encouraged

Role of civil society

- Become involved!

- Initiate dialogue with newsroom editors, congratulating them on good projects and using the statistics,

- Take part in media monitoring programme,

- Developing critical media reading and listening skills – read between the lines, ask questions about who is left out and why.

 

The impact of conflict on women: Why are women a particularly vulnerable group in situations of conflict? Ms Claudine Kpondzo

Ms Kpondzo started by identifying what we see as conflict, noting that it is normal, inevitable, necessary and can build or destroy relationships. Although we are on the one hand very familiar with conflict, we view it as undesirable, negative and something to be eradicated.  However it can be viewed as the birth pains of a system in need of change and offers the potential to transform and bring about positive growth.

Conflict was defined as a state of human interaction where there is disharmony, or a perceived divergence of interest, needs or goals. There is a perception that interests, need or goals cannot be achieved due to interference from another person or people, conflict is between people and is a state or relationship characterised by disharmony.  There is competition over what is perceived to be limited resources and involves some level of confrontation which may escalate to violence. Unmanaged conflict can eventually escalate into widespread destruction or devastation.

Conflict can however also be positive, as it offers the opportunity for resolving unbalanced power and relations.  It can lead to greater awareness and growth and it is a way of solving problems. Conflict is an immutable force of society – we have the choice to view it positively and work constructively with it, or to view it negatively and avoid it.

Functions of conflict

-            Can build new relationships

-            Help establish identity and independence

-            Helps parties asses each other’s power and work to redistribute power

-            Safety valve mechanism which helps to sustain relationships

-            Creates or modifies rules norms laws and institutions

-            Conflict is NOT violence

Ms Kpondzo invited participants to describe who they understand a “Woman” to be, and went on to highlight some of the results of a study of rural women.  Although the group identified women mainly with positive attributes, the study showed that women view themselves negatively and think that they are not part of society but only there to take care of everyone, to give all without taking anything and that they do not receive respects, care or protection. They view themselves as expendable and replaceable.

Effect and vulnerability of conflict on women

-            Breakdown of communication

-            Terrible impact on families and communities – instead of thinking of welfare and development, people think about how they could harm the other, or solidify thei own position

-            This is even more severe in violent conflict – mobility is endangered and this limits access to basic commodities and services

-            Physical vulnerability

-            Used as war trophies, war arms and to stop procreation

-            Women may not be included in normal development activity and opportunities, and might therefore already be economically and otherwise vulnerable prior to conflict

-            Physically – rape, slavery, abuse, maids and sexual toys to war lords

-            Emotionally –

o   consequences of rape, STI and HIV, undesired children,

o   cannot share her shame

o   pain of seeing husband and children enrolled in war and in danger

o   pain of becoming what you do not want to be

o   pain of loved ones going hungry

o   helplessness

o   feeling of uselessness and powerlessness

o   forced sex work for survival, and subsequent humiliation and rejection if she survives

-            Morally

o   losses moral integrity, respect and being role model

-            Spiritually

o   Seek spiritual homes to get away from the bad past and find forgiveness

o   There is new vulnerability

In media women are portrayed as fleeing from conflict with children on their back or by their side, pictures of women searching basic requirements

Way forward

-            Include women in prevention, management and transformation of conflict

-            Dissemination of resolutions and policy documents so that women are aware of their rights

-            Women should be educated to know that they should benefit from their work and build capacity in every domain

-            All of us should learn that there are alternative ways to solve problems and reach agreement than violence and should make sure that we teach this to children.

 

Involving women in peace building: Lessons from DRC. Mr. Descartes Mukukya (FEPADE)

Mr. Mukukya spoke of the work of FEPADE (federation of women for peace and development) in the remote areas of South Kivu in the DRC.

He gave a short history of conflict in DRC. At present more than 70% of the population in DRC is female!  Although men are the ones who went to fight, it had severe effects on women in the country and women were very poorly represented in peace building processes and peace building conferences. Few expert positions were taken by women. It became clear that it would be impossible to have an inclusive and lasting peace process without meaningful involvement of women, but it was not clear how to do this or implement UNSCR 1325. This was complicated by the large number of tribes and the historic political and other inequalities between tribes.  Intermarriages between tribes created a situation that traditional ‘opponents’ were now family. The women have an important role to play to ensure that thie traditional conflicts don’t blow up.

It is necessary that women become aware of the role they can play, but this is difficult when large percentages of these women are illiterate.

Organisations such as FEPADE become strong advocacy organisations to ensure that there is greater involvement of women. Education of girls is the important first step to ensure empowerment, economically and in other ways, of women so that they can play their appropriate role in dealing with conflict and political issues

In post conflict situation there is no situation that can be seen as ‘apolitical’. If we are talking about peace and reconciliation, all parts of society should be involved. Women should be organised and capacitated to play their full role. Development necessitates working together as men and women in order to address social, political economic and cultural issues.

Reporting on violence against women and girls in conflict situations

Ms Flora Kayitesi represented ARFEM, the Rwanda Women Journalist Association, an organisation highlighting women’s issues in the media and encouraging young girls to enter the profession. They use the slogan “there is nothing to fear” (during the genocide the media played a role in inciting violence – causing fear and distrust against the media and against entering the profession).

ARFEM is member of a partnership of women’s journalist organisations, which meets annually in South Kivu and has the opportunity to meet with victims of sexual violence – women who have been humiliated and stripped of their dignity. These journalists go back to their areas after this visit and develop a series of documentaries highlighting the issues in the correct gender sensitive way.  This is part of a campaign to end violence against women, especially sexual violence in conflict areas such as the DRC, where she reported that nearly 500 women are raped every hour as a weapon of war.

ARFEM is also working in partnership with Radio Maedeleo to work for access to ARV for women who were infected through rape in DRC:

-        Preparing series of documentaries calling for access to ARVs which will be aired on main radio station in Rwanda. (Radio is the most accessible medium)

-        Accessing victims is not easy as they are often in rural areas, where there is a problem with transport

-         Media houses not interested in sexual violence

-          Language barriers exist

-          Few journalists interested in travelling to DRC

-            There are poor feedback systems to determine how effective the process is.

Women journalists should be sensitised as only they can really reach out to highlight the plight of these women.

Day 2 Tuesday 14th March 2010

Devotions were led by Rev Dave Wanless, WACC treasurer from Jos 5:9. He reminded us that in Lent we are reminded that God’s grace is enough for us.  Going towards the feast of Passover and Easter Sunday, through the period of lent and the pain of the Passion, we are reminded of the ‘enoughness’ of God!

Engendered peace building  Ms Sandra Tumwesigye (ISIS)

Ms Tumwesigye spoke about the peace process in Uganda after 20 years of war.

-            There were many attempts to reconcile – a woman was key in many of the processes

-            There was distrust and interference from other countries, including neighbouring countries

-            Progress led to government and the Lord’s Resistance Army signing a ‘Cessation of Hostilities’ agreement.

-            However, the Final Peace Agreement was not signed and the process came to an halt

In the follow up process there was an attempt at “Engaging to ‘engender’”

-         Women activist challenged the definition of peace – and questioned if the end of fighting mean sustainable peace

-         They asked where women and gender experts where in the process

-         They were concerned at the lack of focus on women’s needs and interests

The Women’s Priorities identified included:

-         Security for Internally Displaced Women upon their return.

-         Right to own and access land

-         Support for reintegration and rehabilitation of former combatants, abductees, new families, children born and orphaned in captivity

            -         Women’s marginalisation and economic exclusion

Subsequent Efforts and Achievements

-            Capitilized on visit of UNIFEM Chief of Africa

-            Formation of Uganda Women’s peace coalition

-            Peace march, peace torch

-            Lobbying

-            Specific consultation and meetings with women’ leaders gathered women’s views on justice accountability and peace in order to influence the negotiations – video documentary – peace at all costs

-         Women Peace coalition provide background information to parties to talks, drafted their own position on issues

-         Collaborated with other organisations including Amani Forum

-         Countrywide mobilization to build solidarity with women; Peace Caravan, signature campaign, media coverage

-         Peace Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) was conceived with the overall goal of peace and consolidation

-         Problem – no gender analysis, women not included, No attention to women’s need and priorities – eg GBV, sexual and reproductive health, psychological health, land and property rights, access to justice, girl education, women’s economic empowerment

-         Women’s Task force for a Gender Responsive PRDP created

o   Needs assessment

o   Participation in PRDP governance structures

o   WTF invites to apply for govt special fund for peace building

o   Awareness raising

o   Capacity building and advocacy – gender sensitive indicators and recommendation for result matrix, implementation guidelines and communication guideline

o   Finally it remains important to acknowledge the degree to which gender inequality increases the likelihood of conflict and addressing women’s post conflict needs ensures sustainable peace, recovery and development

 

Churches involvement in conflict resolution Dr. Tharcisse Gatwa (CPR)

Dr Gatwa highlighted that ‘every square meter of this country felt the blood of a human being’ and that the church failed in its role prior to, during and after the genocide.

He highlighted Partnership/Hospitality as a theological model in church mediation This was based on the churches’ mandate to act as agents of reconciliation, justice and mercy; and the New Testament  perspective of peace which includes:

-            Breaking barriers and divisions of nations, cultures, races and classes

-            Unmasking dominance, reducing it to responsible action (call from Paul to bring master in partnership with his former slave)

-            Engaging in conflict resolution is entering into a process of overcoming an exclusive “wall mentality” and building community.

-            These processes are slow and need careful preparation and relationship building

According to Dr Gatwa, the Rwandan conflict was ‘shaped into ethnic ideology’.  The process owes to the many historical, cultural, colonial, political and missionary narratives. This “marrying” of different versions of history with myths, facts and reality would legitimise, reinvent and magnify the past in the passion to monopolise power, thus setting up a justification of power and difference. Suffering and emotional resentment of past generations were constantly renewed. One group would celebrate their identity, in their own boundaries, rarely taking into account the frustrations, the injustices, the marginalization and the harm experienced by the other group.

He explained that racial identity in Rwanda was a “colonial ascription” and that colonial power elaborated and offered ideological tools to formalise and enforce these differences.  The factors of integration were eliminated, differences were accentuated and this was elevated to racial status.

In Rwanda a “bad” media campaign (fuelled by government) promoted an ideology of hatred and stereotypes based on the theory of difference, denomination and oppression of one group over the other– greater polarisation

Dr Gatwa regretted that the role of churches in the mediation process was “Too little, too late”!

Gender Based Violence in post conflict situations such as Rwanda. Ms Zaina Nyiramatama, (HAGURUKA)

Ms Nyiramatama identified Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s and men’s ability to enjoy rights and freedom on basis of gender equality, but emphasised that this is more often directed at women.  It includes acts that inflict mental, economical, physical, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivation of liberty and human rights.

The consequences to women include lack of self esteem, illness such as HIV, psychological disorders, hopelessness, isolation and lack of initiative for self development and national development. It is important to remember the gender based violence is a power issue, and is most common in domestic situations.

Some of the good practices in Rwanda include:

-            GBV committees sensitising the general population,

-            Government, security forces, CSO,  churches encourage denunciation of perpetrators of violence,

-            Schools provide daily updates on GBV,

-            Women economic empowerment

-            Community policing and awareness

-            IMPURUZA (SOS) strategy

-            Praise and rewarding people who denounce GBV

-            Media involvement

-            Free hot lines

-            Isange (welcome) Centre

Recommendations

-            Involve all

-            Increase awareness of parents and teachers

-            Children should know rights and how to take protective measures agains violence

-            Avoid youth being idle

-            Women should change their attitude of life dependence on men

-            Effective enforcement of law and protective rights

After the last discussion session, the group visited one of the many genocide memorial centres providing a stark reminder of how a community and country can ‘fracture’ and loose all humanity.  It was particularly important for this group of communicators to focus on the role that communication played in creating the situation that fuelled the horror

The seminar was closed by greeting from WACC General Secretary Rev. Karin Achtelstetter, Dr Achowah Umenei, WACC-AR President and Dr. Tharcisse Gatwa, General Secretary of Council of Protestant Churches in Rwand.

 

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Minnie @ Public Lecture - More Peace, Less AIDS at UNISA 17/03/2011

(Minenhle Moyo is CABSA’s regional representative in Gauteng)

Here is a brief report on this seminar I attended last Thursday. Other CABSA facilitators who attended were: Elzaan De Villiers, Tumani Santungwana, Sophie Motsiri and Samuel Ditsele. 

The keynote address was given by Ms Patricia Perez (Argentinean Social Justice Activist and Nobel Prize Nominee). The general sense of her presentation was on campaigning for peace in this time of HIV and AIDS in the world, peace comes when we fight Domestic Violence and Abuse.

What was of note to me was also the points raised by other speakers at this event -

Dr Kgosi TKS Letlape: He says Transactional sex is one of our biggest problems today. It happens everywhere, even in churches by the leaders. This has brought about what is known as 'Skirt Upliftment' in these places, including workplaces etc - women get promoted when they lift their skirts for whomever in that place.

Some churches bring spirituality to HIV and AIDS - they call it a demon and they stop people on ART, saying they have been healed. Why don't they treat diabetes and other sicknesses the same and tell people to stop taking their medication.

Then Ms Chriselda Kananda (Managing Director of Positive Talk Services) shared her personal story, which brought in many of the challenges that still exist today, with culture and its demands on woman whose husbands have died to be inherited. She could afford to walk away and not choose the men, but many women do not have that option still in many places. She challenged the audience, in particular women, to contribute to peace in this time by teaching their boy children to love and care for women; promote fidelity and not snatch another woman's husband. She also advocated for more treatment options for women that are simplified and accessible.

I basically enjoyed the sessions but realised we still going round the same things that have been raised already in the HIV and AIDS as well as health arena. I am left longing for more and one man raised the issue of finding African solutions that work for us, one way being to engage communities and having them come up with their own strategies of dealing with infidelity, curbing the spread of HIV and cultural factors that contribute to its spread. I once worked with an Organisation – SAFAIDS -  that did this and had success stories as the community came up with responses that did not put humans in danger in terms of their health etc eg a popular one - appeasing spirits through giving up a girl child to the family that has been wronged. One community in Zimbabwe then said instead of appeasing with a girl the ancestors would accept cows instead. Long story, but that helped in changing perspectives and responses in this time of HIV

 Lyn's Comment: Minnie raises a very important point here!  This aligns closely to CABSA's shift towords HIV competence adn the work of "Community Life Competence", and organisation previously known as "AIDS Competence".  According to this model a community has the competence to solve its own problems - we need to unock this potential in order for organisations to find solutions that work for them!  You can learn more from http://www.communitylifecompetence.org

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CABSA was at ... 2010

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Lyn@ Community Implementers Forum at the Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg on 24/11/2010

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Implementers Guide 2010.pdf1.83 MB

The FPD and the Compass Project launched the Community Implementers’ Guide to TB and HIV Research at a series of events.  This guide was developed with funding from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the AIDS Foundation of South Africa.CABSA is one of the group of partner organisations of COMPASS, which also includes Soul City, The AIDS Consortium, LifeLine and NACOSA. Download resource below.

As usual, my brief notes from the event is limited by my typing speed, and I apologise to the very interesting and competent presenters if I do not give accurate reflection of their thoughts.  I repeat some of the points I heard. The presentations are available here. and a news report on the meeting here.

The day was introduced by Janine Mitchell from Compass. I later asked Janine why this was an important process for their organisation: (This was my first attempt at a mini video interview!  Thanks Janine for being my "guinea pig" Next time I will eliminate some of the mistakes!)


The aim of the community implementers’ knowledge management process is to ensure that the knowledge from conferences and academic events reaches the community level and makes an impact. 

Janine highlighted the relevant dates for the SA AIDS Conference in 2011 and encouraged the involvement of the NGO community.

The first speaker of the day was Prof Geoff Setswe, Head of the School of Health Sciences, Monash University, South Africa.  As always, he managed to convey the complexities of some of the international research in a clear and concise way.

What is Research? Social and Behavioural Interventions to Prevent HIV/AIDS,

Prof Setswe started with a explanation of What is seen as research evidence?

-          Evidence refers to Facts or Testimony in support of a conclusion statement or belief
-          Proof that something works
-          Law uses witness and other evidence
-          Epidemiology uses randomised controlled trials

Strategies for obtaining research evidence:

-          Systematic review or meta-analysis
o   uses a collection of randomised controlled trials
-          Experimental designs
o   Randomised controlled trials (gold standard)
o   Cohort studies
o   Case control studies
-          Quasi-experimental designs
o   Pre and post test intervention designs
-          Survey designs
o   Cross sectional surveys
o   Case studies
-          Qualitative research
o   Key informant interviews and focus group discussions
o   Participant observation

Prof Setswe emphasised that not all research is viewed equally. In order to show that Certain approaches are classified more highly, he provided the following “pyramid” indicating which types of research is regarded as more credible

H e also proposed the following levels to evaluate the value of research evidence:

Proposed levels of research evidence:

  • 80+% - Best evidence
  • 60-79% - Good
  • 30-59% Promising evidence
  • Less than 30% - Poor or No evidence

Biomedical HIV prevention

Best evidence
– male condom - 80-95%
- female condoms - 94-97%
- PMTCT - 92-98%
Good evidence           
- HAART - 60-80%
- Male Circumcision - 65%
Promising Evidence
-HPTN 035 (PRO 2000) - 30%
- STI Treatment – 40% (in one study)
- RV 144 Thai Vaccine trail -31%
Poor or No Evidence
- HIV vaccine trial network
- early generation microbicides
Randomised Control trials which so far has shown no efficacy
- Behaviour change
- Diaphragm

Behavioural HIV Prevention Interventions

  1. Condom use-
    1. Male Condoms -UNAIDS,  90% effective if consistently and correctly                                                             
      1. Safe and relatively effective for family planning
      2.   Condom use self report in SA increasing significantly in all age groups, with young people 15-24 particularly encouraging (85% M, 73% F) report condom use at last sexual intercourse.
      3. However, in younger adults, MCP also increased.
  1. Abstinence only and ABC interventions
    1. Abstinence only programmes
                                                              i.      Cochrane Meta review of 13 RCT of abstinence only programmes show no reductions or exacerbation of HIV in American youth
    1. No randomised studies of ABC programmes.  Anecdotal reports or reports of isolated small programmes show some success
                                                              i.      “ABC infantilizes prevention, oversimplifying what should be an ongoing strategic approach to reducing incidence” Collins et al AIDS 2008
    1. Behavioural interventions that were successful in increasing knowledge did note necessary change behaviour for young people:
                                                              i.      In school education programmes
                                                            ii.      Mass media
                                                          iii.      Community
                                                          iv.      Workplace
                                                            v.      Health Facility
  1. Voluntary counselling and testing
    1. Changes behaviour for those who are positive, but not for those who test negative
  2. MCP
    1. SADEC think-tank: MCP with low consistent condom use in the context of low male circum
    2. As yet not agreement that there is Cross sectional studies, no RCT or observational studies conclusive evidence that MCP are key drivers of the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa
  3. Structural social HIV prevention intervention
    1. Stepping Stones
                                                              i.       failed to lower HIV-1
                                                            ii.      had variable effect on changing risk behaviour
                                                          iii.      less intimate partner violence
                                                          iv.      problem drinking
                                                            v.      men reported less transactional sex
                                                          vi.      Women reported MORE transactional sex!!
    1. IMAGE Study – Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity
                                                              i.      Intimate partner violence decreased by 55%
                                                            ii.      No reduction in unprotected sex or HIV

Summary

Good evidence

-          Condoms
-          HCT for HIV Pos individuals

Promising evidence

-          Stepping Stones and IMAGE on drivers of HIV

Poor evidence

-          Abstinence only
-          HCT on negative
-          Stepping Stones and IMAGE on HIV
-          Concurrency

However, this does not mean that we should stop these interventions:“Behavioural HIV Prevention works!” Dr Helene Gayle

There should not be a fight between behavioural and biomedical prevention interventions – behavioural interventions need to be targeted!

Lyn’s Comment: I think as community implementers we should seriously consider the way we operate and the implication this has on the amount of research available.  Many of what is anecdotally described as good or successful programmes are not documented accurately and the necessary pre and post implementation evaluation is not done.

Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, TB Technical Advisor, Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (RHRU), spoke about Integration of TB and HIV,

TB is the top killer of young people in South Africa!

If we understand the way in which the HIV and TB epidemics are intertwined and the drivers of the epidemics, we can create appropriate interventions.

The dilemma with TB is that it can for significant periods be latent and asymptomatic. When we have weakening immune systems, such as with HIV, it can lead to activation of the latent disease, and to the disease becoming infectious.

There are high levels of undiagnosed TB in communities with high HIV prevalence. In a study by Robin Wood et al individuals with TB were typically undiagnosed and infected for a period of more than a year.

More than 80% of South Africans in the study had latent asymptomatic TB infection!

Risk of activation of latent TB:
-          HIV+ 5-10% per year
-          HIV- persons – 10% per lifetime
The drivers of the TB epidemic in the community are Smear positive cases + HIV infection. If we want to address this, we need to:
-          Find, diagnose and treat HIV
-          Find, diagnose and treat TB!
By looking only at smear test, we miss more than half of all TB cases!
By not treating HIV in patient with TB and HIV, we fail!
We need integrated services – the right service, at the right time, to all clients, every time – to ensure we break the HIV/TB cycle
The Roadmap of TB/HIV Care is a useful tool to ensure this happens
-          Treatment should include INH prophylaxis if appropriate
It is critical that TB infection control is practiced in all clinical settings by managing suspended bacilli  in the air. These Bacilli (or TB germs) are extremely small and light and stay suspended for long periods (they float in the air).  Preventing infection
o   Administrative control
§  Manage cough (teach people to cough safely/cough hygiene)
§  Treat patients who are coughing quickly
§  Investigate symptomatic patients for TB
o   Environmental Control
§  Fresh air
§  Ventilation
§  Outside waiting areas
§  Air circulation
§  UV lights
§  PPE and Risk reduction – reduce risk of health workers inhaling
§  Filter
§  Know HIV status
o   Create enabling environment

Don’t wait! We need Integrated HIV/TB services now!

To end a very interesting morning, Dr Janet Frohlich of CAPRISA highlighted a few key points on “Combination HIV Prevention –Need for a paradigm shift in Community Involvement.”

Key issues:

-          Know you epidemic
-          Focussed intervention on specific target population
-          Scale up prevention
-          We need synergy between science and activism
-          Treatment scale up is critical
-          We need a more balanced portfolio of prevention interventions
Change paradigm of HIV prevention science
-          Move from individual to structural interventions
-          We need to move from advisory committees to true ethics of partnership

There is a shift to greater and truer participatory methods and acknowledgement of community significance

Key to research success is that it should be shaped and informed by critical community input.

Social mobilisation through community partnerships is critical to their support

-          Household level mobilisation
-          Address fear of stigma and discrimination

The ethics of community consultation should be considered in the planning, implementation and dissemination of research.

-          Enhanced protection
-          Enhanced benefits
-          Legitimacy
-          Shared responsibility

Acknowledge communities as change agents and advocates in combined prevention strategies!

Gerard Payne from the AIDS Consortium facilitated the Dialogue session. Some of the points raised included:

-          Test and treat as prevention? Affordability, Health system constraints
-          HIV competent communities
-          Is the role of migrant communities accurately reflected
-          Are statistics reliable?
-          We need to ensure that we understand each community’s needs
-          Address household level of understanding through comprehensive programmes starting with social needs and education
-          Can we use street councils to address community needs?
-          How do we use community care workers?
-          Address stigma!! Expand testing

Much to soon the interesting morning was over.  Well done, Compass!

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Lyn @ 1st OVC in Africa Conference, Sandton Convention Centre 31 Oct- 3 Nov 2010.

I attended this inaugural conference from Sunday 31 October tol Wednesday. 3 November.  My daily eports are posted below. Please remember that I am limited by my typing speed and the fact that I am not able to attend al the session at a time!  I also realise that we 'hear' different things, depending on our paradigm and perspective.  So I apologise to the speakers if I did not manage to reflect their thoughts accurately! Some of the presentations are available on the conference website.

Day 4 Wednesday 3 November

Plenary

Ms Moipone Buda-Ramatlo said she was ‘given’ the topic: Food Insecurity – food vouchers or food parcels. Where are we in this debate?

The speaker questioned the value of this debate and the danger of fragmenting the OVC issue, with the risk of diluting service delivery. She reminded us thatOVC issues are not homogenous, but complex. The desired outcomes of any program are well-resourced children in stable environments. It is critical to note that there is no linear way in which to achieve this.

The key focus should be asset based; strengthening the family, ensuring sustainability, ensuring family income security; be reliable and sustainable, should allow for family self determination.

She warned agains the use of grants, which can disrupt community patterns, and problem solving approaches: Problems occur when children become the government’s children, rather than the community’s children.

Ms Anita Sampson spoke on the PEPfAR support on Orphans & vulnerable children programme in South Africa. She again emphasised the importance of strengthening the family and community and prolonging the life of parents. The PEPfAR program is moving from an emergency response to sustainability with strong focus on country ownership and leadership. Funding will increasingly be channelled to and through government.

Ms Mary Crewe’s presentation had the challenging title “It is Wrong.” I whish I could give a more comprehensive report of this challenging session! She highlighted some suggestions for strengthening the response to young people. Ms Crew presented case studies highlighting some of the emotional challenges of young people who face multiple challenges, even when they have the financial and social support required. She speaks of emotional hollowness or emptiness and wonders how much more severe the emotional effects would be on children in more challenging environments.

She warned that a lot of what we say about orphans make us feel good, but does not make any real difference.

We cannot deal with the complex issues of orphanhood using the constructs of our present thinking. We need a new definition of family, community and identity.

New thoughts required:
-          How we think about young people
o   The term vulnerable places youth opposite society, at the mercy of others.
o   This sets the bar to low – at the bottom level of the Maslow scale
o   Rather think of the Valuable Young People or valuable children– assets for the future
-          Think differently about coping
o   Coping is dealing successfully with adversity
o   Coherent
o   To describe as ‘coping’ families stuck in a chronic form of desperation is not coping.
o   Coping accepts things as they are.
o   People do not want to cope – they want to live.
-          We need to address the social arrangements that accepts the experience of alienation and deprivation of children – orphaned or not.
-          We need to accept new patterns of kinship and belonging.
-          What we do, what we advocate and what we support should firstly consider the wellbeing of the child
Ms Crewe ended her challenging presentation with some thought provoking questions:
Is it always
o   Best to be in an overburdened and extended family situation?
o   negative to have children in community or institutionalised settings?
o   good to develop policies based on culture, past practice or history?

Final Plenary and Rapporteur Session

The rapporteur reports will be on the conference website soon. I will identify the highlights from each track.

Track 1: Treatment, Care and Support – Shanaaz Kaperia Randeria

Our main focus should be on the eed to capacitate and build family and community.

Approaches, highlights and suggestions from sessions
-          Referral and/or support desk services based in community
-          Use of narrative therapy
-          Importance of palliative care
-          Potential of small organisation to have large impact
-          Address faulty messages and perception of educators dealing with special needs children
-          Child rights and child participation should be central in programmes for children
-          Care spectrum
o   Who are caregivers – female, older black
o   Integrating children in extended families is one approach but there can be barriers
-          Accurate data collection, management and auditing is essential for programme improvement.
-          ART is a key factor in PMTCT, and although it is part of the SA Govt programme, it is still not implemented everywhere.
-          Kinship systems, family systems but also non family kinship can play a positive role in caring for orphaned children.
-          Early assessment of brain effects of HIV in babies and children is essential.
-          Some form of cognitive delay is often found in HIV+ as well as HIV exposed children.
-          There are strong links between mental health of carer and that of the child being cared for.
-          Food security and nutrition needs more attention and children can and should be included in ensuring food security (food gardens).
-          Disclosure is an ongoing process and the caregiver should play an active role.

Track 2 – Roundtable Report: Sherri Le Mottee

Round table sessions covered:
-          Lessons of management support
-          Educational support in addressing the needs of OVC
-          Psychosocial support
-          The best interest of the child and young adult.
Thematic Issues
-          Research base –
o   exciting that the practice is informed by sound research
o   some of the issues need much deeper questions and analysis
§ eg issues of undisclosed paternity
-          Integrated models of practice
o   Rights based models
o   Challenges if the abnormal becomes normal – eyes wide shut
o   Children ARE Vulnerable
o   Recognise the spiritual needs!
-          Multi-sectorial response and partnerships
o   Early childhood development crucial
-          Beneficiary and community ownership is crucial
o   Asset based
o   Building community base
o   Whose agendas are we serving – donors/
-          Action orientation
o   Capacity building
o   Language or discourse can be a barrier
o   Materials – impact of information sharing
o   Creative tools – games etc
-          Conclusion
o   Support is multifaceted and multi-dimensional and therefore complex and interwoven!
o   Partnership and cooperation essential
o   Find common language – what is the impact of OVC and the message we convey through this term

Track 3 – Disaster and Risk Management - Noki and Scott

Institutional partnerships
-          Problem bigger than traditional resources
-          Para Social work programmes
o   Institutional relationship
o   Appropriate and certified training
o   Connections with government crucial
o   Need to be community specific
-          Overcoming institutional obstacles
o   Increase data accuracy
o   Twinning
o   Curriculum based training
o   Para social workers
o   Creative training, manual based learning for children
-          Building resilient institutions
o   Maximise resources within reach
o   Mobilize community assets
o   Community ownership and support
o   Passion
o   Know your strength
-          Intervention programmes
o   Multilevel programmes
o   Linked to needs of beneficiaries
o   Combine programmes addressing different aspects
-          Data and knowledge management improvements necessary and beneficial
-          Flexibility crucial
-          Building into the future of children – again asset based work is essential
-          Wellbeing and resilience –
o   large burden on children and caregivers
o   Real factors determining well being of care givers: respect, support and supervision of caregivers more important than stipends and financial factors.
o   Address resilience of children and caregivers together
o   Self care of care givers crucial
o   Address children “where they are”, in their language
-          Services should be provided in the context of a fully functional Child Act
-          Gaps between policy and application to be addressed – such as through legal resource centre
-          OVC care by grandmothers
o   Re-parenting is hard
o   Understand what children are going through
o   From adversity can come creativity and resilience
§ Income generation
§ Food security
§ Vital in paediatric ARV roll out
o   Our limited resources can go and need to go even further
§ Grannies Clubs, support groups etc
o   Maximise the wonderful work done by grandmothers, but do not let the rest of the family ‘off the hook’

Closing Plenary Address – Dr Siobhan Crowley

Dr Crowley highlighted a number of crosscutting themes. She also highlighted a certain areas - in line with the conference theme “Don’t Turn a Blind Eye” - where we need to sharpen our vision:
-          The value of children and young children
-          Make sure everyone on all levels realises our lack of progress on the MDG
-          Capitalise on protecting and nurturing our assets
-          Reframe out thoughts about expected outcomes – children coping is not enough!
She closed the conference by thanking organisers, speakers, donors, participants etc
This conference leaves me with much food for thought, and a determination to provide even more resources to help the church to play its role in responding to the needs of children.



Day 3, Tuesday 2 November.

Plenary Session

In this session, chaired by Dr Tammy Myers, we first listened to the sobering presentation of Prof Brian Eley on the challenges of “Reducing Child Mortality (MDG4)”.

Ms Lynette Mudekunye spoke about “Children Crossing Borders”. Ms Mudekunye mentioned the different types of children crossing borders: The relatively ‘normal’ situation of children crossing with parents or caregivers, children crossing on their own or with group of other children; ‘oscillatory migrants’ that move back and forth between countries and children being trafficked. Sometimes we consider all these children as ‘victims’. But we should remember that children often make a informed choice based on their circumstances and expectations. It is strange to think that a child could be desperate enough to make a conscious choice to leave behind all that is familiar and travel, in many cases for hundreds of kilometers, to another country where they dream of a better future. “These children have purpose, have agency, have hope and have dreams.”

It is clear that the issue of children crossing borders is complex. Ms Mudekunye shared many touching stories of the realities of these children.

Suggestions for addressing the issue:
-          Regional perspective and solutions,
-          Access to documentation for all children,
-          Strengthening child protection and making information about services available,
-          Recognise the agency of these children and support them. Help children in the countries from which they come or help them to go back.

Mr Zane Dangor (?) conveyed a message from the new Minister of Social Development, Ms Dlamini as well as previous minister Ms Molewa.

He emphasised that the protection of children is a key responsibility of the department of social development. This is closely embedded in the rights of the child according to the constitution.

We have good policies to improve maternal and child health – all the good work was countered by the failure to properly address the HIV epidemic.

Session 2 today focussed on Carers and Caregivers

Kerry Steele reported on “Who are the Carers? Using surveys to identify adults caring for vulnerable children”. She again emphasised that the primary burden of care for OVCs lies in the community.

Their study was based on a question in the SA Behaviour and Communication Survey in 2009: “In the past year have you personally cared for a child whose parents died of AIDS?”

If the results are generalised – 2.8 mil people cared for an orphaned child in past year.

The results were compared with burden of disease and regions, and indicated an unequal distribution of care givers in proportion to children requiring care.

Who are the carers?
-          Large differences in provinces
-          More females than males,
-          Predominantly older women
-          Carers typically have a higher level of knowledge about HIV and TB than the general population;
-          Higher levels of testing
-          Highly exposed to communication channels, especially radio and TV
-          About 9% of carers are not reached by mass media

This method of assessing the situation around carers can be very effective, as can mass media. However, methods of communication with the minority should be kept in mind.

Bev Killian highlighted “Community Caregiver Perspectives on their work and challenges”. Once again she mentioned that the extended family bears the brunt of the epidemic in terms of child care.

In KZN alone there are 10 000 community care givers working with children affected by HIV and AIDS - 2.3 mil in Africa

The ‘edge’ these carers have
-          know community
-          Already accepted and trusted
-          Available 24/7 (also problem!)
-          Eager to help out of good will, cultural values, religious beliefs and a sense of empathy and support.
Concerns
-          Funding agenda drives interventions
-          Timeframe dependency versus sustainability
-          Lack of government support
-          Inadequate protection and care of children
-          Local/indigenous knowledge ignored
Motivators
-          From same background
-          Religious values
-          Income/potential for future
-          Support
o   Organisational
o   Parents, community educators
o   peers
-          Children
-          Personal responsibility
-          Sense of community
-          Very concerned about career path

David Roth reported on a Self Report Measure of Wellbeing (OWT) for orphans and vulnerable children undertaken in Kenia by Catholic Relief Service.

This presentation outlined an OVC Wellbeing Tool developed by Catholic Relief Services to assess self-reported child wellbeing by measuring 10 domains (food/nutrition, education shelter, economic opportunities, protection, mental health, family, health, spirituality, and community cohesion).

They use different tools for appropriate age groups.

In this evaluation spiritual, educational and family wellbeing scored highest, economic domain lowest.

This can be a useful tool to use in communities in order to evaluate services and interventions required

More info about the tool available on CRS website at http://crsprogramquality.org/pubs/hivaids/OWTguide.pdf

Caroline Kuo reported on the unmet physical and mental health needs of adults caring for orphaned children in a HIV endemic community in SA.

It is clear that caring for orphans can have sever adverse effects on the health of carers.

Protective factors of health include
-          Social support
-          Higher economic status
-          Main source of income is salaries
-          Piped water
-          Formal dwelling
Risk factors include
-          Being female!

All carers of orphaned children had less than optimal health and need interventions.

They suggested the following additional support:
-          Group and individual debriefing,
-          Opportunities to celebrate success,
-          Support and recognition in programme design.

Dr Cluver and Dr Casale continued to address the Relationship between Carer and Child Mental Health in a HIV-endemic community in South Africa. This study was linked to the previous presentation

Orphaned children have poor mental health, as carers of orphaned children can have, and people living with HIV can have. This interplay and linked vulnerability can have serious implications for the mental health of a community

There are close links between depression, anxiety and PTSD in carers and the children they care for. This increases dramatically in AIDS affected families.

Suggestions:
-          Family based programmes targeting both carer and child psychological health might have bigger potential impact,
-          Treat both carer and children’s mental health.

After lunch I had to make a difficult decision between attending a session which included presentations on food security, nutrition and disclosure or more about the challenges of carers, social and para-social workers and the best interest of the child and young adult.

The first speaker in the session I attended was Rita Muyambo who spoke about Measuring the Psychosocial wellbeing of community care givers. She emphasised the critical role of NGOs in service delivery at grass root levels

Common stressors
-          Over-involvement and over-identification
-          Boundary problems
-          Stigma and secrecy
-          Lack of socials support
-          Child abuse and neglect
-          Frustration with govt process

In order to measure and evaluate the Thogomelo project, measuring social wellbeing was necessary.

Profile of this group
-          Limited literacy
-          Mostly female

A variety of tools were evaluated – none deemed appropriate

Developed new appropriate scale; was developed and tested (some info available at http://www.aidstar-one.com/task_orders/thogomelo_project and http://www.ovcsupport.net/s/library.php?ld=1096)

Pre and post training evaluation will be compared.

The process and further development of this tool could be very useful.

Daphyne Williams spoke about the tool developed by CRS and highlighted by David Roth earlier in the session “Creating Age Appropriate self-Report tools for children: Using a pictorial scale to rate wellbeing”. This tool highlights the perception of the child of his family health in 10 different domains. It was decided to use a 5 point rather than a 3point scale in order to identify more nuances and assess change more accurately.

In the evaluation of the younger group (6-8yers) the tool was used in a picture format as well in verbal form. It became clear that what adults, even in a specific culture, read into a picture might not be the same as children see. Culture appropriate might not be child appropriate, and especially not young child appropriate!

Conclusion: It is important to pilot any tool or intervention!

Basani Malambe spoke about “Developing resilience in life through psychosocial support: A community based approach for OVCs and guardians in South Africa. Psychosocial support is only sustainable and manageable if handled as cross-cutting issue. It is however essential as it lays the foundation for the wellbeing of the children in their care.

The Red Cross model is family centred and uses many tools already mention – Memory work, journey of life, hero’s book etc. Remember that psychosocial support is an ongoing process and not a one-time intervention. Although the impact evaluation of the programme will only be done in 2011, there are many positive results reported.

Josianne Roma-Reardon highlighted the OneVoice South Africa Schools Programme: HIV and AIDS prevention with and for young people. OneVoice South Africa (http://www.onevoice.org.za) is a vibrant and unique non-governmental organisation (previously known as Dance4Life), which uses innovative and creative ways of actively involving young people in HIV and AIDS prevention. The programme is appealing to young people because it provides them with a platform to discuss and address HIV and AIDS, sexual reproductive health, gender and human rights issues.

The school programme includes a series of nine workshops which focus on Gr. 8 learners and provide a manual and notebook dealing with Life Skills, Sexual and Reproductive health and management of projects.

Russel Linde presented on the topic “The Children’s Act Requires a Legal Resource Unit.

His personal experience in trying to access legal services around the children’s act motivated his approach for this presentation.

Like any legislation, the Children’s Act has no use if it can not be enforced. He highlighted the serious underfunding in the social and legal domain in order to implement the act.

Interventions of social workers:
Problems
-          Far too few
-          Poor resources and infrastructure
-          Insufficient options/alternatives
-          Do not have a good understanding of the Act
Solutions:
-          Legal advice as support and knowledge
-          Assist in court procedures
-          Police more inclined to assist lawyers
-          Training of social workers and others
-          Reduce the technical legal nature of the Act
Relationships between new families and social workers
Problems
-          Not enough accountability by social worker
-          Often rights of child overlooked
-          Delay or failure of background check
-          Personal bias
-          Incompetence
-          Misinterpretation of act
The court, social worker and the child
Problems
-          Backlog
-          Court not child-friendly
-          Inefficient admin staff
-          Narrow interpretation of law
Solutions
-          Lawyer can assist social worker
-          Advocacy etc

Conclusion:The potential benefits of such a unit far outweigh the cost and should be seriously considered.

He quoted Samantha Waterhouse: “We do not measure success by the number of laws alone, but rather when all South African children have equal access to the protection and services contained within the legislation”

For the Best Interest of the Child and Young Adult

Dr Sissel Olssen reported on her study to Identify Critical and Key factors determining appropriate school support systems.

Case Study School:
-          Peri-urban Poverty stricken area
-          2/3 brown; 1/3 black
-          Study done during time of Structural and cultural change processes in Education System
-          HIV/AIDS Life Skills programme in schools in Western Cape had many components, but focussed on support to teachers and head masters to support children.
-          Teachers in high denial about HIV in their context, although they admit children are sexually active,
o   Many overage learners,
o   foetal alcohol syndrome
o   Child pregnancy
o   High absenteeism
o   Abnormal signs that could indicate HIV infection are explained as caused by other reasons
-          Poor situation of children and stigma and denial causes selective ‘blindness’ in teachers
-          Poverty related problems not only overlap with the problems of HIV exposure and acerbate them, but can even obscure or hide them.

The recommendations of the study were included in a joint partnership that will focus on the support and wellbeing of teachers.

Mokgadi Malahlela spoke on “Improving the Lives of Orphans and Vulnerable Children through Social Access.”

She highlighted the work of Kheth'Impilo, an organisation whose mission is to support the South African Department of Health in achieving the goals outlined in the National Strategic Plan for the scale up of quality services for the management of HIV/ AIDS in the Primary Health Care sector.

Grant Access Strategy – the organisation is involved in most provinces to facilitate access to identity documents and social grants

More about the organisation at http://www.khethimpilo.org/

Evelyne Kamote reported on the Tanzanian approach in “Beyond Handouts! Integrating quality in OVC Services”.

Ms Kamote mentioned many points in the Tanzanian program for ensuring quality in the care of children. An important point for me was that in the focus on MVC – most vulnerable children. They consider the fact that orphans might not necessarily be the most vulnerable, but that a community might have other children, who are not orphans, who could be highly vulnerable for a variety of reasons.

It is important to build consensus on what constitutes quality!

Adele Clark CRS spoke on “Developing Solidarity Among Children Using Therapeutic tools for multiple purposes. She highlighted that 163 mill children have lost one or both parents due to many different causes and that orphans are not the only children who are vulnerable.

Resilience can be strengthened by
-          Supportive family
-          Primary caregiver
-          Social support
-          Connections to competent caring community members outside their own family
-          Basic needs being met

A Toolkit was developed – “Psychosocial care and counselling for HIV- Infected Children and adolescents”. It includes games eg ‘Just like me’ with variety of details and levels and is available online.

Another full and informative day!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Plenary Session 2, chaired by Prof Leickeness Simbayi. Prof Simbayi referred to the cabinet re-shuffle announced yesterday, and mentioned that as Min Molefe is no longer minister of Social Development, her presence at the conference is unsure.

Prof Lorraine Sherr – Bringing up Orphans – Why We Need Support of Families. She highlighted the dilemmas of defining ‘orphan’ and made a plea that we should be clear about what we are speaking about when we talk of orphans.

SSA - 7.5% Paternal Orphan; 5.2% maternal; double orphans 12.1%;

Sub Saharan Africa - 5-10 times higher than other regions.

Family approaches to the challenges of orphanhood and HIV is much more successful than individual models.

88% of orphans are cared for by extended families

Considerations in Orphan care

-          Risk of HIV infection
-          High risk of problems of children who are themselves HIV positive
-          Remember to consider the risk and vulnerability of child before the parent/s die – anxiety, depression, care under adversity
-          A parent is not only a mother – parenting is not just “women’s business” – there is little information on the role of fathers, but much on that of ‘dead fathers’. We need to also consider the positive role of fathers and how important it is to keep them alive for the health of the family.
-          Many risks of institutionalisation
-          Dangers of the focus on orphans
o   Orphan tourism
o   Orphan press appeal
o   Orphan donation appeal
-          Tomorrows problem is HIV exposed children
o   HIV+ and HIV exposed children have many developmental and cognitive delays
o   Interventions can help – many successful reports
§ Treatment of mood disorders
§ Cash transfers

 Prof Sebastian van As: Trauma and Children – A World Perspective

True disasters for children

-          Inequity. 
o   The amount of spending on healthcare does not translate to health
o   In SA population of 50 mil, more or less 20 mil are children
o   Provincial inequity
-          Child injury. Trauma leading cause of child deaths between 1-18 years
o   Many child deaths related to trauma and death
o   Road accidents, drowning, burns
o   Accidental and non accidental trauma
§ Children under 6-8 very vulnerable and depend on adults for safety
§ Supervision in Africa statistically more difficult because
§ Child in SA is 25X more likely to end up in hospital than child in UK
§ 89% of children brought to Red Cross Hospital after motor accidents were not wearing a seatbelt or in a child seat - strap in your child!
-          Alchohol
§ Majority of people dying in homicide or MVA were intoxicated.
§ 80% of all trauma in SA is alcohol related
§ Foetal alcohol exposure is the most common cause of birth abnormalities
-          Child labour
-          War
-          etc

Highligted work of http://www.childsafe.org.za/

Child safety starts with all of us

“A better society will and must be measured by the happiness and health of our children”

Nelson Mandela

Dr Zosa de Sas Kropiwnicki: Child Trafficking and Exploitation of Children across Borders

She started of by warning against the sensationalist and inaccurate data often used in this field. The definition of child trafficking is movement of a child with the intention of abuse. In the case of children, permission is deemed to be irrelevant.

If children move ‘on their own’ it is not trafficking, but that does not mean that children that are not trafficked but still abused need less care

The perceived success of SA leads to increased risks and vulnerabilities to trafficking of children from neighbouring countries.

Many criteria for a effective response were mentioned, including that a response should be rights based, protective and interlocking, regional, systemic, intersectorial, comprehensive, participative, appreciative, asset based, family strengthening, capacity strengthening, evidence based

In the first session 1 there were 2 options – ‘Access/Community Based Coordinated Care’ and ‘Lessons of Management Systems Support’

I attended the session on ‘Access/Community Based Coordinated Care’ chaired by Mrs Lynette Mudekunye

Nancy Kemo spoke on “Improving Access to Health Care for OVCs through Community/Health Facility Linkage”.

A help desk managed by specialised care workers increased the access of children to treatment and improved communication and relationships between community health workers and institute based care workers.

Due to stigma care givers in the community is still reluctant to disclose the HIV status of the children in their care.

David Green explained methods of Developing Caring Communities through narrative practices

The assumptions of narrative practice
-          The life of an individual or community has many stories, but the dominant story overshadows the other
-          Through narrative practices used in time of crisis, other stories of skill competencies and resources are elevated to the dominant story
-          Resources and tools from REPSSI can be used at drop in centres, support groups, community level and individually:
o   Ithemba book
o   Tree of life
o   Hero Book
o   Journey of life

By allowing the community the opportunity to share their stories and experiences sustainable approaches can be developed to enhance the wellbeing of children. The stories and approaches can be documented and used by other communities.

Joan Marston spoke of the Sunflower Effect, and how one programme expanded access to palliative care for children in Free State province.

Palliative care is the care of body, mind, spirit of the child with a life limiting disease and includes care of the family.

Palliative care is sometimes confused with end of life care, but is much wider, and includes
-          Immaculate assessment
-          Pain and symptom control
-          Care and support

A multi-sector approach, partnership and networking is crucial, but can provide a rich resource for the effective expansion of palliative care for life limited children to improve their quality of life.

Jacqueline Khumalo highlighted the magic of networks in supporting organisations that work with orphans and vulnerable children.

The CINDI (Children in Distress) Network does capacity building and provides networking opportunities for the organisations in the area responding to children.

An analysis was given based on a study of 176 member organisations of CINDI

Benefits of the network which were identified in the study include:
  • Networking
  • Capacity Building
  • Advocacy
  • Resource mobilization

Sumaya Mall highlighted the Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS of deaf and hard of hearing adolescents: and the Perceptions of educators in Schools in South Africa.

Literature shows increased risk of abuse as well as low self esteem amongst disabled people, including people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This can be acerbated by the fact that there are limited or culturally inappropriate educational resources for people with hearing disability.

A study on selected schools for the deaf explored condom policies, perceptions of sexual risk behaviour in deaf learners etc

 

After lunch I attended a session on Institutional Partnerships chaired by Dr Sissel Olsen

 

The first speaker was John Capati, who spoke of the use of Social Work Partnerships to Build Sustainable Capacity to address the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. He introduced the work of the Twinning Centre which created 30 North-South and 9 South – South twinning agreements.

Twinning is flexible, collaborative and gets results.

Key elements of twinning
-          Institution to institution pairing
-          Peer to peer prof. Relationships
-          Prof. Exchanges and mentoring
-          Volunteer driven
-          Leverage private sector institutional resources
-          Non prescriptive but rigorous approach to collaborative process, work plan development and outcomes
-          Demand driven
-          Benefit to both partners

He highlighted the work done to strengthen the work of social work auxillaries, or para social workers. This untapped resource links to the community and further capacity building helps to augment the severe shortage of trained social workers in the community.

It was initially important to create a share understanding of the role of this group. Curriculum development is crucial, although there are universal principles, it is also crucial to make it specific to the context and environment. Structured follow up is essential for the success of the process.

Various country representatives reported on the success the programme had in their country

-          Leah Natujwa Omari from Tanzania

-          Justice Chukwudi Ulunta - Nigeria

Marietta Slabbert spoke about a Motivation strategy for rural advancement. She highlighted the work of the Ndlovu Care Group that works through Autonomous Treatment Centre (ATC) and Community Health Awareness Mobilization & Prevention (CHAMP)

Once again the importance of working from an asset based perspective was emphasised.

Ndlovu adapted the Hertzberg Theory of motivation to behaviour change communication

Story from a project: Maria, you get a food parcel and school uniforms, why do you still not go to school? I don’t sleep at night, our door does not lock, and I am afraid people come in at night and rape me and my siblings.

I very interesting session by Susan Wilkenson Maposa focussed on “Understanding Organisational Resilience: How organisations supporting child well being survived Zimbabwe’s socio economic collapse.”

The Firelight Foundation was interested that all grantee partners of the foundation in Zimbabwe survived the socio-economic collapse, even though these organisations are often seen as ‘low resourced organisations’.

An inquiry by the foundation into 22 organisations asked:
-          What were your biggest challenges
-          How did you overcome this
-          What do you view as your most important strength

The results showed:

Challenges
-          Restriction on public gatherings
-          Devaluation of funds
-          Decrease in monetary flow
-          Education system collapse
-          Transport
-          Food insecurity
-          Drought and water shortage
4 main responses
-          Scale back on programme delivery
-          Maximised resources within your reach
-          Mobilise community assets to fill gaps
-          Build and leverage relationships (other organisations, government etc) to spread problems and enhance problem solving

Community based organisations identified 5 resources or strengths they depended to help them survive in challenging conditions

-          Staff commitment, cohesion and confidence
-          Community ownership
-          Supportive community leadership
-          Stakeholder networks
-          Staff and volunteer passion

This is supported by literature where the following 5 behaviours can be identified which are used to construct resiliency in organisations

-          Organisational culture – know who you are, what you do, how you d it
-          Situational awareness
-          Inter-dependence
-          Social capital -
-          Bricolage – use what is at hand

The presentation was one of the highlights of my day. We have all seen so many organisations overcome challenges, where it seems humanly impossible, and do remarkable work. It was good to be reminded that the strengths that help organisations overcome hardship is often internal and local, and does not necessarily depend on tangible factors or external resources.

 Nataly Woolett spoke about “Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence: the Overlooked Victims”. She spoke about Trauma Focussed Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in a art and play based group in a domestic violence shelter. 

USA research shows that a third of US children are exposed to violence in the home. SSA probably higher!

Natalie highlighted the high incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or Complex Psychological Trauma in children in South Africa.

Creative art therapies have much strength in dealing with trauma. A process was explained where therapy of this kind was used with children, with very good results.

Many resources are available eg the book “A Terrible Thing Happened: A Story for Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma”. More info at http://www.apa.org/pubs/magination/4416428.aspx

 

Opening Session, Sunday 31 October

The opening session started with a song “When will the Children Play Again”, starkly sketching the reality and asking ‘how many children must raise more children before we take a stand?’. Suddenly this does not seem ‘just a conference’ but the reality of children who are unable to play or laugh, because they are raising more children. Tina Schouw - South African Singer Songwriter touched the participants’ hearts.

The opening session was billed as follows. 

  • Dr Ashsaf Grimwood CEO Kheth ‘Impilo Conference Chair

  • Hon Minister Bomo Edna Molewa Welcome Address –

  • Dancing with the Darkness on my Back

  • Dr Annette Gerritsen, EPI Result: Estimating the Need for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Services in the city Tswane Metropolitan Municipality 2010

  • Dr Nono Silemela; CEO SANAC: SANAC’s National Plan of Action for OVC’s

However, as Dr Ashsaf Grimwood CEO Kheth ‘Impilo welcomed participants as the conference chair, he also announced that Min of Social Dev Edna Molewa is unable to attend this evening and Dr Silemela would be unable to attend due to ill health. It is quite a disappointment that these two ‘star’ speakers are not here.

Dr Grimwood highlighted what had been achieved around development and MDGs, but also the challenges that remain for children and the opportunities to address these.

Dr Johanna Kistner and the children Sophiatown Children on the Move Project presented “Dancing with the Darkness on my Back. Children’s Sories of Hope and Courage.” Firstly we were reminded that these children do not think of themselves as OVC’s – they reminded us:

-          I am also a singer
-          I am a person
-          I am a strong young women
-          I have a right to be called by my name
-          I have some dreams – I am tomorrows future

We listened to the children’s stories; stories of death, of loss, of xenophobia, of displacement of overcrowding, of living with multi –cultural life, of displacement, but mostly of “Dancing the darkness away” the incredible resilience of children in the midst of multiple challenges.

Dr Annette Gerritsen’s presentation covered “Estimating the Need for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Services in the city Tswane Metropolitan Municipality, 2010”.

Key activities in Tswane in 2010 included
-          the launch of the HCT campaign;
-          FIFA HIV awareness campaign
-          Hide and seek; Find and treat
-          HCT in schools

A survey was done on service providers in Tswane between 2005 and 2010:

-          In 2010 72% service providers were NGOs, 18% Public sector; FBO and Private below 10%
-          In time of study public sector services reduced, while NGOs increased. This is positive, as NGOs are close to the community. However, it can be a problem as NGOs are less involved with treatment programmes
-          More than 75% of all support related services in Tswane are offered by NGO/FBOs. Care for OVC is primarily done by FBO/NGOs
-          57% of all treatment related services are provided by public sector
-          In 2010 Tswane had an estimated 82 540 maternal AIDS orphans with 212 service providers – which means an average of 389 orphans per service provider. Although this is still very high, it is improving.

Conclusion – The overall picture of service provision in Tswane is more positive than 2009. The unique information obtained by the survey will assist the metropolitan municipality in their planning in future

The Ndlovu choir entertained participants before we were invited to attend the opening cocktail function.

The function was hosted by SABCOHA and highlighted the “Camp I Am” programme, an exciting public/private/NGO initiative for 15 000 children during the extended 2010 school holiday. Hopefully this successful programme wil be extended in future.

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Lyn @ World Vision SA Launch of the Child Health Now Campaign. 20/10/2010

Child Health Now is World Vision’s first global campaign focused on a single issue: reducing the preventable deaths of children under five.

Lyn attended the launch of this important advocacy campaign by the president of World Vision International at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.

Speakers included Mr Lehlohonolo Chabeli, National Director of WVSA, speakers from the SANAC children Sector and government. and Mr Kevin Jenkins, WVI president.

You can read more about the campiagn and access resources at  https://childhealthnow.com/campaign http://www.wvi.org/wvi/WVIAR2009.nsf/maindocs/FCD0CD1CCF6609B4882576EE00... and http://www.worldvision.org/news.nsf/news/child-health-campaign-advocacy-...

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Nelis @ Micah Network meeting in Capetown, 16 October 2010

Nelis attended the Micah Network Strategy Update meeting Saturday 16th October together with a group of participants of the third Lausanne Congress and other Christian leaders.

The meeting was led by Sheryl Haw who explained the Micah Network strategy.

Rene Padilla spoke about his theological journey and explained his vision of integral mission. Participants had the opportunity to dialogue with him.

CABSA hopes to strengthen relationships with the Micah Network.

 

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Nelis @ Pastors’ ICT Workshop in Worcester, 6/10/2010

Nelis joined a group of pastors in Worcester on 6 October to discuss the use of ICT in ministry. It is becoming increasingly clear that we need to explore all the wonderful opportunities these tools provide. A few key points include:
- Be interactive. Make sure that your website is not just “preaching”, but provides the opportunity for conversations, such as through a blog, comments option, etc.
- Measure your download speed and effectiveness. The free Firefox Yslow add-on was mentioned.
- Questionnaire options are available from Google Documents.
- Make sure users can easily share or pass on your content.
- A FaceBook presence can be valuable.
 

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Jan @ the Sangonet “Fundraising in the Digital World” Conference. 1-2 September 2010

Jan attended the Sangonet “Fundraising in the Digital World” http://www.ngopulse.org/conf2010/ conference held in Johannesburg on 1 and 2 September 2010. Here are a few of the things he heard.

It is not difficult to feel that the internet has always been there and have a perception that everyone has access. Unfortunately this is not so, but access to it is growing fast. The growth in internet access can be seen when considering that in 2005 there were an estimated 3.4 million internet users in South Africa (population 49 million). This number has grown to approximately 5.3 million in 2009 and is projected to further increase to around 11 million by 2015. 

The biggest factor affecting the future growth of internet usage in South Africa will not be capacity of infrastructure but the cost of access to and use of the network. South Africa and Africa can, as result of 3 new under-sea fibre optic cables, only now really start joining the internet world. The 3 new cables will mean that by 2012 Africa will have approximately 220 times the capacity for data transfer that it had in 2008. The effect is already becoming visible in changes taking place in countries throughout Africa as they receive real, and more affordable, broadband connectivity.

Although 15% of businesses in South Africa with access to internet connectivity still used dialup, 46% utilised broadband (ADSL). The number using ADSL is however projected to grow to 86% in the near future, strongly followed by satellite. 

This growth in connectivity has a direct impact on the need for businesses to have some form of web presence and technological footprint. The use of the internet should however not be considered from a limited perspective of providing or accessing websites. The internet should be seen as part of a total revolution that includes electronic banking, social media and even related technologies such as cellular phones.

Despite the internet growth in South Africa, a few practical aspects should be kept in mind. It was indicated that whilst 12% have e-mail addresses but only around 9% of the South African populations have credit cards. This means that the utilisation of e-commerce based businesses – which, other than EFT’s, require credit cards - limits the South African market to a maximum of 9% of the South African population. The banking services available to people still has a limiting influence on web based fundraising.

Regarding other electronic management of money two systems, available in South Africa, introduced at the conference were a cellular phone based system “Mpesa” managed by Vodacom. This system is working well in Kenya where it was developed. The internet linked payment system “Paypal” was also presented but it requires people having an FNB bank account. Pay Pal is also not yet set up to do transactions in South African Rand.

A factor that must be considered with electronic fundraising, is what is called the Digital Participation Curve.  This curve indicates that it takes approximately 5 years of experience with the internet before people start becoming comfortable in utilising e-commerce and making electronic donations. This is also true regarding EFT’s (electronic fund transfers) and online banking.

In contrast to the number of people with internet connectivity, approximately 62% of people in South Africa have cellular phones and thus become potential participants in short code / premium code donation systems and  the new Mpesa programme. There are also numerous international examples of successful cellular phone based fundraising activities.

It must be emphasised that the use of cellular phones for fundraising has many risks attached. Phones are a technology that was designed for conversation and people see unsolicited cell phone contact as a more personal invasion of privacy than they do emails. The indiscriminate use of cellular phone contact could thus result in the creation of resistance against an organisation and cause.

Should a cellular fundraising activity be considered, a few aspects to consider when planning include:
How does the cause/organisation being marketed make a difference?
  • What is the target market of the fundraising?
  • How can mobile numbers be obtained voluntary – with permission for usage?
  • What communication strategy will be followed?
  • How will the money be collected?

In South Africa it should be kept in mind when considering a cellular phone based process that service providers take a very high percentages of all donations made via the phones. Based on the percentages taken by service providers, Sangonet launched a petition entitled the “Mobile Giving Initiative” where service providers are petitioned to waive their percentages for NGO’s. The petition is available for signing and supporting at http://www.ngopulse.org/conf2010/

On a more practical level, the effect of digital age has a number of key aspects that directly influences its use in fundraising. As result of the internet and increased connectivity around the world, the sense of community has changed and is busy changing further. People have a desire to connect and develop “digital friends”. There is however no magic solution, fixed recipe or specific software package that will build a network of friends. The process is slow and requires methods similar to those utilised when cultivating face to face relationships and friendships. The difference is that it is now done electronically.

Organisations must stop thinking in terms of fundraising and start thinking about building digital relationships. The essence of digital fundraising is not asking for funds but cultivating and developing relationships (on or off line) by addressing people’s expectations of transparency and getting to know the real organisation.

People want to share a dream and be part of a story. They want to invest in success and become part of something whilst being kept busy with other aspects of living. To raise money on-line organisations must stop fundraising and start inspiring action. This means the focus should not be on the needs of the organisation but on getting people to become part of, and buy into, the organisational dream by supplying visitors with information. The increased availability of information however means that people have stopped being inspired by the same story presented in the same way on hundreds of websites.

Organisations must ask themselves, and communicate, what the organisation’s big story is and what it is that they are selling. People want to know;
  • Why the organisation really exist and who they really are.
  • That the organisation is vibrant with many facets.
  • The highlights the organisation are most proud of but also that the organisation realises, and can face, their own shortcomings.
  • Answers to the hard questions such as if the organisation is making a substantial difference and ultimately if, and by who, their function be missed if they close their doors.

People that support an organisation must be able to tell “the company story” to their friends. People want to be given a sense of belonging to a cause. When they belong, they will – in the offline - world put things in their own words and start marketing on the company’s behalf. This is the basis of what is called viral marketing.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not donate because of a Facebook page or e-mails.  They are donating because they are hearing a dream and by belonging to this dream they feel that they too are making a difference.

To start building relationships organisations must start by understanding where they are. The process of utilising social networking technologies should be implemented slowly and in a sustainable manner. The key is to listen more than to talk as social networks are not public broadcast channels.

Organisations and CEO’s should join sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn in ways that are related to the organisational cause. They must then respond to every post on their wall, update their status as often as possible, post recommendations on LinkedIn request from others and post pictures and videos. It is important to increase the network by “liking” pages and accepting friend requests but this should be done with thought as it would be done when accepting friend requests in real life.

Where applicable and to keep up to date with what is going on, key members in the organisation must join twitter and follow related twitter hash tags (#). To build authenticity, cover special events before the event to build interest and then reported on and pictures included afterwards.

Organisations should however, be careful as too much technology could frustrate donors. Lastly also remember that an e-mail is not an invitation to solicit funds but merely an invitation to start building a relationship.

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Lyn @ IAC Multi-Faith Pre-Conference. 17/7/2010

Lyn van Rooyen attended the Multi-Faith Pre-Conference at the Technical University in Vienna, Austria

Centered on the theme ‘Rights Here, Right Now: What’s faith got to do with it?’, this one-day multi-faith pre-conference allowed some 250 people of faith to:

-Explore, with a diverse range of plenary speakers, how faith traditions compel us to achieve universal access to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention, and can overcome existing barriers to such access
-Actively participate in breakout sessions to discuss theological and practical responses to HIV and AIDS in more depth
-Network with people of faith involved in the global response to HIV and AIDS
-Prepare and strategize for faith-based participation in the IAC
-Take part in opening and closing prayer and reflection

If you attended the pre-conference, please fill in and return this evaluation form to rfoley@e-alliance.ch by 6th August 2010.

Download presentations and talks given at the pre-conference here. 

 

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Nelis @ CUAHA AIDS Competence Workshop. 3-5/5/2010

Nelis du Toit (CABSA Director) and Patrick Manzini (CABSA trained Churches, Channels of Hope facilitator) were privileged to attend the CUAHA (Churches United Against HIV & AIDS) workshop in Johannesburg from 3-5 May 2010.

Participating in the further development of a participating workshop programme on HIV and AIDS Competent Churches was stimulating and encouraging. The workshop was built around the ecumenical handbook published by CUAHA: Towards and HIV and AIDS Competent Church.

The candidates who attended this workshop came from many countries, e g Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola representing various denominations.

According to Mr Manzini the workshop was conducted in a participatory manner. “We were encouraged to share information, ideas, concerns and knowledge. Facilitators ensured that everyone got an equal opportunity to participate. Through active listening and good questioning, they demonstrated that each person’s contribution was valuable. Facilitators helped group members to communication skills by promoting discussion. Activities such as role play and case studies were used to explore different points of view. Facilitators used games to help people to get to know each other, to give participants more energy and enthusiasm, and to help people to work together.”

One of the highlights of the workshop was the sharing of her experiences of living with the virus as well as being stigmatised by her community, by one of the participants. Her story revealed how a community, even a church community, can stigmatise people living with HIV.

According to Mr Manzini he learned the following during the workshop:
§ “That Pastors must mobilize their churches to respond to the needs in the community particularly to the epidemic of HIV.
§ “That Pastors and church leaders are encouraged to carry out integral mission, and also to envision their congregations.
§ “That a church is supposed to be a place of safety, known by its love and support to people living with HIV and AIDS.
§ “The church must accompany people and communities living with HIV and AIDS on their journeys of faith, giving them hope.
§ “Stigma and discrimination was mostly originated in the church where people living with HIV and AIDS were condemned.
§ “The church should be continuously exposed to the realities of HIV and AIDS by informing them about what is happening in their area with regard to HIV and AIDS.
§ “Information sessions should be continuous in the church to keep the members enthusiastic and updated on HIV and AIDS, and how they can respond better.
§ “The church must have a deepened understanding of the disease; growing commitment to prevention, care and support, accompanied by members’ understanding of how and why they should get involved.
§ “The church must identify team leaders to implement HIV and AIDS elements.
§ “The church must identify infected and affected orphans and vulnerable children who might need support and developing strategy to help and support them.
§ “For prevention, the church must teach value-based education to the youth and must have pre-marital counselling support.”

CABSA thanks CUAHA for the opportunity to participate in their programme.

 

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Lyn @ PACANet Consultation on Multiple and Concurrent Sexual Partnerships. 26-30/4/2010

"It was very good to discuss this topic so openly in a faith setting. I have to admit that I was quite shurprised by the some of ways in which participants feel faith communities increase the opportunity or possibility for multiple partners" Lyn said after she participated in this consultation held at Ezulwini Sun International Hotel in Swaziland from From 26th-30th April 2010.

The consultation was organised by PACANet in conjunction with the Church Forum on HIV and AIDS, Swaziland. The aim of the consultation was to is to provide a forum for key stakeholders from churches, Christian organizations and theological institutions to discuss the issue of multiple and concurrent sexual partners as a risk behaviour for HIV infection.

Prior to the consultation the outcomes were identified as:

  • Gain a clear understanding of the role of MCP in HIV transmission and of social and cultural factors which must be addressed in changing MCP behaviours and strengthening protective behaviours such as mutual fidelity and marriage;
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the present Christian response and how the church can effectively address MCP;
  • Determine realistic steps and commitments that can be taken by consultation participants and begin to plan country and regional action.
You can read the PACANet MCP Consultation Communique here.
 
The PACANet Chronicles, Volume 4, Issue 2 published in July 2010 reports as follows:
 

Multiple Concurrent Sexual Partnerships: A risk behavior in HIV transmission

 

From 26th to 30th April, PACANet in collaboration with the Church Forum on HIV and AIDS in Swaziland organized a consultation meeting on Multiple Concurrent partnerships (MCP). The meeting that ran for 5 days saw 90 senior church leaders from Eastern and Southern Africa representing various denominations. There was representation from 18 countries; Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, United States of America, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The goal of the consultation was to provide a forum for key stakeholders from churches and Christian organizations to discuss the issue of multiple and concurrent sexual partners as a risk behavior for HIV infection.

While speaking at the opening session, Derrick Von Wissel Director of NERCHA, explained HIV transmission dynamics using a case study on Swaziland.

Mr. David Cunningham of Family Impact and former chairperson of PACANet led the devotions and spoke about Marriage and relationships and the experience of the church with MCP. He described marriage as a significant unit in society and the church contributing to the strength of the nation. He however remarked that marriage and family are under attack, that there are forces both physical and spiritual working against its well being. He said that the church is in the world but not of the world and should be the salt and light in order to have impact.

“Today God’s church is divided, we ignore one another; we fail to communicate; we do not share; we duplicate what each is doing. We fear competition for funds if we tell another group what we are doing. We do our own thing. God is not glorified and the world is not saved” he noted.

Derrick Von Wissel said that only 21% of children in Swaziland have both parents. Derrick remarked that this leave us with many questions for instance; is the marriage strong? How does a mother teach a boy to be a man? What role modelling is there for these children? Has the church been too silent or is it losing its moral ability?

There were three plenary sessions during which presentation were made by various speakers including Rt. Rev. Bishop Mabuza of Council of Swaziland Churches, Rev. Dr. Nyambura, Rev. Njiru Pauline of EHAIA, Mrs. Allison Ruark of CCIH, Dr. Taruvinga of The  Leadership Agenda, Dr. Okaalet of MAP International, Mr. and Mrs. Lubega of Maternal  Life Uganda, Rev. Fr. Maulano of SECAM Rev. Lubaale of OAIC, Rt. Rev. Banda of  Expanded Church Response to HIV/AIDS Trust and Dr. Chitando of WCC-EHAIA.

Some of  the topics discussed include epidemiological perspectives on the family, The joy of marriage, The blessing of faithfulness and the pains of betrayal, The challenges of maintaining a good marriage even in the church, The experience of the Roman Catholic Church, African Instituted Churches, the evangelical movement and the mainline established  churches.

Being a consultation, plenty of time was allowed for group discussions. Participants explored the causes of MCP, the relationship between MCP and the rapid transmission of HIV and some specific actions for the church take to respond to the issue.

At the end of the consultation a communiqué was produced and presented during the closing ceremony which was attended by the Swaziland minister of Health, his deputy and other dignitaries. The minister thanked PACANet for organizing such an important event. He said that the church has comparative advantage in addressing the challenge of AIDS, as it has a presence and reach to every community, making coverage achievable. He said that the church is the right partner for government to work with to respond to HIV and AIDS.

Participants made commitments on specific actions they intended to carry out back in their countries as a result of their engagement in the consultation.

You can download a selection of presentations from the consultation below:

- The Challenges Of Maintaining A Good Marriage, Even Within The Church! Gonzaga & Paskazia Lubega, Directors Maternal Life Uganda.

- The Joy of Marriage: Marriage As It Was Intended To Be. Grace Taruvinga; Leadership Agenda

- The Experience of the Church With MCPs - An Evangelical Perspective; Bishop Joshua H K Banda

- Epidemiological Perspectives on Marriage & Family; Allison Ruark, MSPH; Christian Connections For International Health

- Why Is HIV Prevalence So Severe In Southern Africa? And “What Works” (And Doesn’t) For Aids Prevention?  Daniel Halperin, Phd, Ms Senior Advisor For Behavior Change/Primary Prevention, USAID

- Marriage and Family: The Blessings of Faithfulness and the Pains of Betrayal. Dr Peter Okaalet, Map

- The Experience of the Catholic Church with Regard to the Situation of Multiple Concurrent Sexual Partnership in HIV Transmission: The Historical Evolution, the Present Practice and Theology, and Future Intervention. Fr. Martinho Maulano

- The Socio-Cultural Perspectives. Bishop Mabuzo

- Multiple Concurrent Partnerships – Defining the Problem: Causes and Effects the Gender Perspective; Dr Nyambura Njoroge and Revd Pauline Wanjiru

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Lyn @ "Rolling On and Rolling Out: Circumcision and Sexual Health, 2010 and Beyond". 8/4/2010

The Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria hosted the second colloquium on circumcision and sexual health. This was hosted by Professor Gary Dowsett (La Trobe University Melbourne) and Professor Peter Aggleton (University of Sussex).

Powerpoint presentation of two of the talks are available below:

- Opening Address. Professor Gary Dowsett, PhD, FASSA

- Sex, Sexuality and Sexual Health by Peter Aggleton 

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Lyn @SABCOHA Breakfast - Business/Faith-based Cooperation on HIV. 25/03/2010

 Together with about 50 representatives of business and faith based organisations Lyn answered the invitation from SABCOHA, which read

In light of Governments’ renewed commitment to combating the spread of HIV and treating those already infected, Business and Faith-based Organizations both have a role to play in extending and complementing the services offered by Government.

How do Business and Faith-based Organizations ensure collaboration in order to capitalize on each other’s strengths and areas of specialization to strengthen Government’s HIV programs? How can Business and Faith-based Organizations raise the response to another level in order to prevent further infections, improve access to treatment and help meet the targets of the National Strategic Plan?”

On the panel was Abdia Naidoo (Baha’i Health Agency), Pastor John Thomas (Living Hope), Gen Sec Eddie Makue (SACC), Paul Germond (ARHAP), Chief Rabbi Hendler. Brad Mears from SABCOHA chaired the session.

The highlights Tweets from the conference (remember these are limited to 140 characters!):

· Eddie Makue, SACC: The denial we have accused the Mbeki era of is also our problem in faith communities.  
· Eddie; What we do in South Africa if we have a problem is to create a commission!
· Eddie: We are part of an African population with a profound spirituality - we need to tap into this and strengthen this to respond to
· Abdia Naidoo, Bahia' Health Agency: We need to focus more on equality between sexes in responding to HIV.
· Paul Germond, ARHAP: what is the contribution of health in Africa - also in policy development?
· Paul: Focus on assets and then position religion as one part of the search for health and policy formation.
· Paul: As faith communities we have a limited, western and mechanical view of health. We don't understand the impact of our values on health.
· Paul: Role of religion in shaping youth sexual behaviour and healthy choices crucial. Youth view religious affiliation +- how to use this?
· John Thomas, Living Hope: Challenges of the cycle of sexual abuse makes preschool and primary school prevention programmes essential.
· John: In SA we have a dual burden of disease - HIV and substance abuse. At the moment we have a marriage of HIV and substance abuse.
· John: Faith communities are often the 'delivery sector'. We need to expand the public/private discussion to a public/private/nonprofit talk.
· John: Believe shapes values, values drive behaviour. Religious entities are crucial in shaping values and behaviour.
· Rabbi Hendler: Ever life saved is like thousands of lives saved.
· Brad Mears: Isn't there a way in which we can do business in a ethical way, in which we can overcome the dichotomy bet. faith and business?
· Rabbi Hendler: Move away from blame and accept our own moral responsibility
· The relationship between business and faith sector is difficult to manage on national and regional level, but much easier on local level.
· Brad Mears: :Large percentage of infection in context of marriage - how does faith com. handle this?
· Paul: we live in a highly sexualised world, and this sexualisation is driven by profit. Business need to examine their ethical motivation.
· Paul: Much of the commercial world mitigates against marriage and healthy family relationships.
· Brad: How is the faith based sector redressing the inequalities between men and women.
· Question to Religious Sector: Is there a prospect for a coherent religious sector strategy in support of the NSP?
· Participant: Workplace programmes that focus only on psychosocial aspects are less successful: Business should also consider spiritual needs.
· How does faith based organisations market themselves to business? Spirituality key part of wellness!
· There is a massive testing drive - what is faith communities doing to ensure that they can deal with needs of newly diagnosed?
· How do we deal with treatment adherence and faith healing? How prevalent is this in your experience?
· Paul: There are cultural worlds of health and multiple health seeking behaviours that may be in conflict and need to be negotiated.
· Exciting session - hope that the conversation will continue!

You can read the SABCOHA press release here.

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Lyn and Jan @ Microsoft's "ICTs for NGOs" Day. 15/03/2010

From the invitation:

"As part of its aims to strengthen its role and contribution to the NGO sector, Microsoft, together with SANGONeT will be hosting a one-day seminar on 15 March 2010 at the Microsoft offices in Bryanston, Johannesburg, to discuss ways in which NGOs can use ICTs more strategically.

In the State of ICTs in the South African NGO Sector 2009 survey, conducted by World Wide Worx on behalf of SANGONeT, and sponsored by Microsoft and the NDA, it was found that technology is increasingly impacting on all aspects of the NGO sector. The study showed that for the first time NGO decision-makers are becoming adept at cutting edge tools like mobile applications and social networking services. However, these are mostly being used in their personal capacity, with half of all respondents using local social networking services, but only 6% of them using it in pursuit of the goals of their organisations. The benefit of the pervasiveness of the personal use of advanced tools will be a faster adoption of these tools and methodologies, going forward. It is anticipated that many new platforms and applications, primarily focused on mobility, will become the mainstay of technology adoption in the NGO sector."

Lyn tweeted from the session:

 

·    Mahad Ibrahim: Stop thinking about technologies, think about information as driver of success. 9:33 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    ICT is an enabler of development, not a product 9:40 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    In many cases familiarity and not expertise is needed 9:41 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    ICT is nothing without users, but effective use requires trust. 9:54 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    Participant highlights challenge of resource allocations - ICT - especially hardware - is expensive! 9:58 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    Matthew de Gale: Findings from research; State of ICTs in SA NGO sector. 10:11 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·   Is the uce of ICT making a difference in their ability to serve their constituencies? 10:14 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    800 NGOs - lack in-depth IT function or capacity. NGOs are 'surprisingly mainstream'. Very similar to comparative SME 10:19 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    ADSL use of organisations in the study in SA is 77percent. Websites are not mobile friendly, yet mobile internet is key method of access 10:32 AM Mar 15th via mobile web
·    Do you know about the SANGOTeCH program providing heavily subsidised software and it, including Microsoft products 11:44 AM Mar 15th via mobile web

 

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Lyn @ Community Building Workshop. 2-3/03/2010

I attended the Community Building workshop with Peter Block and Symphonia for South Africa.  These workshops are "about the nature of real transformation and what kind of leadership is required to achieve it."

The workshops focus strongly on possibilities, rather than problems, an approach we have spoken about after the African Religious Health Assets Conference and our visit in Kenia where we learnt about the SALT methodology

Tweets from the workshop included:

·    At Community Building Workshop' 7:42 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    Our relatedness is a prerequisite for the change we want. Peter Block 9:42 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    Change the world one room at the time - connection is more important than content 9:45 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    The small group is the unit of transformation, especially if observed by other small groups. 9:47 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    The enemy of nation-building is like-mindedness. 9:48 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    Message to leaders; I need you to hold your certainty a little more lightly, to create space for my voice to be heard. 11:52 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    We don't create a future that is different from the past by continuing the old 'problem solving' conversation. 11:55 AM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    Participant: Sometimes we view a crossroad as a cul de sac or a destination rather than a crossroad! 12:36 PM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    Community is a place where parents become partners, where leaders do not own 'their people', where communities are accountable. 2:39 PM Mar 2nd via mobile web
·    Will continue from the Community Building workshop tomorrow. Hopefully Peter Block will be there - after his passport and travel challenges! 6:38 PM Mar 2nd via web
·    The task of leadership is a convening capacity - creating space to confront citizens with their freedom to create the future 8:49 AM Mar 3rd via mobile web
·    Participant's comment; we are not friends or enemies, we just are 12:07 PM Mar 3rd via mobile web
·    Participant: I am not going to outsource any part of my life to anyone else. 12:08 PM Mar 3rd via mobile web
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Minie @ AIDS Consortium BUA. 02/03/2010

Minenhle Moyo (Churces, Channels of Hope facilitator and Regional Representative for Zimbabwe) attended the session and shared her report with us:

Community Champions - Rhulani Lehloka

 Launched Heroes Campaign in 2009 where they encourage prominent people in communities to talk about stigma . Each month a hero is launched and they share their journey with HIV (profile). People are looking for those who will be open and testify in their own communities and not those from other places. Hence this year the focus on communities. There is therefore need to engage communities in 2 parts or levels:

1. Using the AIDS Charter

2. Sharing of personal stories and community dialogues to inform the AIDS Charter.

 Currently, The AIDS Consortium is working with the following number of Support Groups in its 3 provinces:  

North West: 3
Limpopo: 3
Gauteng: 3

 

 Between March and November 2010 it will work with 9 Support Groups in its campaign as it profiles the journeys of HIV positive prominent members of communities. It will also conduct trainings for these groups.

 Questions: What about youths living with HIV in these areas, how are they being engaged in fighting stigma and how will the work be monitored.

In response to the questions, participants were made aware of and referred to the components of the AIDS Charter.

 Challenges: Of the 3 provinces taking part in this campaign (Gauteng, Limpopo and North West) Limpopo was not represented in the profiles. It was also difficult to find a black, heterosex prominent man. Their view on such issues is that one spoils their business if they share their HIV status, they will no longer get customers or clients.  

When a gay person shared their status, a pastor could not understand it, showing how people still do not understand issues to do with their health and rights.

Group Work on Child and Maternal Health followed. This involved Managing HIV and AIDS symptoms in children, universal precautions, disclosing status to children, issues of infection and breastfeeding, progression of HIV in children and Post Exposure Prophylaxis PEP. (notes provided in previous meeting)

 Highlights: New guidelines announced by the President of SA; That pregnant women are to start ART when their CD4 count is 350. Children under 12 years will from APRIL 2010 receive ARV's.

 Next meeting: Child-Headed Households and OVC

 

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CABSA was at ... 2009

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Lyn @5th SAHARA Conference. 30/11- 3/12/2009

The 5th SAHARA Conference was the first opportunity I used Twitter to communicate significantly directly from a conference. This technology provides wonderful opportunities, but also challenges me to provide “Info bytes” of 140 characters or less!

Feedback from the conference:
·    On my way to the 5th SAHARA Conference, focusing on social and cultural aspects of the epidemic - will tweet highlights 9:54 AM Nov 30th, 2009 via web

·    HIV awareness, knowledge not enough.Also positive attitudes to prevention measures, pos behaviours becoming pos practices. 2:40 PM Nov 30th, 2009 via mobile web
·    Shisana: Biomed HIV Interventions that work: Male condoms 80–95%; Female condoms 94–97%; PMTCT 92-98%; HAART 60–80%; Male Circumcision – 65% 9:22 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    Little evidence of behaviour change in abstinence microfinance or concurrency interventions–poor programmes, poor science, lack of research? 9:37 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    No Pres Zuma; at another WAD function with Minister of Health. And they did not know this before they printed programs and sent out emails?? 9:58 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    Baronov: The willingness to openly question one's own cultural beliefs and practices is a minimal prerequisite for effective HIV prevention 11:42 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via mobile web
·    Prof Niang: More ethnographic and qualitative research needed to study why things that work technically, do not work on a social level. 11:45 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via mobile web
·   6.2% of girls age 15-17 in Swaziland are already HIV positive, by age 23-25 this is 43%. 32% Malawi 15-17 year olds had sex in last year 2:34 PM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    SONKE:The question is not whether men can change, rather how policies and programs can contribute, accelerate and build on changes we see. 4:27 PM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    INERELA+ Address the six evils in faithbased HIV response; shame, stigma, discrimination, denial, inaction and misaction 4:44 PM Dec 1st, 2009 via mobile web
·    Heywood: Avoid dangers of perpetual debates. If deliberation results in policy inertia, then deliberation has become a pointless exercise 9:02 AM Dec 2nd, 2009 via web
· Mulumba; Although key drivers are well known it is important to better understand the distribution of the risk factors within the population 9:34 AM Dec 2nd, 2009 via mobile web

Dr Olive Shisana: Implementation of HIV Prevention interventions that work

Biomed HIV Interventions that work:
-          Male condoms 80–95%;
-          Female condoms 94–97%;
-          PMTCT 92-98%;
-          HAART 60–80%;
-          Male Circumcision – 65%

Behavioral Intervention

-          Strong evidence – Counselling and testing for PLWHA
-          Weak or no evidence – abstinence only interventions; HCT on negative; microfinance; concurrency

Little evidence of behaviour change in abstinence, microfinance, or concurrency interventions. (I wonder if this is because of poor programmes, poor science, lack of research?+

Highly active HIV prevention is the way to go
-          Behavioral change + Biomedical

Other points of Interest

6.2% girls age 15-17yrs in Swaziland are already HIV positive, by age 23-25 this is 43%. 32% Malawian 15-17 year olds had sex in last year 

In many Southern African countries more girls in 20-24 age group from rich backgrounds are HIV positive than from poor areas.

Multiple partners in young girls in Uganda increasing from 1998 to 2005

INERELA+: Address the six evils in faith based HIV response: Shame, Stigma, Discrimination, Denial, Inaction, Misaction

Mucosal cells of inner foreskin is the area where HIV gains entry – not the glans

Structural and contextual factors – from SANAC plan

5.4 million South Africans are HIV+” – In Gauteng 1.55 million people living with HIV; In Durban more people are HIV+ than in Brazil

Urban Informal areas have double the prevalence than formal urban

Caregivers have

-          Uthandolamama – the love of a mother
-          Umquondo kaMama – the mind of a mother

We need to move beyond Afro-Pessimism to concrete action to continuously improve - starting at you own area of responsibility and influence and moving out in ever expanding circles.

The responsibility of prevention is a shared one and there should be no undue burden on those who are aware of their status.

“Over 400 delegates gathered in Midrand, South Africa for the 5th SAHARA Conference recently. Participants came from countries as far afield as India, Pakistan, the US, Germany, and Australia, and from 26 African countries, including Uganda, Togo, Ghana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Why this conference?

The SAHARA conference has a very specific focus, the social aspects of HIV – that is the social and cultural aspects of the epidemic (as opposed to the bio-medical ones).
An important feature of the conference is its strong Africa focus. So often, Africa is analysed and spoken about by people outside the continent. A real effort is made to provide a forum for African voices, and for local responses to be highlighted.
The networking opportunities at this conference are thus unique in that it provides a platform for African scholars to interact.

Highlights

Highlights of the conference followed up on some of the burning issues raised for the first time at previous SAHARA conferences, namely male circumcision. Barely two years later, several countries have started rolling out a programme of male circumcision as part of a package of preventative measures.
Other highlights were presentations on the conflict between scientific discourse and cultural traditions and the need to identify cultural practices that might be beneficial o HIV prevention. Prof. Cheick Niang of Senegal pointed out that the cultural interpretation of HIV was more complicated than generally assumed as culture plays an important role.”
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Lyn @ National Consultation Of Churches And Christian Organisations In Response To The Plight Of OVCs. 5-6/11/2009

 I took my first steps in using Twitter during this conference - the 'tweets' are immediately available on Twitter at lyn4caris as well as the front page of the website:

My Tweets from the Conference were only via the Twitter website at this stage:

·    At National Consultation Of Churches And Christian Organisations In Response To The Plight Of OVCs. Will submit highlights 8:44 AM Nov 5th, 2009 via web
·    Should a mother live or die due to a ‘luck factor’ – being on treatment or not? Are we involved enough in advocacy for universal access? 10:19 AM Nov 5th, 2009 via web
·    From the presentation by Dr Elijah Mahlangu – 530 children are raped in South Africa per day, only 60 of these are reported. 11:37 AM Nov 5th, 2009 via web
·    Dr Connie Kganakga The only way to address anger in our society is to provide for nurturing a child– a child cannot be nurtured by a grant! 10:35 AM Nov 6th, 2009 via web
· Robert Botha: In South Africa the poor are looking after the destitute while we are living comfortable lives and always ask for more 12:07 PM Nov 6th, 2009 via web

More on the Conference from the James !:27 Trust website, where you can also access extensive documentation on the conference

In April 2008, the National Initiative for the Reformation of South Africa (NIRSA) was launched, the purpose of which was to chart a map for the reformation agenda for the country and to consolidate the battle facing the giants as identified at SACLA II. 

The NIRSA declaration marks a historic document setting out the battle plan for the body of Christ in bringing a “rebirth of hope, faith, confidence and renewed vision of what our nation can be under God”.

In particular, the NIRSA declaration in response to the orphans and vulnerable children crisis states: “We resolve to explore how the church, along with the government and appropriate NGO’s can embrace in a new way the huge challenges before our nation of dealing with the poor, marginalised and destitute, most especially orphans, widows and refugees. One logical extension of this concern is for Christian couples to be open in new ways to adopting orphans”.

In order to give practical expression to the above mandate, NIRSA in collaboration with the James 1:27 Trust has taken up the challenge of arranging a National Consultation. The Consultation has been constructed around 4-key sessions, each having subject matter experts working within a team to prepare a draft document which will be circulated to all delegates before the event. Delegates will be able to make an input and an edited draft will be tabled for further consultation. The intention is to use the actual 2-day event to focus on some of the more difficult and challenging issues. The hope is that by October much of the substance will already have been covered by the delegates and that the actual consultation will result in a final document which will enjoy broad consensus.
 
 

 

 

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Lyn @ the 32nd General Assembly of the ICW 16/10/2009

In October 2009, the 32nd General Assembly of the International Council of Women was hosted by the National Council of Women in South Africa. As part of the activities, they asked Lyn to chair and help organise a full day seminar on the topic “Caring for Women and Children Living with AIDS”

 The following reports were part of NCW news, the Journal of the National Council of Women, Volume 79, Number 1, published in March 2010.

Feedback from Participants

Our Seminar on “Woman and children suffering from HIV/AIDS” chaired by Lyn van Rooyen of CARIS, the Christian AIDS Resource and information Service, was a revelation to most of us, and there were many tears. Many of those attending took a pledge to assist AIDS victims in the future.

Jeanne Luyt, SA NCW President

The excellent presentation of the numerous top speakers at the seminar touched the audience. The emotion was real when speakers mentioned personal experiences.

Cosima Schenk-Incoming President

Participants were stimulated by informative lectures and discussion of important issues for women. I congratulate NCW South Africa on the Seminar addressing issues relating to HIV/AIDS. The high standard of speakers put this important issue in perspective.

Dame Judith A Parker - a returning board member from Australia.

The day spent with well-informed speakers on HIV/AIDS was inspiring. To know that the passion and knowledge of so many must surely bring solutions, and is a large step forward.

Elizabeth Bank – New Zealand

A major seminar on the subject of HIV/AIDS, and its effects on women both as carers and victims, was arranged in South Africa as part of the Conference. 1000 people die every day in South Africa as a result of AIDS. Many informative contributions came from groups, both black and white, working in this field, together with many health experts, speaking on subjects such as “Stigma and Attitudes”, “Reality of living with HIV/AIDS”, “HIV, Gender and Violence” and “Mother to child transmission”. The need to persuade people to take the antiretroviral drugs, which can help against the disease, particularly in children, is a constant struggle, as there is some local mistrust that medicine can in fact make the disease worse. The role of women as Carers is vital, although many are also victims of the disease, and many widows and older women are left to care for orphans with little support. The related questions of domestic violence, and of women and rape were also included.

Report to ECICW members from Grace Wedekind, ECICW President.

At the Gala dinner - Janet Louis, SA NCW President; Jackie Reymann; Jeanne Luyt; Cosima Schenk, incoming president ICW, Lyn van Rooyen

Report on Seminar and presentations

By Mrs Vera Oosthuizen, Methodist Women’s Auxiliary

The venue was ideal, as the hotel is in spacious grounds away for the city. Despite the horrendous state of the roads and the volume of traffic – let alone the standard of driving – the hotel is accessible within reasonable travel time, and parking available at the conference centre.

Delegates were seated at long tables – the public address system operated well and clear laptop presentations were made. Tea was available in the foyer, served by pleasant and efficient waitresses. Excellent lunches were served in one of the many restaurants. The comfort of the ± 200 delegates was of prime importance.

The president of ICW, Dr Anamah Tan, welcomed delegates and dedicated the seminar to the late Shirley-Anne Munyan who was a loyal supporter of the Council. Several tributes were paid.

Another welcome visitor was one of our members, an Appeal Court Judge, Sharmin Ebrahim, who had driven all the way from Bloemfontein to spend an evening with us before attending the Seminar.

Ms Lyn van Rooyen, Programme Manager, CARIS (Christian AIDS Resource and Information Service), in the Chair, set the scene for the speakers, who among them have many awards and distinctions. Each speaker promised to make a difference to people affected by HIV/AIDS. It is necessary to move from head knowledge to lip knowledge and to make our voices heard. Delegates had the opportunity to join in a pledge to make a difference in their communities.

Professor Glenda Gray – Director of Perinatal HIV research unit, Associate Professor of Paediatrics.

Theme: Paediatrics and SA Aid Vaccine Initiative – the Impact of HIV on Woman and children in South Africa.

When Professor Gray started research of HIV, three women in 100 were infected. This rapidly became three in 10. Most deaths in hospitals are due to HIV/AIDS, which is no longer an exotic disease. The Government has not been good at acknowledging the disease, so woman especially, took the Government to task and managed to obtain anti-retroviral medicine.

Globally, two million children are living with HIV. There is a slow decline in the death rate because of the availability of ARV medicines. Among adults, HIV is found in al professions and walks of life. In one year, 4000 teachers died, and there is also much absenteeism. In South Africa, the psychological/economic ramifications are very serious and here the infant mortality rate is increasing. For women being tested and taking the correct medicine the tide is turning. However, TB (especially the drug-resistant type) is on the rise.

The cost to South Africa is 4 billion dollars, with 900 million dollars spent on medicines and vaccine research. It takes many years to produce the necessary vaccines for various diseases. No vaccine is 100% effective, as it must act as rapidly as the infector, which is very rapid in HIV. The vaccine must also be diverse to cover the diversity of HIV. No person is ever cleared of HIV infection. In 1999, Eskom and the Department of Health funded HIV vaccines. No animal carriers were used for testing, as this must involve adolescents, a very difficult undertaking. They form 1/5 of the world population, with 85% living in developing countries. For nursing mothers, the vaccine must be administered for the duration of breastfeeding. HIV was identified in the 1980’s and the drug AZT was widely used in 1993.

Science is very important in the control and cure of HIV. In Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) the risk of transmission depends on the level of the disease, whether it is in-utero or at delivery or during breastfeeding. African mothers face the deaths of their babies through either breastfeeding or the onset of acute diarrhoea from whatever food is available. An infected woman loses her immunity and treatment therapy is too late at birth.

How can women/mothers help to minimize or eradicate HIV? Many women are already infected and also caring for HIV families. These women still need to lobby government and have political commitment. Sadly, research favours other epidemics and diseases. There is also social resistance to ARV drugs – patients fear the stigma. Research must be ongoing. Mauritius, the Seychelles and South Africa are the only African countries to contribute towards research.

Charlene Smith – Journalist and Author:

Subject: Surviving rape and HIV

The global situation for women is worsening. Charlene paid tribute to Fran Cleaton-Jones (Advisor: Child, Family and Youth) who lobbied repeatedly for DNA database, as rapists are always involved in other crimes. In this country, policing and rape care is minimal. If the world relied on politicians we would still be in skins and hunting.

There is power in each one of us. We are helpless until we act, insignificant until we step forward. No one can hear us until we speak. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world” We become extraordinary when we achieve impossible goals. We must acknowledge events, try to go forward, be positive, believe in ourselves, and the human spirit and have courage. A sense of humour is important, as is humility. We must never discriminate, as that exposes insecurity. An attitude of gratitude should prevail with an awareness of the planet, which we should then protect for our children. Only then can we cope with rape. Gang rape is perpetrated 40% of the time, so immediate testing for HIV is imperative. As a rape victim, Charlene was the first person to agitate for ARV medication. Too little is done to extend treatment and care to rape victims, especially as regards the side effects. The stigma attached to rape means that women receive no support, especially from other woman. Fewer than 3% of rapists are convicted. Why is there no campaign against rape?

Concern for physical health come first, eg testing for HIV and Hepatitis B. Psychological counseling is not the immediate necessity, and can follow when the victim is ready. Local police officers are ignorant of interview techniques and often don’t visit the scene at all. Police intervention is lacking, so no arrests are made despite 6-8 rape cases each week. Very low statistics are recorded because of poor policing.

Rape may very well be the result of increased drinking by young women. Rape also results in 20% of reported HIV. In South Africa, 1 in 4 men admitted rape, some repeatedly. Fewer than 15% of reports results in arrest, fewer than 3% in conviction.

“Protecting women and girls is how we protect the world” – Sarah Brown. The first post-rape protection is ARV medication to prevent HIV, and medication to prevent pregnancy. The second is to know the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (vomiting, pain, weight loss then gain, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, addictive behavior). Then we must move on and not remain locked in the rape.

Professor Ezra Chitando – EHAIA (Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa) programme Of World Council of Churches.

Subject: Stigma and Attitudes

“It is better to build boy than to repair me.” A social vaccine is needed to build better boys and men. The story is told of a little boy called Doubt, who was HIV positive and dying. His death started and initiative to turn doubt into hope. Another story, in the Bible, tells of a huge crowd being fed. It numbered 5000 not counting women and children. Even then, men had n perspective and interests apart from men. Yet HIV statistics include women and children. They are counted. They are counted too as carriers, survivors and volunteer workers. Grannies also have roles as carers though they may not know where the next meal is coming from. HIV has instigated an epidemic of stigma and condemnation. “What did she do that she now has HIV? What did she do to deserve that? The victim lives a life of silence, secrecy, shame, hopelessness and despair. Her gender is against her. It is already difficult to be a woman in an African patriarchal culture, especially if she has the “woman’s disease”. As hard as it is to be a woman, it is doubly difficult to be Black. Africa is politically and economically poor.

Life is a struggle for an orphaned child living with adults in the role of parents. Government help is slow and erratic. Politicians don’t count women and children except for voting. Ministers of the Church don’t count women and children except as bodies to fill churches, employers except to fill quotas. Where would the world, and Africa, be without women and children? They must become the part of the community that count, have a sense of responsibility and enter into strategic partnerships. The mothers must grow the boys into men that count.

There is now a fatigue about the HIV/AIDS problem. But we cannot afford to be tired. Ahead is a long winding road, but we cannot afford to give up.

DOUBT MUST BECOME HOPE AND PROMISE.

GOD BLESS AFRICA

Ms Toni Zimmerman – Individual living with HIV

Topic: Challenging assumptions of who is vulnerable

“Look at me! I’m 42 and have had HIV for 20 years. That doesn’t open up any dating possibilities.”

Toni is the eldest daughter of an Afrikaans preacher living in a small town. At the age of 22 she found herself HIV positive, not married, pregnant and without a partner. He deserted her.

The first ten years of illness were years of breakdown, with everything lost. Toni had known nothing of HIV, and indeed nothing of life.  At that time there was no treatment for the disease in South Africa. The emotional battle started with having to tell her parents, and Toni’s father just said, “What can we do?” knowing that the stigma is more killing than the virus. Toni’s mother blamed herself. Toni had no medicine through the pregnancy and birth and the little boy was diagnosed as HIV positive. In 1996, Toni became ill and prepared her family for her death. The next year her 7 year-old son died. Suffering HIV was not as bad as losing her child. Things were not good, with no work, no partner and no son. The family suffered, afraid that Toni would succumb because she wasn’t fighting for life.

Then Toni started dancing classes, Latin American and ballroom, and entered the world championship. The second ten years of living with HIV were years of recovery. An ARV drug programme was started, leading to good health and work opportunities. Women have issues – self-image, self-confidence and self-esteem. Toni couldn’t look in a mirror because of a side effect of ARV treatment – fat in the body. This caused deep depression, as her work entailed travel and overnight stays in hotel rooms lined with mirrors. A huge reality check forced Toni to make decisions. Would she remain depressed or become grateful for her health? She learned to groom herself, look in the mirror and say, “You’re OK!”

Toni is blessed with having education, her parents, her work and medical aid. So she must give hope to women who face walls and teach healthy living and the rights of women. Thanks to science she will survive another ten years.

Mrs Emily Tjale

Subject: Caring for HIV at grassroots

Emily’s family – brother, sister and nieces – has HIV. It is important to disclose the status in order to seek help and possible treatment. Child-headed families have no property rights as these are taken over by the adult family members. The women have to act as social workers and caregivers and mothers. Physical setbacks are enormous, with people having to walk ± 5km for water, which is then paid for. Local leaders scorn the caregivers, calling them names. Referrals to clinics and health professionals are not honoured.

Emily runs an academy for caregivers. Even then she was told that the cost of attending this ICW Assembly could feed 5 families. Caregivers need women (especially white women) to lobby Government, though it is essential to have relevant information and statistics. The United Nations Assembly approved a resolution to make caregivers professional workers.

Ms Carol Dyanti – Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry

Topic: Practical support of children affected by HIV in Soweto

“No man stands as tall as he who stops to help a child” Greek proverb

“Nothing pays more dividends than attending to the needs of the child” Nelson Mandela

The impact on the child affected by HIV is mainly psycho-emotional. There is the loss of the family unit. There may be no schooling because he is caring for the family. Constant trauma is suffered because of the ongoing infection through the family. The child is moved from home to home as each ne family is infected. A great lack of communication exists between parents and teenagers with the result that young girls are not receiving sex education, and pregnancies occur. Grannies are bewildered, as they live by their own standards of the past.

Programmes designed to help children are facing the loss of funding, as psychological needs, are not seen as important by donors. Money is required to supply physical, education and cultural support. Children have a right to protection, spiritual upliftment, and education, health care, nutrition and family preservation. The last is the right of parents as well along with housing assistance and participation in awareness campaigns and social upliftment. In other words, the spirit and values of UBUNTU.

“Race Against Time” by Stephen Lewis is recommended reading.

Dr Adrienne Wulfsohn – Family Medicine, University of Witwatersrand

Theme: Domestic Violence – The Silent Epidemic

Domestic violence is a greater epidemic than any other. Statistics reveal that one in two children will be sexually abused, and one in three boy children. Adrienne herself survived domestic assault for twelve years. This involved rape, verbal/financial/psychological abuse. She was unable to stop it and allowed abuse to her child. She was also too embarrassed to report it.

Domestic violence occurs and can take the form of verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse, sexual intimidation and stalking. If reported, police may advise against a court case. There is now a Domestic Violence Act and a Child Care Act, also Child Justice.

Adrienne’s husband threatened the family, including children aged 7 years and 16 months respectively, and displayed a firearm. This threat occurred in 2007 and there has been no police action at all since then. Officialdom doesn’t help, as court hours are 9h00 – 12h00 and 14h00 – 15h00. The court must ensure that the Domestic violence Act fits the circumstances. The police have certain duties to fulfill – currently there are more than 95 000 reported cases, each needing compulsory HIV testing, services to the victims of trauma and enrolment on the sexual register (if appropriate). Adrienne’s case took eight months to process to the final order. The Child Care Act is not yet fully operational and a child may have to testify in front of the perpetrator. Education is needed so that police and officers of the court can carry out their duties properly.

Dr Carol Hofmeyr – Keiskamma Trust, Eastern Cape

Topic: Confrontic AIDS and poverty with Art in a small Eastern Cape Community.

The Keiskamma River mouth is in a beautiful part of the country. Sadly the harshness of life there results in 2 to 3 funerals each week. Poverty there means not knowing where the next meal is coming from, having furniture and possessions put out by the local council and a husband with no job. The only riches are cattle. Carol showed slides of a tapestry created by the local women depicting the history of the area including the conquest of the Xhosa nation by the British. This tapestry was exhibited by the National Arts Festival and now hangs in the Parliament building. All art appeals to people in a way that nothing else can.

Another tapestry is based on the Issenheim Altar triptych, which depicts the dying Christ. In the modern version, a Xhosa woman is the centre of the altarpiece – a dying AIDS victim. The Issenheim figures were victims of plague, with the 21st century deaths attributed to AIDS. Women embroidered scenes of good times and happy events in the community, also forms of worship, funerals (very important in their culture) and gravestones. This tapestry, 6m x 4.5m was exhibited on World Aids Day and also in St James Cathedral, Toronto.

Disease, especially HIV, cannot be treated if poverty is nearby. Woman want help for the men who stay at home and drink and beat their wives. There is a need to train and change men, starting with the child.

Ms Thembe Shongwe – Shiselweni Home-Based Care Programme, Swaziland

Subject: Caring for people living with HIV in low resource setting. Challenges of people living with HIV – Mother to Child transmission and stigma

Thembe told a personal story of the work being done by 500 trained carers, many infected with HIV. They ask no recognition for the work they do, sharing food and clothing and holding the hands of the sick people. Their motivation is “love thy neighbor” and they share with the have-nots. Under-resourcing is in the households and there is never a complete set of requirements. A bed-bath became a floor-bath with now towel or rags available, certainly no medicine, gloves, linen or soap. Health services are not available at all hours or even accessible – a visit to the clinic costs R100. There is no clean water, wood for fires must be fetched, and even food such as fruit is subject to the seasons. The resources are the women with their selflessness, dedication, laughter, music and sharing of everything. They have learned the lesson that the disease is for everyone, not just prostitutes. The “vision and the mission” of Shiselweni is to be the hands and feet of Christ in the community. Poor people are unselfish, giving time and knowledge, using whatever is available, begging and borrowing. Worthy care is family involvement, though political and traditional leadership must be included.

Mother to Child transmission is a major concern. Childbirth and care of the infant take part within the extended family, especially where polygamy is practiced. The mother has to accept the situation, and turn to the elderly people for counseling. However, the community needs to be educated that HIV is not the disease of witchcraft. The stigma of having HIV results in sufferers isolating themselves, being excluded by other people. Women lose their conjugal rights, are forbidden to touch food and face hostility from other wives. The only hope is treatment and encouragement to persevere.

“Women, walk on fast, you’re on the right track”

 

 

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Nelis and Lyn @ Understanding and Mainstreaming HIV & AIDS-Competence For Churches 10/09

Nelis reports: 

From 12-15 October, 2009, Lyn and Nelis attended the consultation on “Understanding and mainstreaming HIV & Aids-competence for churches” in Nairobi, Kenya. This consultation has been organised by EHAIA (Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa – World Council of Churches) Southern & Eastern Africa.The group
 
For four days participants representing the following organisations met: Family Health International- Regional Technical Advisor for Children and Youth (Africa), Fikelela AIDS Project-Anglican Diocese of Cape Town, The Constellation, CORAT Africa, EHAIA Eastern Africa Region, PACANET, FECCLAHA, African Christian Health Association Platform, CUAHA, CARIS, FECCLAHA, All Africa Conference of Churches, World Council of Churches, DIFAEM, Kenya Competence Trust, Southern African Research Council, FOCCISA, Heythrop College, CABSA, United Bible Societies Africa, UNERELA+, EHAIA Southern Africa Region, Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya, St Pauls University, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Nazarene Compassionate Organisation.
 
Space was created to listen to numerous stories from participants and organisations.Learning about SALT in KithutuniThese were complemented by a field visit to a community programme facilitated by the Salvation Army in Kithutuni .All participants were deeply touched by the courage, strength and hope of the HIV action group they met.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You can read a report on the visit from the AIDS Constellation here.
  
 Discussions during the consultation focussed on the following aspects of HIV competence:
  • A definition of HIV competent congregations
  • Approach to HIV competence
  • Measurement of HIV competence
  • Scale
  • Addressing issues and drivers of the epidemic
  • Faith context
  • Service and systems

Continuous discussion on the different aspects of HIV competent congregations resulted in very stimulating guidelines for taking up the challenge to grow to be compassionate HIV competent communities.

All participants agreed that the consultation challenged them to take lessons learned to their own organisations and programmes and to find ways of implementing what they have learned.

 It was not all serious work! Ricardo kept everyone awake and invlolved and even inspired Lyn, Marai and April to be an elephant!

Lyn, Marian and April

 

 

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Nonceba @ bua@AC - 09/2009

The AIDS Consortium is a human rights organisation aimed at promoting a non discriminatory response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic based on people’s basic human rights as enshrined in South Africa’s constitution. Through capacity building, networking, information dissemination and community engagement programs, The AIDS Consortium helps CBOs NGOs, FBOs and individuals coordinate and strengthen their response to HIV and AIDS in their communities.

AC has monthly forums or sessions called bua@AC, these sessions encourage networking, comradeship and skills transfer, debates and discussions that challenge the myths, beliefs and behaviours that continue to drive incidence, human rights violations and stigma and discrimination. Being part of these meetings is such a mind blowing experience; especially because you get to hear from other people, their experiences and challenges but you also hear of success stories.

Nonceba reports that the theme for the month was Monitoring & Evaluation of programmes.

This month’s focus was on measuring the work that we do in our communities and how successful are we in making sure that we are achieving our goals. So this month’s bua session was challenging organisations and showing them the importance of monitoring and evaluating their projects or programmes.

They also introduced a program called  SOWETO CARE SYSTEM database software, which is designed to facilitate administration of NPOs, focussing on home-based care, orphans and vulnerable children, and voluntary counselling and testing. Clients, employees, home-visits, client needs and programs can be entered and updated, and comprehensive reports for management and donors are easily generated. The system is easy to use and flexible

About the HEROES Campaign

The “HEROES campaign” is an AIDS Consortium initiative responding to the negative perception of classifying HIV and AIDS as an outcome of sexual excess and low moral character. This campaign is a call to prominent people to ‘come out’ and normalise HIV, hence the campaign pay off line – HIV…share your journey. This month’s hero Mettah Nyathi who is a traditional healer who has been living with HIV for more than four years. As a traditional healer,  being HIV positive herself, she sees her role in her community as that of bridging the gap between traditional and western ways of healing. She has been on ARV therapy for more than two years and is a witness to what ARVs can achieve – “There is no traditional medicine that can treat HIV, but ARV work – they boost the immune system” she says. Mettah is very determined to drive more collaboration between traditional healers, NGOs and clinic in her community!

This month’s hero sparked an intensive debate during the session on ARV’s and traditional medicine, unfortunately she wasn’t present at the meeting because she couldn’t miss the bus to go fetch her monthly medication from the clinic.

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Lyn @ OM/Pro Christo Missions Conference. 8/09

CABSA realises that missionaries, especially those in Africa and Asia, have a specific need to be “HIV competent” and to deal with the challenges HIV poses in their work. 

CABSA uses various opportunities to make this group aware of the services we provide that can support and equip them in their often very challenging work. 

CABSA was for the second year represented at the Missionsfest in Pretoria, and also placed advertisements in the Missionsfest magazine. We use our relationship with the Christian Literature Fund to advertise to users of their catalogue, many of whom are involved in missions work. 

In August, CABSA was for the first time represented at the PRO Christo/OM Missions Conference in Kabwe in Zambia.

More than 500 missionaries and organisations from Africa and abroad used every minute of the three and a half days to equip themselves to do their work as well as possible.

Nico and Alma Leonard, trained CoH facilitators from AIDS Hope South Africa presented a lively and well-attended introductory HIV workshop.

Lyn van Rooyen, representing CABSA, speaks of the eagerness of especially the Zambians to learn.  “There was a huge amount of interest in our stall and so many requests for Channels of Hope training, or any resources.  The booklets I took were hopelessly inadequate.  We also had a number of applications for resource packs.”

This interest from people and organisations which might not otherwise hear of CABSA, emphasised the importance of CABSA’s representation and participation at a diverse range of events.

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Tunde at The International Conference on Missions in Cameroon. 8/09

Channels of Hope facilitator, 'Tunde Fowe, represented CABSA in Cameroon in August 2009

The weather was unusually bright and traffic unexpectedly light when I made my way to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Wednesday the 5th of August, 2009 for a planned trip to Douala in Cameroon for an International Conference on Missions. The flight this bright afternoon was a combined flight to Douala, Cameroon and Libreville, Gabon and it was the only one flying the route that day. As expected, it was full to capacity. I was pretty fortunate to get a seat on this “overbooked” flight.

When I got to the airport, it became obvious to me that apart from those of us who were going for a short trip or probably returning from a conference in Nigeria, this flight was a choice flight for Nigerian businessmen who have interests in the West Africa sub-region. I could tell this from the heavy luggages that were being checked in at the counter.

Time was short, so I made my way quickly through the immigration to the boarding gate and then onto the plane. The less than two hours flight afforded me the opportunity to take a well-deserved nap in the middle of a “crazy” week. The bright clouds completed the picture and I had a sweet dream. I dreamt of a transformed Africa. I dreamt of a continent freed from the shackles of systemic poverty, gender discrimination and social injustice. I dreamt of empowered communities that could adequately respond to the issues of drought and massive erosions. Sweetest of all, I dreamt of a continent where HIV and AIDS was no longer a challenge. In the midst of this came the voice of the captain over the loudspeakers, instructing the cabin crew to prepare us for landing. I felt upset. I wished the flight were longer. Before I could think of a way back into my dream, the plane landed at the Douala International Airport.

BernardWe were welcomed at the airport by a young vibrant man by the name of Bernard. I got to learn that there were three of us from Nigeria on that flight who were headed for the conference. The first is an American professor teaching in a Nigerian University, the other a pastor of a Church in central Lagos and my humble self. We were huddled into a saloon car and started off a four-hour journey to Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital where the conference was billed to hold.  

The conference started off on that Thursday morning on the campus of the Protestant University in Yaounde on a beautiful note, with participants streaming in from all over Cameroon. The conference was attended by over Participants200 persons who are pastors, missionaries and evangelists. We learnt this is the first time that Protestants and Pentecostals would meet together under the same roof. This we believe is a new beginning for the Church in Cameroon. This first day featured talks from different speakers (only one delivered his talk in English, the others in French) on the theme of the Conference, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields…” (John 4:35).

I was originally billed to speak that first day but due to an unfortunate mix-up, it did not happen. So, my talk was shifted to the next day (8:30-10:00am). Friday morning came and I mounted the dais. I started off by introducing CABSA and what she does. Next, I sampled the understanding of the participants on the subject of HIV and AIDS and its mode of transmission. I got some enlightened responses, but there was one that elicited a mixture of shock and laughter. A pastor who incidentally is a “deliverance minister” explained that HIV is a spell cast on a person or family. He went on to recall a vivid experience he had while “ministering deliverance” to an entire family including a newly-born child that was afflicted by this spell, leaving the man of the house dead. The climax of his story was when he described what happened during the “deliverance session”. He claimed that the “demon” responsible for this spell called HIV spoke up through a family member and identified itself. The demon, according to him, was promptly dealt with and cast out thus leaving the other members of the family safe from further afflictions. I realised that there was still an entrenched ignorance about HIV and its transmission even in that audience.

Next, I asked them to describe their feelings and reactions to the word, AIDS. I got some very horrible expressions like, “the worst kind of sin”, “reward for marital unfaithfulness”, “a just punishment from God” and so on. I was however glad when two participants mentioned words like, “compassion” and “dignity”.

This set the stage for me to do the “hypothetical scenario” exercise. Because of the large number, I demarcated the hall into three, introduced my three potential patients to them and asked them to “vote” for any of them as they deemed fit by moving to the corner designated for the names. After each round, I asked for opinions from those who moved and those who did not. Though it was not an ideal setting, the exercise surfaced a number of assumptions and ingrained prejudices.

I rounded off the session with a brief talk based on John 4 (where the Conference theme was drawn), on the encounter of Jesus with the woman of Samaria. I pointed out that Jesus broke a number of barriers to minister to that woman by the well. He broke a racial barrier (Judah and Samaria), a religious barrier (Jewish and Samaritan), a gender barrier (man and woman), a moral barrier (a righteous religious leader and a “prostitute”) and a social barrier (a respected personality and a “recluse”). I briefly showed how Jesus broke these existing barriers and prejudices and challenged them as religious leaders to do the same in the context of HIV and AIDS.

The scene that followed is better experienced than explained. An atmosphere of sobriety and calmness fell upon the hall as the leaders went before God in repentance. I called on a Church leader to round off the session in prayer. I felt much fulfilled after the session especially as I saw people who came to ask me more about CABSA and expressing their desire to become better equipped to adequately respond to the issues of HIV and AIDS on their return home.

My impression is that it was a good thing CABSA got involved in this epoch-making conference. There’s no doubting the fact that this is a good investment in the Cameroon Church.

My return journey back home is an experience I do not wish to recall. I missed my flight due to no fault of mine, was virtually stranded in Douala, and was left at the mercy of touts. Thankfully, there was another flight 26 hours after on Saturday. The return trip appeared to take longer than the previous one. The “ride” was bumpy. I felt uncomfortable putting on the same clothes I wore the previous day. I was tired but dared not sleep. I wanted to monitor the flight so that it does not take me beyond my destination. This time I could not dream.

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Lyn @ When Religion and Health Align: Mobilizing Religious Health Assets for Transformation. 13-16/7/09

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From 13 – 16 July Lyn attended a conference presented by the African Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP).

The papers and presentations of  this thought provoking conference is available  here . You can read more about the conference in the attached newsletter.

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Christian AIDS Taskforce @ CARIS.07/09

 

CARIS VISIT REPORT

Greeting in the wonderful name of our Lord.

My visit to CARIS South Africa was very short yet fruitful I learnt a lot and was encouraged in what I was doing. It was a learning and refreshing curve for me. I learnt some new things and reminded on what I knew. 

Lessons Learnt.

·        Monitoring and evaluating. I realized that the log sheet was a good way of monitoring and evaluating. The way my log sheet is designed, it’s effective on statics and aspects like client expectations are left out. I had numbers but did know how many found the information they were looking for and vice versa.
·        Downloading information from the net. I realized that you have to buy appropriate gestates i.e. when buying I have to consider what it will used for and if it will be effective etc. It will be a bit slow using dial up.
·        The importance of a collection policy: It helps you to realize what is good to have and the must have material.
·        The importance of involving local partners by these I mean companies/ people who have services or things that I need e.g. printing, photocopying, etc these can be asked to donate their services or what they have.
·        A Resource Room Advisory Committee representing the users of the Resource Centre as well as representatives of the organization it is linked to. To help ensure that the Centre meets the needs of its users.
·        As the Resource Centre we must have a mission and a vision not necessarily the CAT one. It does not mean that we are now independent of the mother body. The vision and mission guides us as a centre.
·        CARIS has a good classification scheme which is user friendly. Lyn said she doesn’t mind us adapting it.

Other Business

·        To help me she also printed out a manual on Planning and Managing a HIV and AIDS Resource Centre in Faith based Settings. The points I highlighted are explained in depth in the manual which I find user friendly as well.
·        Being in CARIS as the Resource Room Officer I managed to get some book from Lyn. She allowed me to go through some of her material and choose the ones I would like. She downloaded about 100 books for me on CD.
·        She also ordered some material over the net which will be sent to CARIS and we will collect from her.

She was a great help and inspiration to me.

CAT RESOURCE ROOM OFFICER

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Lyn @ Come Let Us Reason Together. 7/09

From 6-8 July 2009 Lyn and Board member Rev Johan Pieters attended “Come Let Us Reason Together”, organised by Norwegian Church AID, which brought together a group of stakeholders in a consultation on the issues of boys, men and masculinity.

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Nonceba @ Prescription for Life in Soweto. 06/09

“Prescription for Life” - Advocacy by children in Soweto

Nonceba Ravuku 

About “Prescription for Life” 

Young people around the world are being encouraged to take action to help children living with HIV through an action guide launched on Universal Children’s Day, 20 November.

The guide, “Prescription for Life” provides information and resources for schools, families, faith groups and communities to empower young people to write letters to pharmaceutical companies and governments to improve testing and treatment for infants and children living with HIV. 

Writing letters

I had an amazing time on the 4 June 2009, a school allowed Paul Jeffrrey and myself to come in and take photos of the kids writing letters to the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoeledi requesting improved treatment and facilitities for children living with HIV. This was an amazing session with the Grade 7s from Isaacson Primary School in Rockville, Soweto. 

The previous week I went to the same class to have dialogue with the teenagers on HIV and challenges children who are infected and affected by HIV face in their communities and at school. I was amazed by the vigilance, honesty and willingness to be involved in programs that would make their environment and communities a better place. 

I was also saddened by the burden that these kids carry in their homes and schools, how desperate they are to see change in their communities. 

So writing letters to the Minister of Health was such a motivation for them, knowing that they may make a difference in somebody else’s life.

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Nonceba at AIDS Consortium Gauteng BUA. 06/09