Thursday, May 18, 2006

RDC Competence

Today Jean-Louis is on his way back from a 2 weeks mission to RDC. I joined him overthere last week. Wished I could share with you electronically the amount of energie that is put in creating Aids Competent Societies across the country.

After a sharing and learning week three months ago, now a young and energetic team of 4 from the Belgium Cooperation (BTC) in collaboration with the national programme are coaching facilition teams in various provinces - self assessments are taking place several times a week at different places and in different groups (church groups, villages, youth groups, companies, police...).
We attended two self assessment sessions in communities in Kinshasa. Some direct (confirmed) lessons from there:
the process creates demand for basic information on HIV/AIDS as well as for testing facilities;
facilitation skills influence the power of the process and need to be nurtured continuously;
people are eager and more then ready to own the issue and to act;
need to acompagny communities in realising their plans - f.e. link them to partners for example for testing services.
During the week I worked with a team of 2 on a communication plan for the network of all those involved in AIDS Competence in the country. Email discussion alone clearly doesnot work - but almost everybody has a mobile phone and the use of it is impressing. So the existing yahooplatform will be complemented with SMS, telephone conferences and a green line which allows members to call for free to a coordinating team. The team will also develop a monthly bulletin with formal and informal news which will be shared on paper and electronically accross the country.

When I took the plane back home Jean-Louis travelled further to Bas-Congo: I am sure he will update us on his experiences there.
The Constellation will accompagny the going to scale (country-wide!) of the approach in RDC over the coming year. Many of the issues to attend sound familiar to us as the Constellation: how to coordinate the process, how to transfer the facilitation skills, how to capture the experiences, how to accompagny communities in realising their plans towards more. I am convinced enormous mutual learning between RDC and the Constellation will take place in the coming year - be part of it!

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