Marnix, an experienced business consultant, is working with the Alliance in Uganda through the Pepal Executive Development Programme, which partners private sector managers with peers in successful non-profit organisations in developing countries.
Pepal — an independent organisation founded by the Alliance — aims to foster innovative partnerships that enable organisations to achieve sustainable profit and social gain.
“The most striking thing is the feeling of empowerment exuded by the group of Network Support Agents”, he writes in a report on a field visit to Luwero District. “Even though the project has concluded, they will carry on! They feel they have the skills and tools to continue helping themselves and their community.”
The USAID-funded project trained 1,300 Network Support Agents – community volunteers living with HIV, who help to strengthen community linkages with health facilities. It also operated an onward granting process, which Marnix is evaluating during his placement.
“The onward granting process was essentially about providing small grants to people living with HIV as well as coaching and mentoring them to increase their involvement in the response to HIV/AIDS,” explains Marnix. “My focus is to critically assess this process, document the most important achievements and derive lessons from our experience. These lessons will benefit others who intend to start a similar project.”
Marnix travelled to Luwero with four women from the Kenyan organisation WOFAK (Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya), which has been working with the Alliance since 2007. They took the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with community members and groups of people living with HIV.
Read Marnix’s trip report to learn more.