In April 2011, staff and volunteers from nine networks of people living with HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa celebrated their graduation from Skillshare International's leadership development programme.
The course of workshops equipped the participants with the tools and techniques they need to lead their organisations effectively and efficiently to improve services for people living with HIV and AIDS.
In 2003, UNAIDS estimated that there were more than 26 million people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) in Southern Africa. Despite these numbers, their needs have often been neglected. Through six linked projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, Skillshare International is working with networks of PLWHA to improve support and build livelihoods. Policy is a key issue for the networks, which advocate universal access to treatment, prevention, care and support and aim to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.
Skillshare International’s leadership development programme forms a critical part of these projects as it builds the capacity of PLWHA networks through workshops on issues such as good governance and by focusing on sharing learning.
The participants, who graduated from the programme with an action plan for each network, found the workshops a valuable component of the projects. Thanduxolo Doro, Regional Programmes Manager at NAP+SAR, reflected: “The venue facilities and workshop content were good and the facilitators practical. It is our goal to improve the lives of people living with HIV, and through such capacity building initiatives, we should be able to achieve this goal.”
The projects, which began in 2009, are funded by a strategic grant from the Big Lottery. Find out more about the HIV and AIDS: Breaking the cycle of vulnerability projects.