Welcome to the 27th edition of the ARASA newsletter!
As the year winds down, we are excited to update you on what we’ve been up to over the past few months.
Our focus for much of the year has been on integrating the findings and recommendations of the 2017 external evaluation into the way we work while developing a Strategic Plan for the next few years. Much of this has focused on how to remain fit for purpose in the changing health, political, economic, social and developmental context in southern and east Africa as well as globally.
A priority for us in this regard has been responding to the recommendation of the external evaluation, to conduct an extensive partner audit to help ARASA make an informed decision about the composition of the partnership. In this newsletter, we share the outcomes of this audit and the implications of these findings for the partnership.
In November 2017, ARASA hosted a graduation ceremony for the 10th class of its regional Training and Leadership Programme, formerly known as the regional Training of Trainer’s Programme. You can read reflections from several participants of the programme on what they have gained from the programme and how they have used the new skills and knowledge to strengthen HIV, TB and Human Rights advocacy in their countries.
As in previous years, ARASA has continued to provide technical and financial support to the implementation of HIV, TB and Human Rights Capacity Strengthening and Advocacy Programmes in Mauritius, Kenya and Uganda. In this edition of the newsletter we pay homage to Community Health Advocates who operate on the frontline of HIV, TB and human rights advocacy and share reflections from Kenyan CHAs on what they have achieved with support from the Country Programme.
2018 marked the last year of the implementation of the Africa Regional Grant on HIV: Removing Legal Barriers supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. In September we hosted the 3rd Regional Capacity Strengthening Convening for African National Human Rights Institutions in partnership with the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANRHI) and HIV Justice Worldwide. We are excited to share the outcomes of the convening as well as the impact of these convenings at the national level with you in this edition.
Should you have any questions, comments or contributions for future editions of the newsletter, please email ARASA Communications firstname.lastname@example.org.
For updates and more information on ARASA’s work, visit our website www.arasa.info and connect with us on Facebook @ARASA, Twitter @_ARASAcomms and Instagram @arasa_network.
Until next time!
Articles in this issue:
ARASA's Partners Audit 2018
- Highlights from the 2018 Partners Audit
- Way forward for the partnership 2018
ARASA Key Players in Outreach
- Reflections from 2018 ToT graduates
- Reflections from Kenya CHAs
- Getting to know your NHRIs - An Interview with NHRI representatives
|Towards a partnership fit for purpose
In October, ARASA concluded an extensive a partner audit of its 115 civil society partners based on a recommendation of a 2017 external evaluation of ARASA’s 2013 – 2017 Strategic Plan. “The recommendation was that we conduct an intensive audit of the partners and their respective policy positions and other advocacy activities as this would help ARASA to make an informed decision about the composition of the partnership in regard to gaps in representation, organisations that do not share ARASA’s principles etc.,” explained Felicita Hikuam, ARASA’s Deputy Director.
The partner audit, which received 100 responses, was conducted by way of an electronic questionnaire using Google Forms in English, Portuguese and French.
Based on the responses, we conclude that, there appears to be unity of purpose amongst the respondents as the mission of the majority of ARASA partners includes raising awareness; empowering communities; strengthening capacity; facilitating access to safe spaces; advocacy on HIV, Hepatitis, TB, human rights; and holding duty bearers accountable in their mission. The vast majority of partners work to promote and protect the rights of people living with HIV, TB and hepatitis, sex workers, lesbian, gay, bisexual, gay, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, people who use drugs, prisoners, women, youth and persons with disabilities.
In addition to the values congruent with ARASA’s values, several respondents mentioned diversity, innovation, confidentiality, sustainability, loyalty, unity/ solidarity, sustainability, Botho (humanness), equality, collaboration and partnership as key values of their organisation.
The majority of the 96 respondents to this question (58), joined the ARASA partnership during between 2012 and 2017 to gain access to capacity strengthening opportunities (51); networking (26); solidarity for advocacy (15); exposure to regional and international platforms (9); and access to funding (9). Sixteen respondents mentioned that they were attracted by the congruency between the purpose and values of their organisation and ARASA.
All 50 respondents to the question: “In which ways does your organisation contribute the ARASA partnership?” reported that they are contributing to the principles of the partnership by conducting joint advocacy with other ARASA partners in the country (46); promoting ARASA’s work and the values of the partnership in national, regional and international engagements (44); assisting in-country ARASA partners and other CSOs to conduct human rights, HIV, TB and SRH trainings/workshops (44); referring to being ARASA partners in funding proposals (43); and share information and guidance on key advocacy issues ARASA should focus on (41).
The majority of the 92 respondents who responded to this question mentioned that key positive developments or changes they observed or experienced in ARASA in the past 3 years have included the growth in size, diversity, geographic reach and advocacy issues as well as increased support to financial sustainability of partners. Regarding access to financial resources for human rights programming and ARASA partners, one respondent explained: “ARASA has managed to open opportunities for funding for its partners by providing good recommendations and guarantees for partners to access funding. ARASA has also provided technical assistance to help partners fund-raise and successfully respond to sophisticated and highly technical call for proposals.” Another respondent stated: “The capacity to fund more CSO in areas of removing legal barriers to create a favourable environment where the key populations can operate.”
The most frequently mentioned negative developments in the past 3 years include the limited capacity to communicate in French and Portuguese and limited support to strengthening national collaboration in countries that do not host Country Programmes.
Analysis of the organisational positions on a number of policy issues showed that the policy issues which resulted in the highest number of incongruent responses between ARASA’s position and that of the partners were criminalisation of HIV transmission, exposure and/or non-disclosure; laws that legalise child marriage; decriminalisation of drug use and possession of drug paraphernalia for personal use; and decriminalisation of all elements of adult sex work.
Half of the 14 organisations with policy positions that were contrary to ARASA’s position, joined prior to 2012, whereas the other half joined between 2012 and 2018. Policy issues with the highest number of unsure / no position responses were drug use and possession of drug paraphernalia for personal use; the decriminalisation of abortion; and decriminalisation of all elements of adult sex work. All responses that were unsure or had no position were from organisations that joined the partnership between 2012 and 2018.
“We are very grateful to our partners for participating in this process and being so frank and honest in their reflection,” stated Felicita. “The results of the audit will be very useful in informing discussions on a new partnership model and a review of the composition of the partnership as well as the partnership application, vetting and selection processes with the aim of ensuring that the ARASA partnership is fit for purpose in the changing context”.
You can read the full report at:
|ARASA TOT 2018: Growing the cadre of human rights champions and master trainers
On 9 November, ARASA hosted a graduation ceremony at Premier Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa to recognise the achievements of 33 participants who received certificates of competence for having completed the 10th intake of the regional Training and Leadership Programme (formerly known as the Training of Trainer’s Programme).
“The graduation ceremony presented a platform for us to acknowledge the efforts of all the graduates and to recognise the exemplary performance of some graduates,” explained Bruce Tushabe, ARASA’s Regional Training and Capacity Strengthening Officer. “This year, we presented 7 awards for outstanding performance including Trainer’s Trainer of the year, plus 5 prizes for those who performed exceptionally well in their assignments.”
The winners of the awards are:
Best trainer of year: Tirayaone Lincoln Kgaswanyane, Botswana.
Trainer of year: Mary Nyathi, South Africa
Trainer’s trainer of year: Jauali Tino Daniel, Mozambique
2nd choice trainer’s trainer: Rachelle Bhoyroo, Mauritius
3rd choice trainer’s trainer: Winnifred Buccarie, Seychelles
Best facilitator: Jacob Segale, South Africa
Best dressed trainer: Kagiso Osupeng, Botswana
As in previous years, the graduates were selected through a competitive application process to represent a cohort of two representatives per country for each of the 18 countries in which ARASA operates. The 4 week-long modules of the programme have focused on key HIV, TB and human rights advocacy themes such as human rights monitoring and using media as an advocacy tool; sexual orientation and gender identity issues; the science of HIV and TB as well as HIV/TB prevention and treatment literacy (incl. viral load testing); intellectual property laws and access to treatment. Alumni of the programme from 2016 and 2017 moderated sessions on M&E, SOGIE and leadership respectively.
“Pre- and post-workshop assessments conducted to assess the extent to which ARASA has improved the capacity and knowledge of participants in regard to the topics covered during the module found that participation in the 3 module had improved the knowledge and skills of the majority of participants on the topics covered,” stated Tushabe. “The majority of participants also reported feeling more confident to train others on the topics covered during the module and having increased capacity to apply the tools such as community mapping, and skills including facilitation skills and proposal writing in their countries.”
Below are reflections from 2 participants on the impact of the programme on their personal and professional lives:
|Winifred Baccarie, Seychelles
“For me personally, it has been an incredible journey full of all sorts of discoveries about my calling as an advocate, my passions as a human being and about my fellow brothers and sisters, comrades in unity for common purposes all over Africa.
For me, it has not always been an easy road, each module has had its own challenges in every way possible from the time I stepped on the plane to depart from my family in Seychelles [to attend the first module in February] to the time I stepped on the plane to depart from my family in South Africa [after attending the first module]. I must confess that like all of my fellow comrades I have looked forward to the mail from Bruce containing confirmation of the next module (lol) every three months of 2018.
If I were to start recollecting, I would recall especially the challenges of the third mostly scientific module about TB, the opportunities I have had and duly taken to be a better version of myself and the paths crossed where I have met unforgettable people and the resulting self-confidence I have gained which today enables me to stand assertively to face any hurdle found along my way each living day.
When I applied for the ToT I had just been to a workshop organized by my local organization (HASO) [an ARASA partner in Seychelles] and ARASA following work done to consolidate the legal stage for the development and sustainability of access and rights for key populations in Seychelles. I wanted to learn more about ARASA, so I went on the internet and searched. It was at that very same time that I saw the Call for Application for the TOT and without hesitation I grabbed the opportunity.
Back then in November 2017, I [had an understanding of] almost everything within the HIV and human rights contexts and as a human rights advocate, I was already alert to every action around me including within my professional circle, whereby the rights of people are threatened and violated. What I needed was to put all the notions I had into context and acquire the confirmed knowledge and confidence to stand up and #voice# out against all the controversial and contradictory actions around me that I felt deep inside my heart was unjust, unfair, unequitable and totally wrong but against which I did not have enough weapon to stand with courage especially at times when my conscience was persistent but audacity was lacking.
When I joined the ToT, I was a caterpillar…today nearing my graduation from it, I realize and am proud that I have turned into a butterfly…
The knowledge I have gained coupled with the confidence acquired (I love the word confidence because it sounds so sweet and powerful) have pushed me to mingle within circles of people and organizations which have expanded my horizon even beyond my expectations to places and positions where I, myself never even thought I could reach.
One of my greatest achievements since joining the ToT, has been the slow but sure change of the Commissioner of the Seychelles Police Force’s view of my participation within the ToT itself. When I first started in February 2018, he was adamant that despite the human rights basis of the course, the whole content has nothing to do with police duties and hence I had to take time out of my annual leave to attend… I have consequently been able to convince him that everything within the HIV and human rights contexts have everything to do with the police as the main actor in law enforcement. Today I am proud to attest that not only was I released to attend Module 3 and Module 4 but since June 2018, I have been appointed to various national committees especially related to key and vulnerable populations namely:
Police Representative on the Seychelles Street Pastors’ Board (Street Pastors comprise of volunteer civilian members who form themselves into groups and patrol the streets at night especially on weekends where we meet people on the street – sex workers, people who use drugs and others- and we assist them in referrals, counselling and prayers as well as small subsistence in the form of food, water or hygiene items based on their request.
Police Representative on the National Gender Working Group also involved in drafting the Gender Based Violence Act.
And lately my greatest achievement – being appointed as the Legal Officer for the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles/ European Union Joint Project for a Crisis Centre for vulnerable women and victims of GBV
Recently I assisted HASO in facilitating a workshop on HIV awareness and ecriminalization of sex work for Senior Police Officers. We hope to do the same for all law enforcement organizations in Seychelles, and for that I hope to be able to get the support of ARASA to fine-tune and implement my advocacy plan submitted as part of the HIV criminalization online course assignment.
Being part of the ToT has not only trained me in knowledge, it has also refined me in confidence and taught me all the better practices of impact advocacy and networking for personal growth and community influence for change. Being in the TOT has ‘taken me places’ for the better for both myself and the communities in which I serve.
I am grateful to ARASA and to all the facilitators, trainers and comrades who have walked by my side and taken the journey with me…I never once thought of giving up but only because I knew I was supported and had been given an opportunity to which I had to live up and prove myself worthy. I hope that this bond continues to grow in strength and actions.
I won’t say goodbye because the fight goes on and am sure we will meet again along the path for HIV and TB justice worldwide.”