Sustaining Capacity Building initiatives for PLHIVs

For eight years now, ACHIEVE has been conducting capacity building activities for people living with HIV (PLHIV). This endeavor is a result of its commitment to GIPA (Greater Involvement of people living with HIV) principles. ACHIEVE believes that one of the key enablers of community participation in the national response to HIV and AIDS, is sustained education and capacity building. This year, ACHIEVE conducted two training workshops for members of seven PLHIV support groups from different parts of the country. These trainings were a component of a project to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination through policy reviews and media advocacy.
In February of this year, 16 PLHIV leaders participated in a basic training on participatory action research. In the said training, participants were given an orientation on the basic elements of research and on the various research methods. As a practicum, they were tasked to review and administer the survey questionnaire that would be utilized by the project. After completion of the workshop, 10 participants were tapped to conduct the actual survey, while three were mobilized to undertake the data encoding. A number of training participants also participated in the validation workshop that was held after the completion of the data analysis.
Another training that was conducted this year was the Advocacy Skills Building Workshop. This workshop aimed to assist newly organized support groups in creating their actual advocacy plans, as well enable them to participate in advocacy projects and activities of ACHIEVE.
Fourteen PLHIV leaders from seven support groups participated in the training. Aside from providing discussing the basic framework on advocacy and the steps and methods in undertaking advocacy. For their practicum, participants were grouped into teams and subsequently developed an advocacy plan on a particular issue. ACHIEVE invited the heads of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) Secretariat, Joint UN Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the STD AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL) of San Lazaro Hospital, and the HIV Country Program of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to join the practicum portion of workshop. Each team had to pitch their advocacy plan to one of the invited agencies and secure the latter’s commitment and support. This was followed by a feedbacking session involving their peers and the invited agencies. As of this writing, ACHIEVE continuously monitors progress of the advocacy plan of the participants.