Community conversations

Starting where communities are

image

Dec 1, 2008 – The Nelson Mandela Foundation has published a booklet describing the series of 10 community conversations on HIV/AIDS around South Africa in 2008.

The booklet contains three main kinds of information:

  • an explanation of the methodology used in these dialogues, namely a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) called Community Capacity Enhancement, and why it was chosen
  • a record of what the 10 communities discussed in their conversations, revealing the burning issues they identified, and their plans to address these issues
  • lessons learnt in practice on how to facilitate this type of dialogue, and notes on training facilitators.

In his foreword to the booklet, Foundation CEO Achmat Dangor writes: “The 2008 dialogues held in 10 community settings have created a body of knowledge that policy makers, scientists and activists will certainly find useful. Most importantly, these dialogues have helped the local participants to confront that “unspeakable” presence in their midst: HIV prevalence and AIDS mortality. They now have the potential to be empowered and to act decisively.”

In the words of one of the community conversation facilitators: “There was a fascinating and immediate shift of people in communities from hopelessness and dreary disempowerment around HIV /AIDS to realising that the answers really lie within each one of them. It was like watching people move their eyes away from seeing only dark shadows around them to seeing the beauty of the sunshine.”

The 52-page illustrated booklet, titled Community Conversations: Enhancing communities’ capacity to respond to HIV/AIDS, is available from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

WE CAN STOP HIV. WE WILL STOP HIV. IT’S IN OUR HANDS!