Lyn's Comment: The term HIV competence is increasingly used to describe and efficient and effective response to HIV. This is also reflected in faith communities.
Lyn and Nelis attended a consultation on “Understanding and Mainstreaming HIV & AIDS-Competence for Churches” (read more...) and we hope to reflect the concept increasingly in the work CABSA does.
After this conference CABSA friend and colleague Dr Sue Parry from EHAIA wrote the following in e-mail communication:
"Just this morning, I was in the chapel near my work and reflecting on the story from Luke 18: 35-42 (the blind beggar who received his sight) and it seemed so pertinent to our work with HIV competence. We have all these workshops, awareness creation, trainings etc with church leaders, HIV coordinators etc but the question remains: what do you WANT (me to do for you)? It goes back to this inner and outer competence. If we do not see the importance of HIV work and responses in our own lives, in our own communities, all these trainings are interesting academic exercises. The process of 'building a dream' makes one really look inwards and outwards: what do we really want for ourselves, our families and our church?
I believe that unless we focus our attention towards what we really see as need and want to change, everything else is like floating information with rather diluted action and response. Yes we are doing something, which may be very noble, but is it really making a positive difference and is it all we can do, or is it all we want to do?
.... Again, from the morning thoughts, the blind beggar did not ask for his circumstances to be changed, for a caregiver, for a job, for dignity, for companionship on his life journey, all he asked for was his sight. It was as though he was saying, just give me my sight, I can do the rest myself. If church leadership sees the value of such HIV competence processes, they can do the rest themselves - they know how to mobilise people, they can find the missing information and training and so on. It is the vision that is lacking. After a claimed vision, comes motivation and passion and more than half the work is done."
HIV competence also formed part of the discussions and presentations at the Inter-faith Pre-Conference at the 4th SA AIDS Conference. You can download the presentations here