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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Raising community voices on TB and HIV

1
JUL
2009

Aids Alliance

Community-based journalists honed their skills for writing about TB and HIV at a workshop in Kampala, Uganda on 5-6 June.

More than fifteen members of the Key Correspondents network received training on HIV/TB integration and related issues, journalistic skills and use of HealthDev.net, the primary tool and “home” of the Key Correspondent team. The Alliance has recently taken over management and coordination of this team from Health & Development Networks (HDN).

“This training helped revive the writing spirit among Key Correspondents and set the scene for new members of this dynamic team,” says participant Linda Lillian. “It helped provide new direction for us.”

The articles that result from the training will help shape a good practice programming guide on TB and HIV, which the Alliance is developing with partners in Africa and Asia. This guide will particularly focus on community involvement, advocacy and combating stigma – issues that the Key Correspondents are ideally placed to cover.

Since the workshop, participants have already published more than a dozen articles online, including pieces on drug shortages, underfunding of TB services, and newspapers’ use of stigmatizing language.

To maintain productivity, the Key Correspondents have organised themselves into a “KC Club”, which will meet monthly to share knowledge, discuss ideas for articles, and engage in networking and fundraising.

“We learnt a lot about emerging issues such as multi-drug resistant TB, and were taught how to use appropriate language to avoid stigmatisation,” says Key Correspondent Akot Janet Nyeko. “I plan to use the knowledge and skills acquired to ‘speak my world’ and inform people about new developments in Uganda.”

The two training days were facilitated by the Alliance, HDN and Partners Uganda – a National Partnership Platform that has also transferred to the Alliance.

Partners Uganda works closely with the Key Correspondent team as part of its mission to create a national space for effective dialogue between civil society, government and other stakeholders.

The platform plans to expand to more than 100 civil society organisations this year. It is currently managed collaboratively by Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO), The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), the Alliance, HEPS-Uganda, Uganda Youth Anti-AIDS Association, Civil Society Inter-Constituency Coordinating Committee (CICC), National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NACWOLA), Uganda Media Women’s Association, Uganda Young Positives, SAIL-Uganda, National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Networks in Uganda (NAFOPHANU), ACORD/AIDSPortal, and Uganda Stop TB Partnership.