Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Blue Sky Week Africa - responding to new challenge


Aids Alliance

Forty-four Alliance participants gathered in Yamoussoukro in Cote d’Ivoire for Blue Sky Week (BSW) Africa 2009 (27-30 September).

The meeting proved an excellent opportunity to showcase the work of L’Alliance Nationale Contre le SIDA en Cote d’Ivoire (ANS-CI), and also to see the progress the country itself has made in the last five years.

Representatives from Alliance linking organisations in 12 countries and from the Alliance UK Secretariat met for discussions, and there were plenty of opportunities for networking, sharing experiences, and forming new bonds.

New challenges and changing environments

The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Responding together to new challenges and changing environments’.

As a reflection of ANS-CI’s standing in the country, the opening ceremony was led by, Dr Christine Adjobi-Nebout, the Minister of HIV/AIDS in Cote d’Ivoire, and was also attended by the Country Director of CDC (Centers for Disease Control). The opening ceremony was also broadcast on national TV.

Fatimata Sy, member of the Alliance Board of Trustees, was also present at the meeting, and her contributions were extremely valuable. She led an informal meeting for linking organisation board members, which is a new initiative for BSW Africa.

One of the key discussions at the main meeting was around broadening the Alliance’s mandate. This was generally seen as a positive step, and in some cases linking organisations are already acting to integrate TB, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and health system strengthening (HSS) into their HIV-focused work. BSW Africa provided a good opportunity to share experiences of the successes and challenges faced in implementing programmes in these areas.

Field visits

The ANS-CI team were welcoming hosts, and organised the logistics of the meeting, including group visits to four separate field sites. These were to Yamoussoukro, where a comprehensive approach, includes youth programmes; Gagnoa to see a community participation initiative; Sinfra, where community voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) is in place, and Bouake, where interventions are being implemented in a post-conflict situation.

BSW Africa 2010 will take place in Mozambique.