What was the take home message from the Knowledge Fair?

I'm posting this to the members of Ning and in particular to those who attended the Fair in Chiang Mai last week. It was a great opportunity to meet and talk with all the participants at the Fair, meet old friends and make some new ones. My apologies for missing the first day of site visits but I did make time over the weekend to meet with the staff from Violet Home separately so that was useful for me..

From my own personal perspective I would like to get a sense of what the key take home message from the meeting was.

For me personally I would say my take home message is acknowledging the value of the lived experience and how we should build collectively on lessons learned while at the same time being realistic and pragmatic about the huge challenges we all face in addressing the HIV pandemic within our communities be it prevention treatment care and support or whatever.

Our stories are all equally valuable but unless we can channel them and the messages therein into something that has real impact then they will just remain stories. The ACP tools therefore and the SALT process really somehow need to better reflect that and have the flexibility to be adapted and modified given the diversity of communities and the challenges faced. I believe we all have the capability to acknowledge our flaws if we are honest enough and the capacity to learn and share from others to address them in practical ways.

Thanks for reading this and I really hope to hear from others your thoughts and reflections on how organizations can benefit from similar processes in the future.

Greg

Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV, Bangkok

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Comment by lesley on February 25, 2009 at 5:42pm
hi greg, good input. i love storytelling and i found, from my experience at the fair, that some stories were spectacular. they may not have filtered into the peer assist format, but i think many participants got what they came for: knowledge and sharing.

the group in which i worked didn't really satisfy the peer assist format and that was too bad...and to be honest, slightly frustrating. however, some of the stories shook me (not to put too fine a point on it!). the team from India in particular was amazing at storytelling and it turned out to be a meaningful exchange.

for me, what i took home from the knowledge fair was how to talk, how to share and how to make connections with people...in the simplest form. build on that all of our work in advocacy and otherwise, i think some parts were a great success.

but i would like to see much more on the storytelling side of the event. what makes a good story? start talking. and try to tell stories, not just a "how to" on your organisation.

it was great meeting you there!
Comment by Greg Gray on February 15, 2009 at 10:17am
I will hold back till others respond .... and then comment :) Cheers from Bangkok

Greg
Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on February 14, 2009 at 10:06am
Good question, Greg!

And thanks for sharing your own take home message!

Maybe you could share more specifically what you will you do differently as a result of the Knowledge Fair?

I hope that others will do the same. I will, too. Promised!

Warm greetings from Chiang Mai

JL
Comment by Gaston on February 13, 2009 at 8:09am
Thanks for posting Greg. Very useful comments that made me reflect.
1. "unless we can channel them and the messages therein into something that has real impact then they will just remain stories". Spot on question! This is exactly what we ('we' going beyond the organisers of the fair) are trying to do with capturing knowledge assets. However, we do acknowledge this is a great challenge. How to sustainably update them? Ensure continuous local input and ownership of the knowledge? Ensure non-editing or interpretation of knowledge by 'experts? and last but not least ensuring that action is taken by users to improve on their AIDS Competence based on these knowledge assets? We have some good ideas to answer the above questions and continue learning, but please be welcome to contribute if you have ideas.
2. "The ACP tools therefore and the SALT process need to have the flexibility to be adapted and modified". Our process is not fixed, nor owned by the Constellation. People like Jean-Pierre adapted it completely to the context of streetchildren in Manila. Our coaches in Africa adapted it to Malaria with great results especially in Western Africa. A coach working for Plan Sierra Leone adapted it to Health in general. We are now invited to adapt it to Avian Flu. And even in the field of HIV, the tools differ per country as local facilitators change it according to their experience. So frameworks change, practices change, tools change, processes change and this is a great sign of local ownership of the approach. We only encourage this and want to learn from this. At the time, we can hardly keep up with the global learning on this approach. However, in all these different processes the way of thinking and way of working remains the same. The SALT (whether it's called like that or not), the appreciative way of working, the 'non-expert mode' and the stimulation of community strengths prevail. Tools are only tools and can be mis-used with a wrong mindset.

So also in this community (Ning) we come to learn and are very open to hear suggestions on how to address the challenges ahead.

Thanks again for the valuable reflections.

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