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Combining ACP with GIPA, Thailand's Northern PHA Network Is Looking for Strengths and Mobilizing the Community

Suriya and Prapan from the Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (TNP) - Upper North joined the ADB-NGOCompetence from the very beginning and have diligently attended all the learning events. Although at the beginning they were not sure how the AIDS Competence Process could be applied to the work of people living with HIV/AIDS and whether they would be able to learn sufficient skills to apply them. They were encouraged by the coaches to practice what they could after the kick-off workshop in July 2007 and to practice more during the follow-up event in November 2007, each time learning and understanding more with feedback and discussion during the After Action Review each time. And there’s nothing that can stop them from going full-steam in scaling-out now.

They already shared the ACP approach and experience with peers and participants in the forum of Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS - Upper North, and advocated for scaling out at the community level under the programme for promoting GIPA and community health promotion. Their enthusiasm and advocacy initiative gave birth to the project for building capacities for community-based organizations (CBOs) in preventing and solving HIV/AIDS problems in northern communities. TNP-upper north submitted the project proposal to mobilize funds from the Health System Research Institute in order to implement the initiative. The project was approved.

Altogether the training on ACP approach and tools was conducted with provincial and regional PHA networks on 2 occasions. The first time, in July, they introduced the concepts of ACP, SALT Visit , AAR, creating a community dream , SA , river diagram, stair diagram and action plan development (Self-measurement of progress). The second time, in October, they reviewed the ACP concepts and introduced peer assist and together practiced doing peer assist and knowledge asset development on 10 practices of the self-assessment tool. They also practiced acting as a Facilitation team in using several tools (ie. creating a community dream, SA and AAR). Both Suriya and Prapan served as facilitators in the training of trainers while also inviting other ADB-NGO facilitators from AIDSNet, Access and CAM to join the facilitation team, thereby practicing together as NFT. CC2 joined them to provide necessary back-up throughout the process on both occasions.

Already 45 new facilitators were trained. They will train 60 more facilitators in 6 provinces who will facilitate ACP activities in 21 sub-districts. The main goal is that the communities will be able to create their learning process, analyze and synthesize appropriate ways of working, and develop action plans in collaboration with the local government such as the sub-district administrative organizations (TAOs). Based on the experience of their ACP training already conducted, TNP-upper north is developing a training curriculum and PHA guidebook for working with the community. It is expected to be completed soon.

Although Thai PHA networks have been actively caring for peers, educating the public, and advocating for access to treatment and ARV for many years, they are now pushing the promotion of the Greater Involvement of People Living with AIDS (GIPA) principle to a higher level. Combining GIPA with ACP, understanding and skills, they are now returning to the community to look for strengths and mobilize the community for genuine local response which is based on strengths instead of problems as previously done. As one PHA participant said in the evaluation of the first capacity-building event, “I now believe more firmly in my own capacity and in the capacities of others. It’s because of the learning here in this training. I now feel confident that the ACP is the process that I can use in working with the community”.

This message was originally written for the ADB 3rd semester report, based on story told by Suriya (from TNP-upper north) and Pimpawan. I'm sharing it as it may be interesting to a wider group of friends who do not have access to that report.

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on December 19, 2008 at 4:09pm
Dear Usa,

I am very glad to read this experience as it is very close to my heart. I have been contemplating on application of ACP among positive networks. I have had a discussion with Gaston and Bobby on the issue. I had met the president of Indian Network of Positives (INP+). He was anxious about the governance and coordination issues of the district (Indian provinces are divided into districts) branches. However, I could not follow it up. We are working on a proposal in India where I have suggested collaboration with a regional positive network.

Thanks for the useful information.It would be helpful if you share the details with me. Will write to you.


Comment by Gaston on December 19, 2008 at 5:47am
Thank you for sharing this Usa. Very interesting. We are exploring in Papua New Guinea how to combine ACP with GIPA in specific community areas. It does stimulate the 'focus on strengths' even more. Your story gives some good inspiration. I'll contact you later to get some more details on this.


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