Building SRH&R programming and advocacy.
The regional SRHR networking programme aims to improve SRHR across Southern Africa by:
- Strategically and systematically galvanising the association of autonomous, country-based Alliance Linking Organisations into an interdependent, coordinated Coalition at multi-country and regional levels across Africa – linked to their Implementing Partners working with LGBT+ and sex workers at community level to achieve more effective SRHR programs at country level and improved advocacy in country and regionally;
- Supporting Linking Organisations to be better positioned for effective engagement in civil society at national level through the National influencing capacity strengthening and technical support process – in general, and in particular with regards health and rights of LGBT+ and sex workers;
- Supporting Linking Organisations to be more conscientiously connected to the experiences of these populations at community level;
- Facilitate closer synergy and cooperation between the member organisations that constitute the Alliance within Africa to promote a more coherent strategy for influencing work and programming.
This programme aims to overcome four interlinked problems and challenges:
- Within The Alliance in Africa, a number of Linking Organisations operate at national level, autonomous and independent. These are loosely associated under The Alliance umbrella, but are not optimally aligned together to maximise their voice at regional level in support of Key Populations policy and programming;
- The majority of LOs are, historically, HIV service delivery organisations, and will benefit from expanding their programming towards more comprehensive sexual reproductive health, and towards human rights work (including the recognition and promotion of sexual reproductive health as a human right);
- Historically, LOs have delivered HIV programmes to/for LGBT+ and sex worker populations. At national level, these LOs and their partners need to work collaboratively to pursue a Human Rights influencing agenda in order to amplify and accelerate efforts for change;
- Historically, many LOs and LGBT+ and sex workers have had a provider-client/beneficiary relationship. LOs themselves will benefit (become more responsive, responsible, relevant, appropriate) from deeper, more authentic engagement with the community in order to learn, relate and adapt.
The Amplify Change projects aim:
To strategically and systematically galvanise the association of autonomous, country-based Alliance Linking Organisations into an interdependent, coordinated Coalition at multi-country and regional levels across Africa – linked to their Implementing Partners working with KPs at community level- to achieve more effective SRHR programs at country level and improved advocacy in country and regionally.
External change is needed at systemic and structural levels, where policy-makers are the target for influencing work. Internal change is needed at the level of community engagement, programming and capacity for influencing, where the responding units of The Alliance family might become even more effective and strategic in their work. The Centre believes that, ultimately, stronger, more purposeful, better informed engagement with the policy environment will concurrently lead to higher levels of adaptive, responsive KP-programming by Linking Organisations.
Positive Vibes aims to contribute towards this change through a combination approach:
- That supports Linking Organisations to be better positioned for effective engagement in civil society at national level through the National influencing capacity strengthening and technical support process – in general, and in particular with regards health and rights of key populations; that supports Linking Organisations to be more conscientiously connected to the experiences of key populations at community level.
- And the Amplify Change project that facilitates closer synergy and cooperation between the member organisations that constitute the Alliance within Africa to promote a more coherent strategy for influencing work and programming.
 The coalition is comprised of the following organisations: Positive Vibes (PV), Namibia and Alliance Nationale Contre le SIDA (ANCS), Senegal have formed a secretariat for the development of a Coalition of Alliance Linking Organisations. Association Marocaine de Solidarité et Développement; Alliance Burundaise contre le sida, Burundi; AIDS Legal Network, South Africa; Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS; Community Health Alliance Uganda; : Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium; Tanzania Council for Social Development; OSSA, Ethiopia; NACOSA, South Africa
Positive Vibes envisages a four-pronged strategic approach to achieving its goals through an influencing agenda. These strategies comprise Positive Vibes’ “integrated approach” and can be broadly described as promoting active citizenship and influencing around a rights based framework.
Building the Alliance: The aim of this regional trajectory is ultimately Alliance-building, strengthening the sense of interconnectedness, complementarity and cohesion between Linking Organisation in the region. It is envisaged that this strategy will stimulate thought leadership for innovative ways in which LOs leverage their comparative advantage as an Africa family. The aim is to strengthen the regional position of the Coalition but to also collate cross-border experiences that champions a southern voice that influences globally. The Alliance Centres will assume a facilitative role in the building of the Coalition, utilising a series of regional gatherings of LO and KP-IP Directors and programme managers to establish the common vision and values of the coalition, learning exchange visits for knowledge transfer and practical skills values of the Coalition and Annual Community Universities with communities for learning exchange.
Capacity strengthening for national influence: In partnership with KP-Connect, Positive Vibes will co-create national level technical support with linking organisations to respond to key population HIV, health and right’s needs. The National trajectory aims to build the confidence and competence of Alliance Linking Organisations to utilise the experience of their programme work to influence policy and practice; to deepen the ability of Linking Organisations to learn from the first-hand lived experiences of the key populations with whom they partner so as to shape influencing messages and strategies that are increasingly relevant to the health and rights needs of key populations, and compelling to the target audience of the influencing work; to identify opportunities and strategies to better participate in civil society alliances at national level within their respective countries.
Learning from local experience: Local trajectory – Action in and by communities is necessary to sustain the movement of change. For The Alliance, people and their lived experience must remain at the centre of the response. Immersing in the local lived reality of KPs and programmers in select locations where good practice and methodology (or strong lived experience) are evident, with a view to generate evidence for influencing, and to identifying principles of good practice. It is envisaged that systematic, disciplined reflection on practice – by those taking action, and with those who are affected by the action – generates new learning that can be applied to improve practice.
Directing/ amplifying the voice of the Coalition at Regional Policy: Creating a regional platform for joint influencing work will require careful attention to the full and meaningful participation of Linking Organisations in designing process, identifying content, discerning strategic direction. Positive Vibes must serve the role to create a space where Linking Organisations feel included, express belonging and shared responsibility, exercise participation and leadership, recognizing that their experiences and voices are genuinely valued. Linking Organisations across countries in the region will act together under their own agreed mandate and selected leadership, to advance a regional influencing agenda, driving their own process with appropriately facilitative support from Positive Vibes. The Coalition will mobilise, engage and participate at both regional and country level platforms, debate and civil society action and to broadly influence policy related to KP-programming and civil society participation in health and rights reform.
Successful implementation of the project will achieve the following outcomes:
- The effectiveness of the work of the association of Alliance Linking Organisations working on HIV at country level is improved through closer engagement with KPs and communities;
- HIV outcomes are better achieved and sustained with an expanded focus on SRH, and foster the recognition of SRH as a human right;
- A deepened movement-is built, coordinated and functional;
- The Coalition members engage with local communities and key populations, to learn from good practice, to generate and transfer knowledge for better programming, to convert knowledge into evidence for advocacy;
- The Coalition is corporately and collectively mobilised for effective engagement at both regional and country level, participating in discourse and action that influences policy related to KP-programming, together with KP-led organisations, networks and movements;
- Experience stemming from coordinated, accompanied influencing practice at regional and national levels leads to a more coherent approach across Alliance Linking Organisations for effecting change in the region;
- Coalition members participate actively at regional platforms, equipped with sound evidence generated through The Centre and other sources to influence SRHR policy, and leverage that opportunity to enable participation and visibility of key populations.
Increased individual awareness and agency
- An enabling environment in which the discourse on SRH as a human right can be discussed and debated is created;
- Secondary participants are exposed to and engage in critical thinking and strategic planning linked to advancing health-related rights as a result of the transformative Learning Exchange Visits hosted by KP organisations;
- One Learning Location demonstrates expertise around increasing SRH-awareness and human rights promotion;
- Advocacy and influencing activities are leading towards increased awareness, acknowledgement and recognition amongst a variety of stakeholders – communities, Linking Organisations, KP-organisations and policy makers – of sexual reproductive health as a human right (SRHR).
Changes in social norms
- Social norms are challenged within Linking Organisations;
- Normative organisational behaviour and reorienting conventional ways of thinking and working are challenged and addressed by LOs;
- Traditional service-delivery organisations start to think differently about the implications of rights-based programming on SRH and adapt;
- Organisations learn from their KP implementing partners at community level;
- Policy-makers are engaged through an advocacy strategy that requires them to consider the experience of KPs;
- One of the Learning Locations show expertise in local-level engagement with households, neighbourhoods, and traditional leaders effect social transformation.
Changes in policies and laws
- An understanding of Human Rights law, particularly related to the right to health and access to justice is promoted;
- Coaching and mentoring develops capacity and engagement at regional-level with the structures (e.g. African Union; SADC Secretariat) responsible for policy-making;
- Messaging and communications for advocacy are developed from evidence from community-based practices and facilitates increased participation of civil society organisations in regional SRHR influencing;
- One of the Learning Locations demonstrates expertise on policy-engagement, decriminalisation or litigation.