This was the first Blue Sky meeting to have taken place in the Southern African region and it was hosted by MONASO, a national independent organisation in Mozambique with whom the Alliance is developing a new relationship, with a view to them becoming a linking organisation.
The objective of the meeting was to define Africa’s Contribution to the new Alliance Strategy 2010-2012.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr Pascoa Themba, National AIDS Council, Mauricio Cysne, UNAIDS Coordinator, Dr. Trindade, Chair of MONASO and Lynette Lowndes, Executive Director of the Alliance.
At the opening ceremony, Mauricio Cysne said: 'Now is the time to show integrity, to keep our commitments. And it is the time to democratize problem solving and be more nimble. Millions more will die if we keep offering only a jumbled mix of uncoordinated, underfunded and underutilized services. And it is such organisations as the Alliance and its partners that are at the fore line of these activities.'
Participants at the event had the opportunity to hear more about Alliance tools to support quality programming – including the new Good Practice Guides, the Regional Technical Support Hubs, the new Programming Standards and self assessment tool.
It was acknowledged that these tools bring value to the Alliance – ensuring that all partners are delivering programmes within a consistent framework. Mathokosa Mtetwa, Chair of FLAS in Swaziland and Lindiwe Chaza-Jangira, Executive Director of ZAN in Zimbabwe both remarked, after hearing about the standards, that they could see how they could be a useful tool for influencing National Aids Councils who may not have set standards for core areas of operations. The potential to use these tools to improve implementation and impact across the region is huge.
Participants also visited a number of MONASO partners around Maputo City to discuss and learn from their work. Projects visited included an integrated home based care programme, a children and families programme and a public/private sector initiative with a mining company who provides HIV testing care and support for its workers and families.
At the end of the meeting a Senior Delegation from the Alliance was invited to visit the Mozambique Prime Minister, Dr Aires Ali, to brief him on the achievements of the meeting and how the Alliance intends to work in Mozambique. The event was closed by Dr Joana Mangueira, Director of the National AIDS Council.
Read this DFID blog from a Dfid particiapant who attended the meeting.