Connecting local responses around the world
(This blog must be updated with all your corrections, as the vagaries of time are fast eroding its veracity. Please comment, and suggest your corrections to which we look forward and thank you in advance.)
Neither Doncil’s birthday party which ended at the early morning hour of 3:30 AM, nor the steady drizzle could dampen the spirit for the SALT visit. Instead, eagerly, and almost as meticulously as we planned we started for the Family Planning Association Building, on Oxford Street, in Post of Spain. However some of the participants who arrived directly were delayed and wet on arrival. Soon, everyone was seated in one big circle, and the SALT visit meeting rolled out as had been planned. The intro session with the fruit, where I became an olive which took up the hard-to-find water from the arid rocky deserts around the Mediterranean, signified the experiences of the communities. I continued that from these experiences, the olive synthesized the fruits of knowledge, which when pressed gave us olive oil, which we could also use to enlighten our way in life, just as the olive oil lights the lamps for the night.
Strengths at FPA:
Next was the strengths session, eliciting them from the pictures as seen by the various groups, into which the floor was divided by the facilitator, prior to the start of the exercise. The Strengths collated from the two sessions were:
Participation, Free Will, Team Spirit, discipline, Camaraderie, purpose driven, self confidence, boldness, appreciation of culture, diversity, creativity, Icons, Commonality of purpose, bond, unity of family-life, support, cooperation, security, commitment, dedication, empowerment, special skills, control.
To Use or Not to Use:
Following this there was an extempore Question and Answer session where members of FPA wanted to know more about the Competence Process. They were wary of introducing the Competence Process in their communities which they felt were distant, and hard-to-reach. However, after the facilitators had highlighted the philosophy and resonance behind the “Are we Human” session, and therefore its importance for every SALT visit in any Community, the confidence with the approach grew and the FPA members promised to use the Competence process in their diverse communities, and geographic areas.
Having thus given the members of FPA their first taste of the Competence Process, the floor gave an ACP clap to everyone, thanked the facilitators, and broke up to enjoy the ample repast stocked and stacked high on long tables along the whole length of the room.
AAR of the FPA SALT Visit:
We returned to the Hotel Normandie, and had an early lunch. The AAR of the SALT Visit was done immediately after. Its salient points are:
1) Some members who arrived directly at the venue were late. Hence we started late, and we finished fifteen minutes late.
2) Team 1 and 2 completed, Team 3 did not take part, Team 4 completed,
3) Identify a facilitate committee, improved communication; There was a perception of who was to take Leadership; Good effort, Room for improvement, Human Resource Management, Terminal Management, AAR at the end of each session, Need for the team to meet before the session. ; Facilitator should not take part in the actual session, Have back up plans, Introductions at the beginning; have informed discussions,
4) Use Hand out, Need to do ground rules, need to know your audience, clear understanding of the “Are we Human” approach.
From the Self Assessment Framework to Action Plan
Autry then coaxed the participants to complete all the levels of Self Assessment Framework, reminding them that only then could they proceed to the action plan for four of the priority activities that they chose. The Action plan was to be presented the next day to the Government represented by the Honorable Minister from the Prime Minister’s Office. Thus after Lunch and well into the morning of the next and final day, the four groups worked on their respective activity areas delineating and articulating the different competency levels, and then forming an action plan for the particular activity based on the previous days self assessment level of where they were and how to move from that point in the River Diagram to Level five.
SALT Visit to CARe
As the evening came on, some member s of the group then went on a SALT visit to the local NGO Community Action Resource (CARe). After a short drive up a hillside which offered a panoramic view of the entire Port of Spain, the harbor, and the Caribbean Sea, we were at CARe. There, after introducing ourselves in association with a fruit, it was inspiring to go through the “Are we Human?” routine. I had said ‘Inspiring’, because it was the longest and most comprehensive list of human qualities that I have seen enumerated in the shortest time that was made available to that small group.
Strengths at CARe:
Then the facilitators passed on to the final session on Strengths. The various adjectives and words used to describe the strengths the participants saw were enumerated as:
Friendship, Cooperation, pleasure, Joy, happiness, Joyfulness, uniqueness, unity, togetherness,, Joy of being fruitful, protectiveness, strong minded, strength of bearing pain, self sacrifice, hope, peace, self sacrifice;
The feedback from this group at CARe was heart-warming, as they saw in it great potential and relevancy to the challenges they face in living with the virus. We returned by lit up highways, echoing the zooming sounds of speeding vehicles, as night drew its dark shades across the island.
The Action Plans
The next morning the weather was fine and sunny both outside and inside for many. As we waited for the stragglers to join Autry showed all the video clips and photographs of the learning event at Guyana.
Everyone had the day before agreed that the practice of Wow or Ways of Working was the keystone of all the ten practices in the Self Assessment Framework. Therefore the groups worked on delineating the levels of competence for this particular practice, which they presented later as:
WOW Levels of Competence
Level 1- Aware
What we have:
HIV Coordinators, in all ministries: Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Sport, National Security, Health + People, Social Dev Two
Human rights desk external agencies, UNAIDS, PAHO, PANCAP, CHAA
Civil Society FBO, CBO, NGO
Private Sector: National HIV Workplace Policy, approved March 2008, Tripartite Stake holders ILO, Government, Private Sector.
What we do not have:
A functioning national coordinating unit
Lack of proper networking system among civil society
Lack of monitoring and evaluation
National Policy for HIV
Level 2: React
Conduct Mapping exercises in Key sector ministries, eg situational analysis, KABP surveys
Identify human financial and technical resources,
Level 3: Action
Review and update a directory of relevant NGO by HIV coordinators
Review of all indexs developed in the past and update such
Develop a mobilization strategy
Level 4: Continuous Action
Prepare a comprehensive HIV program to address worked AIDS day, Community Action Day(CAD),
Continuous assessment of programs
Meanwhile the group that called themselves, “The League of Extraordinary savers”, came up with their Action Plan for the practice titled, “Identification of Vulnerabilities”. This was:
The League of Extraordinary savers: Action Plan for “Identification of Vulnerabilities”
1) Law Reform: Lobby to ensure that laws proposed for reform come to pass. Time frame 6 months civil society
2) Equal opportunity bill: Advocate the passing of the bill specifically clauses geared towards HIB, PLHIV community
3) Advocacy: A group whose purpose is to respond to national or community concerns that are taboo.
4) Networking and sensitization: Identify an build relationships with key social agencies, comm. Dev, social dev, MSYA, NADAP, Gender, affairs, National security,
Ning, CAD, and Blended Learning:
Michael demonstrated the ACP Ning website, and the Blended Learning Program. There was a lukewarm reception probably because the participants were more interested in knowing whether they would all be included in the group that would help to form the National AIDS Coordinating Committee or whatever name the prime group for control of HIV would be named in Trinidad and Tobago. Nevertheless, more than half the group registered their names. They are:
Blended Learning List:
National Action Plan:
Just before Lunch the group were asked by Autry to brainstorm and come up with a presentation for the Honorable Minister which would describe the way forward. The Core team quickly chosen consisted of
Quickly and during Lunch this core team worked diligently and came up with a presentation for the Honorable Minister, which they presented in the Closing Ceremony. It was appreciable at how quickly they could arrive at a consensus and formulate a National Action Plan, though a draft !
Pre-requisite Elements for the Action Plan for T&T
The Draft Action Plan presentation:
This Power point presentation was made by the Core Team to the Honorable Minister. It was entitled, "Confidential Draft: Attendees of T&T Community AIDS Competence Process", and posted by Autry Haynes on July 12, 2011 at 4:40pm in The Constellation: building our community
What has been achieved
Having now reviewed the ways in which we work, several things have come forth.
A draft Action Plan for the way of moving forward has been formulated.
A draft Vision Statement has also been written.
Using ten practices of the Self/Community Assessment Framework based solely on HIV/AIDS we were able to asses both where we are at currently as well as where we need to be, i.e Level 5 (this practice is part of out lifestyle)
There was a clear consensus based on the ten practices that we as a country have achieved. Generally we are only at level 3 (We act, sporadically and unreliably)
Thus a number of draft plans have been created to move forward to getting the country at level 5 as part of our country lifestyle that in turn leads to behaviour change
Ways of Moving Forward
We propose to have a country coordinating mechanism that would speak to social investment and not social dependency and as such facilitate a process that would build a functioning networking system between government and the civil society. (NGO, CBO, FBO)
HIV Coordinators within each Ministry.
Proper focal points at community levels and MARP.
Imagination is a vehicle which take you anywhere you want to go, without it you go nowhere.
Investing in the lives of citizens of the people of Trinidad and Tobago means the preservation of our equitable Humanity, Economy, continued Development and Sustainability.