News in South Africa
The answer lies within
Written by John Muir, OLF Strategic Development Officer
Despite 20 years of collective efforts by government, civil society, the private sector and the international donor community, the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to progress rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is considered to have the worst pandemic in the world with the highest number of PLWAs (People living with HIV/AIDS) and HIV infection rates estimated at over 20% in the sexually active age groups (UNAIDS estimates). HIV/AIDS strategies to date have focused predominately on commodity-driven interventionist approaches that have sought to address the immediate needs and short-term challenges of the HIV pandemic but have often failed to acknowledge and strengthen existing community capacity to respond. As documented by UNAIDS and experiences around the world social mobilization at community level is a key ingredient in fostering behavioural change and promoting systems of care and support in the fight against HIV/AIDS and is foundational to an expanded response. In short, the approach needs to be a community-driven, facilitated one.
There is now evidence that communities can develop and implement effective action plans with measurable indicators. Despite the increasing recognition that effective responses need to be community driven and owned, methodologies used to this end often fail to generate measurable results as well as collective synergy among community stakeholders. The OLIVE LEAF Foundation (OLF) has embraced a methodology to address the limitations of such approaches through the principle of CCEP, Community Capacity Enhancement Programme.
Community conversations were adopted by UNDP as a result of their success in creating transformation at both community and organisational level. The CCEP framework, through a participatory approach, facilitates the process of community capacity-building by helping communities identify, assess and respond to their own levels of awareness of - and vulnerability to - HIV/AIDS. The CCEP framework provides communities with a roadmap towards a mutually accepted level of competence that stimulates self-motivation, ownership and transfer of capacity to other individuals, institutions and communities. The CCEP framework draws extensively on OLF’s work with Community Mobilization and Capacity Building processes that has been used successfully in community programmes.
The most dynamic part of this journey is that moment when a community looks up and out and sees its ability, desire and need to amplify that which it has experienced, understood and embraced. Competency reflects that special, defining, watershed moment when one community embraces another and a new journey begins. Few if any doubt that this pandemic demands that you take the fight to it, a fatalistic, come what may approach must be snuffed at its inception.
The jewel in the crown of intervention is the youth. Therein lays a key to CCEP, schools! Vibrant, dynamic communities, influential, centre of learning formal and informal with the power to mould and shape behaviour. Practioners of CCEP methodologies should and must embrace these entities as fully functional communities which through their own HIV competency become powerful agents of change internally and externally.
For further information on the CCEP process and training methodology, please e-mail Oupa Mphuti on 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
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