Africa: AIDS and African NGOs, 11/10/00

Africa: AIDS and African NGOs, 11/10/00

Africa: AIDS and African NGOs Date distributed (ymd): 001110 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +gender/women+ Summary Contents: This posting contains three notes with background and contact information on African NGO action on AIDS and related issues, in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda. The first two are from recent postings on the African Development Forum 2000 discussion, being moderated by Karin Santi of APIC. The ADF 2000 discussion is in its last month, preceding the African Development Forum meeting in Addis Ababa on December 3-7. For an archive of the discussion, or to sign up and post your own views in the remaining weeks, visit

The third note, on Uganda, comes from the on-line newsletter the Drum Beat. Additional related links not mentioned in that note can be found at the web site of the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET

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From: "Omololu Falobi" <> Subject: [adf2000-l] RE: ICTs and HIV/AIDS - Experience from Nigeria Date sent: Fri, 27 Oct 2000

I'll like to share our experience in Nigeria, regarding use of the internet in combating AIDS in resource-poor environment. I run an internet-based discussion forum and news group on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria called 'Nigeria-AIDS' (Web site: From an initial list of eight people in 1998 (when it was only a monthly bulletin on email) the e-forum currently has about 470 members who write in to exchange ideas and circulate urgent information on their work or the AIDS situation in Nigeria. Subscribers often forward messages on the forum to their own internal networks and listservs, leading to an estimated daily readership/hits of up to 1000.

Subscribers and visitors to the Nigeria-AIDS forum include individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, including: HIV/ AIDS NGOs and CBOs, donor agencies, people living with HIV/AIDS, the scientific community, media organisations, international organisations and UN agencies, the public service, educational establishments and human rights organisations, national and international NGO networks as well as health documentation and resource centres. Of the present number of subscribers to the forum, about half are based in Nigeria.

On the 'Nigeria-AIDS' forum, members discuss current issues and information about HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. They also receive the monthly Nigeria AIDS Bulletin, news and views on HIV/AIDS from Nigerians across the world, information about grants, resources, international job vacancies, upcoming conferences as well as research reports and other news relevant to Nigeria. Members can also post information about themselves or their organisations, or make inquiries on any health issue.

No one pays to access information on the 'Nigeria-AIDS' forum. Membership is free and open to anyone interested in HIV/AIDS or other health issues in Nigeria. Anyone can join by sending a blank email message to <> or leave at will by sending an 'unsubscribe' message. Messages on the forum are also archived on the web site: <>

The 'Nigeria-AIDS' forum is a project which I helped start in January 2000 in response to an identified need to get discussions about the HIV/AIDS situation in Nigeria out in the open and ensure stakeholders' participation in the HIV/AIDS policy formulation and implementation process in the country.

In more ways than one, the Nigeria-AIDS e-forum has helped guide the policy response and stakeholders' input into the HIV/AIDS policy formulation and implementation process. It has also helped forge greater networking among AIDS workers and exposed them to skills-building opportunities and best practices.

One of the weaknesses of the 'Nigeria-AIDS' forum is that it is intrinsically restrictive. It is not easily accessible to millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay for an e-mail account or internet time at cybercafes. But we know that the real need for HIV/AIDS is among the poorest of the poor, in slum settlements in our urban areas, in rural towns and villages where there are no cybercafes. We are currently exploring strategies to overcome this weakness.

The experience of the 'Nigeria-AIDS' forum has led to the creation of two other e-mail networks on other aspects about HIV/AIDS: 'Durban2000Community' , a news forum on the 13th International AIDS Conference which held in Durban, South Africa in July 2000 and 'Treatment-Access-Ng' (, an electronic list which discusses issues of access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care in the African context.

My experience with these e-forums has led me to realise the huge impact achievable with email networking. Even in resource-poor settings like Nigeria where internet costs are still very high, email is still a much more cheaper, immediate and effective medium for networking than say, the monthly newsletter or monthly meetings. It is an activity that a small organisation or a single individual with a PC and a vision can float and reach out to audiences near and wide.

Perhaps other ADF list members can share their experiences in this area.

Omololu Falobi Lagos, Nigeria Email:


Date sent: Tue, 07 Nov 2000 From: "Inter Africa Group" <> Subject: [adf2000-l] on-line and off in Ethiopia

Dear Colleagues:

We have been following this discussion with great interest and are pleased with how lively and dynamic it is. It is time we weighed in from the Horn of Africa. The purpose of this message is to describe what is being done from Ethiopia, and to request comments and suggestions for innovation from the list. We've also gathered a fair amount of ideas and inspiration from posts from other regions from this list.

One activity of an InterAfrica Group initiative called MESOB ( is in networking among efforts against HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. The project makes use of the Internet, informal consultation, meetings and print newsletters to network Who's Who, Who's Doing What and What Can Be Done.

We are trying to use ICT as a networking "tool among tools", along with more conventional forms of networking and communicating.

Of 300+ NGOs in Ethiopia, nearly half have some kind of Internet access. Also, there is an active, interested and well-informed Ethiopian Diaspora worldwide. The idea for networking has been to move the information in all directions according to both supply and demand.

The demand ranges from requests (from Ethiopian organizations) about resources for programs to models of programs elsewhere to vaccine research to (from abroad) information about who is active, what are they doing and how can people be linked.

One of the first things the project did was organize a meeting with some 25 organizations and individuals in Addis Ababa to improve awareness about ADF2000, the World Bank program in Ethiopia (one of two in Africa, the other is in Kenya), the National AIDS Council (organized under the direction of the President) and about the work each organization is doing. At this meeting we also asked what the information needs were, that MESOB could help meet, as we are, essentially part of an information and communication organization. The meeting included a wide range of organizations engaged in prevention and awareness, care and treatment and anti-discrimination.

We've begun trying to link the information sources with This has included thus far:

--sharing information with local Ethiopian organizations who are active, including national associations of HIV+ persons, NGOs, faith-based groups and international actors working in the country.

--using the Resource Center, our Research Assistants and a pretty healthy amount of web-research to find information organizations ask for and to get it to them.

--maintaining a kind of "Action Inventory" of the 100 or so organizations

--keeping this information up-to-date on-line at

--including information in a twice-monthly E-mail bulletin (MESOB Mail) on available resources, interested actors and sources of every kind of information desired.

--monitoring, participating in and promoting this discussion, as well as the PAHA discussion, which is focused on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia ( and a document library at

A little more about us, for the sake of context: InterAfrica Group (IAG) works in the Horn and is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Of the three networks IAG's NGO Networking Service program is most involved with, the MESOB network in (and beyond) Ethiopia is the most active, even though it is also the least institutionalized. It has proven, for us anyway, that networking is indeed a verb. (A "mesob", by the way, is a woven table with a common plate around which meals were (and are) shared in many parts of Ethiopia. There is room for all around the mesob, many contribute and many partake.)

We apologize for the length of this post. Again, this has been a fruitful electronic discussion for us to be part of and we appreciate all the posts that have come through.

Regards, The MESOB Team at InterAfrica Group's NGO Networking Service (Kongit, Martha, Renee and Jalal)


The Drum Beat - 69 - UGANDA - Partnerships & Linkages Nov. 6, 2000

from THE COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE partnership - The Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF, USAID, The CHANGE Project, WHO, BBC World Service, CIDA, Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Exchange, The European Union, Soul City, The Panos Institute, UNAIDS.

Director: Warren Feek Web Site:

This issue examines the use of communication in partnerships and linkages between social development organizations in Uganda. Focus is on the areas of HIV/AIDS, Women, and Children. Drawn from a paper commissioned from consultant, Rosamond Bakari.


1. Uganda has 16.6 million people with a 2.5% annual population growth rate. 90% work in rural areas. Urban growth rate is higher than population growth rate. 46% live in poverty. This has attracted over 2,000 national and international social development organizations, 50% the HIV/AIDS sector. The current national prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is about 12%. Many development organizations acknowledge that communication is an important part of their work. Most have yet to formalize and coordinate partnerships and linkages in an ongoing strategy. The HIV/AIDS sector is the strongest in communications; government policy has ensured that communication at all levels is an integral component.

2. Development of a Social Movement - The severity and scale of the social issues, including HIV/AIDS, demand a social movement approach to communication in Uganda. One core element of every social movement is the development of linkages between organisations and communities with similar interests. Developing those linkages is at the heart of strategy for many organisations. The public engagement, debate, dialogue and action that result is regarded by many as a major contributing factor to succesful action on HIV/AIDS and other issues. HIV rates have been significantly reduced in urban areas and have stabilized in rural areas. The percentage of pregnant women infected with HIV has declined from 30% to 10%. In the sector of Children, costs have been minimised, duplication avoided and local participation has been increased. Women's organisations have found success building coalitions around specific issues and events. However, there are obstacles, including competition for funding, which can lead to a reluctance to share information.


3. AIDS Control Programme (ACP) - established within the Ministry of Health to pursue partners at international, national and community levels. ACP had 5 main approaches including: an Information, Education and Communication campaign; STD control and prevention; blood monitoring; spiritual, physical and medical care and support; and infection control through trend analysis. Strategies included leaflets, radio and newspaper advertisements in English and local languages, TV programmes, public meetings, and personal contact. A collaborative approach was used with partners to develop a common strategy. Contact Dr. Joshua Musinguzi tel: 256 41 340874 ext 248.

4. The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) - set up by a small number of people who were either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. TASO works in 7 districts providing basic counseling and nursing skills to family members of people infected by HIV/AIDS, setting up counseling centers, establishing day centers that provide income-generating activities, and sponsoring HIV/AIDS orphans. TASO has links with regional and international organizations for exchange of information and data. Contact Sophia Mukasa Monico

5. AIDS Information Center (AIC) - a voluntary anonymous HIV testing body providing counseling services for 50,000 people a year. AIC strategies include leaflets, radio and newspaper advertisements. Currently AIC has centers in 22 districts working with grassroots groups. A post-test club, giving social and medical support in the form of linkages between individuals and organisations, as well as ongoing counseling and training for peer educators, condom promoters and reproductive health volunteers, is aimed at everyone who has been tested, regardless of the result. Contact Josephine Kalule tel: 256 41 347603.

6. National Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA) - is a support and advocacy group. Women are provided with health information and advice, training in income-generating activities for independence, and a quarterly newsletter. NACWOLA acknowledges that they became "established" through their early linkages with other NGOs. They have formed a partnership with TASO for "The Memory Project," which aims to help women and their children discuss AIDS and death openly, make plans for the children's future, and save family histories and childhood memories by writing them down. Contact Beatrice Were

7. Uganda AIDS Commission - the national coordinating body for all HIV/AIDS activities. Provides leadership, ensures fulfillment of the National Plan, and holds regular meetings to find out who is doing what, avoid duplication, and encourage collaboration. Produced a National Strategic Framework that covers a 5-year period. Devised a general strategy with adaptations to meet the needs of target groups through planning meetings with international, national, religious, community, public and private organizations and sectors. Contact Rosemary Mwesigwa tel: 256 41 273538/273231.

** Globally, 80 million unwanted pregnancies, 500,000 maternal deaths and 330 million new STIs annually - link to the full story in the Base-Line section of The Communication Initiative home page - now updated with fresh material every Tuesday and Thursday **


8. Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) - leader of the women's coalition on the Domestic Relations Bill (DRB), which consolidates all family related laws into 1 statute. A strategy for raising awareness about the DRB was formulated through collaboration among the Network's members. This included press conferences and statements, feature articles, letters of support sent to government officials, leaflets and pamphlets, workshops and public meetings. Contact Sheila Kawamara

9. Ministry of Gender, Labor & Social Development - implements the National Gender Policy. Actively seeks partners for training, technical services, advice and special events. Relies on a quarterly newsletter as main communication with organizations, individuals and the media. Provides "low key" support to the campaign for the DRB. Contact Julianna Kuruhiira tel: 256 41 251401/347854/5

10. Akina Mama Wa Afrika - a London-based pan-african NGO providing leadership training for women. Gained international support for DRB through an international conference. Strategy includes newspaper ads for events and publications aimed at individuals and groups. Partnerships are informal, relying on collaboration through coalitions. Contact Sandra Okoed

11. FIDA Uganda - The Association of Female Lawyers - a voluntary NGO actively pursuing linkages with individuals and groups, especially in rural areas, to change the inferior status of women. Believes the fight to eradicate poverty and give women equal rights are the same. FIDA advocates for individual women, educates and listens to community groups, lobbies for legislative reform, runs legal clinics in 4 districts, provides legal advice, runs a legal/credit service and a mobile legal aid clinic. They hold legal education seminars in collaboration with community groups and leaders. Contact Keith Kibirango


12. National Council for Children - coordinates, monitors and collaborates with groups and agencies working with children. Set up the Early Childhood Development Technical Forum that involves government and NGOs in a monthly meeting to review policy and make recommendations. The Council has its own strategy of press releases on government policies, but its main role is advocacy for children and partnerships with programmes. Contact Hilda Nankunda

13. Redd Barna - Norwegian Save the Children - an emergency relief organization that began by working with children affected by HIV/AIDS, and now works with those who have been sexually or economically exploited, affected by conflict and living on the street. It assists children in accessing the welfare system and provides out-of-school children with income-generating activities and counseling. Its policy is to always work in partnership with other organizations. Has established agreements with national groups and NGOs based on information sharing, funding and training. Contact Benon Webara tel: 25641341714/341693.

14. Straight Talk Foundation - targets adolescents with a message of communication for better health. Produces 2 monthly newspapers - "Straight Talk" for ages 15 to 24, and "Young Talk" for ages 10 to 14 that include information about reproductive and sexual health, and broadcasts a weekly radio show by and for youth. Distributes publications to NGOs and community groups to forge links. Has formal linkages with universities, the Ministry of Health, 3 other NGOs, and secondary schools. Contact Catherine Watson

* Please send items for The Drum Beat to the Editor - Deborah Heimann


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 12:00:43 -0500 Subject: Africa: AIDS and African NGOs

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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