HIVAIDS Portal/LearnShare HIVAIDS Africa/Workshop Proceedings/Summary and Evaluation

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May 12th, 2009


It could be discerned from the e-mail exchanges on the discussion list serve prior to the LearnShare workshop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire that knowledge and information on treatment literacy as a strategy of fighting HIV/AIDS was not adequately shared.

Though some good practices were presented during the discussions, responses were slow to come by and feedback was inadequate. The reactions to the good practices, information sources and expert opinions shared at the discussion list serve fell short of being interactive.

The LearnShare HIV/AIDS Africa workshop in Cote d’Ivoire was to facilitate the engagement of a few community media practitioners from the commonwealth countries in Africa for a face to face discussion. The goal of the workshop was to provide strategic directions for effective engagement of community media in HIV/AIDS treatment literacy. The three regions in Africa that were represented in the workshop are: South Africa, West Africa and East Africa.


Focus on treatment literacy as a strategy to fight HIV/AIDS was highlighted through the following:

  1. The welcoming remarks by the workshop partners –International AIDS Society (IAS), Amarc, Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and EcoNews Africa
  2. The marketplace of good practices from Media Training Centre for Health, South Africa; Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SafAIDS); Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET); and Ivory Coast Network of People Living with HIV
  3. Reflections on the principles and expectations on effective learning programmes
  4. Working group discussions
  5. Panel discussion
  6. The development of learning programmes
  7. Country based action plans


The awareness generated would be integrated in the packaging and development of effective learning programmes. The effective learning programmes would be informed by the principles that were discussed and agreed at the workshop. These principles are:

  1. Involving the learners through participatory and active methodologies and starting at their level (where they are in terms of knowledge and understanding)
  2. Interactive
  3. Problem solving and related to the needs of the individual and the community
  4. Learning by doing through experiential learning and application
  5. Understanding that learners can teach by treating with respect and avoiding a patronising attitude
  6. Sharing knowledge and skills

The effective learning programmes were supplemented by the interests, needs and resources that were available among individuals and groups in the workshop. This collaboration exemplifies the need for a strategic engagement between community media, health workers, groups and health professionals in a community setting.

The practical development of effective learning programmes should be participatory and be guided by key questions:

  • What are the learners’ needs?
  • Who are the learners?
  • What are the learning objectives?
  • What resources do you have/need?
  • What are the off–air elements?



SAfAIDS has been involved in work around treatment literacy for many years now in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. The work focused on community preparedness for training which included developing materials to educate common people on treatment, training of community based volunteers to conduct treatment literacy education door to door in the villages supported by community radio programmes and conducting policy dialogues to advocate policy makers to ensure that treatment is universally accessible. SAfAIDS have over 5000 community based volunteers in Zambia alone reaching people with simple information using our toolkits such as The toolkit for Planning and Implementing a successful HIV and AIDS Treatment Advocacy Campaign. The results of SAfAIDS campaigns have been successful by increasing testing, access to ARVs, and adherence to treatment.

For many years, SAfAIDS has identified programmes and projects to support the development of media resources for national and community media as well as to build an informed pool of media professionals. While the main focus of SAfAIDS media programme is to build the capacity of media practitioners to report responsibly on HIV and AIDS, SAfAIDS trains out of school youth and radio producers in HIV and TB content development for community radio.

B) Media Training Centre for Health, South Africa

The Media and Training Centre for Health in South Africa have been working on a 12 part radio series covering a wide range of topics related to HIV and AIDS. Over a period of 5 years they have adapted this project and it has now been broadcast on 12 community radio stations in all 9 provinces of South Africa.

The project model focuses on the development of partnerships between community radio stations and community based organisations that manage HIV &AIDS related issues on a day to day basis. The stations that participated in this project are based in rural areas and therefore dealt with issues confronting rural communities in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the epidemic.

The radio series do not cover the link between TB and HIV/AIDS on its own - rather as part of the range of opportunistic infections. However, they are intent on addressing TB especially in South Africa where it is “completely out of control!”

Media Training Centre for Health has just finished working on another project for collating the materials that will be used for downloading on mobile telephones. It targets youth between the ages of 15 and 35, with Grade 10 level of education and where English is not the first language spoken. This project covers the link between TB and HIV extensively.

C) Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET)

KCOMNET has been in the forefront in the promotion of community media in Kenya. Through lobbying and advocacy by KCOMNET, community media has been recognized as a third sector of broadcasting in the country. Kenya currently has 6 established community radio stations. Several others are in the pipeline.

KCOMNET's main objective is to empower the communities to own their development agenda and be able to address the same through their own forms of media. KCOMNET uses community media to address issues on HIV and AIDS. Community media is able to integrate different forms of communication such as drama, song and dance, story telling, puppetry, radio listenership groups and community radio stations. The beauty of community media is that community broadcasting can be used to broadcast radio drama, song and story telling for the wider audience.

Some KCOMNET members have 'wheelbarrow radios.' This involves the mounting of audio players on a wheelbarrow which is then pushed to a market place. The groups use music, puppetry and drama to pull crowds and mobilize people to the venue where programmes on health and other community issues are played. One or two facilitators involve the people in discussions followed by question and answer sessions. One of the facilitators could be an expert in the topic of discussion, usually drawn from the relevant Government agency.

This way, information is delivered to the people and there is instant feedback from them. This enables a bottom up approach with the grassroots concerns being communicated to the local government.

Radio drama and song are fully participatory which ensures the community's participation in programme production.


The marketplace of good practices showcased practical examples that can be built on. The checklist of good practices agreed is that:

  1. It is a partnership among various stakeholders
  2. Tailor-made for specific audiences
  3. Should integrate the research process in the activity
  4. Have participatory engagement
  5. Cultivate documentation and sharing of documents


HIV/AIDS presents a huge challenge to development workers across the globe and more specifically to Africa where the number of new infections continues to grow daily. People have the right to information about prevention, treatment, care and support of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Community radio in collaboration with the stakeholders is a powerful vehicle for knowledge sharing with communities who often have no other source of health education.

Amarc Africa commits to building partnerships that will work together to mitigate the impact of the pandemic by developing relevant programmes that address the needs of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.


The workshop generally achieved the outputs and outcomes that had been envisaged.


  1. Agreed principles and framework for community-based learning programmes on HIV/AIDS treatment literacy, including a set of success factors
  2. Set of messages concerning HIV/AIDS treatment literacy
  3. Identified resources and linkages to support HIV/AIDS treatment literacy programme development
  4. Documented examples (summaries) of good practice in community-based learning programmes on HIV/AIDS, especially treatment literacy
  5. Action plans for LearnShare in specific regions and countries


  1. New awareness and skills concerning development of community-based learning programmes
  2. New awareness concerning strategies to fight HIV/AIDS
  3. Agreed plan for increasing the number and quality of community-based learning programmes about HIV/AIDS using community media


  1. To collaborate efforts with organisations such as the International AIDS Society (IAS) and other HIV/AIDS advocacy agencies to share and build resources on treatment literacy at the wikieducator.
  2. To continue exploring and identifying good practices and expert interventions on HIV/AIDS treatment literacy to be shared at the discussion list serves.
  3. Facilitate sessions in specific community radio stations and communities to design and pilot practical learning programmes as case examples that can be replicated elsewhere in the country, regionally and globally.
  4. Carry out country based workshops to train on wiki education, broaden country LearnShare participation and discuss elements of community media open and distant learning on HIV/AIDS treatment literacy.
  5. Share the LearnShare HIV/AIDS Africa agenda in global process and engagements on HIV/AIDS.
  6. Source for funds to facilitate the implementation of the country based action plans of the LearnShare Africa programme.