Day 3: maintaining capacity for conservation in organizations and communities – what actions can we take? (4 answers)

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Breaking the silence on HIV/AIDS and overcoming stigma
It is difficult to talk to colleagues and communities about HIV/AIDS because it is a sexually transmitted disease. Yet we have to overcome this stigma in order to tackle it. We have found that once we start a conversation, colleagues and staff in partner organizations are extremely grateful – they have wanted a chance to do something but didn’t know how to start. Bringing in health experts to do presentations on HIV/AIDS, share the facts, dispel taboo, and explain how the disease is and is not transmitted is an important step to begin this needed open dialogue. Do you have experiences on breaking the silence and overcoming stigma, or any questions about it?
-- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --

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    Nov 11, 2008
    RE: DAY 3: Maintaining Capacity for Conservation Organizations and Communities [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Karen Stewart on 03-09-2007 
    Karen Stewart
    Posts: 2 
       The "USAID CORE Initiative works with faith based and community based
    organizations to advance multi-sectorial responses through grants,
    capacity building and networks. They have several articles from their
    newsletters that give examples of the work funded by this initiative."
    From the website, the initiative is not currently accepting
    applications. Below is one of the examples from the CORE Initiative
    newsletter of some of the work that is being done by CORE grantees.

    Religious Leaders in Kenya Lead Community-Level Efforts to Address

    (April 21, 2006)


    Two faith-based organizations in Kenya supported by the CORE Initiative
    are leading efforts in 34 communities to address stigma, increase
    prevention, and provide support to orphans, other vulnerable children,
    and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). The Kenya Network of Religious
    Leaders Living with and/or Affected by HIV/AIDS (KENERELA) and the
    Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) received grants from
    the CORE Initiative to support community-level activities such as
    trainings in home-based care for congregation members, micro-enterprise
    trainings for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC); and the
    establishment of post-test clubs and referral networks.

    In addition to including HIV/AIDS issues in their sermons, religious
    leaders have been instrumental in mobilizing community members and local
    leaders to support the planned HIV/AIDS activities. As a precursor to
    beginning implementation, baseline surveys were conducted in 4
    communities to assess the knowledge, attitudes, behavior and practices
    related to HIV/AIDS; the extent of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and
    discrimination; and existing care and support services for PLHA and OVC.

    Community meetings helped to identify the catchment areas to be covered
    by the interventions. The meetings also resulted in large numbers of
    volunteers offering to be trained to conduct the community surveys. A
    total of 77 community members participated in the 4-day trainings which
    included role-playing and field practice. The participatory process of
    involving communities, with religious and community leaders playing a
    leading role, proved effective in mobilizing community involvement and
    support for the HIV/AIDS interventions which are now underway.
    -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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      Nov 11, 2008
      RE: DAY 3: Maintaining Capacity for Conservation Organizations and Communities [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Karen Stewart on 03-09-2007 
      Karen Stewart
      Posts: 2 

      This organization has received support from CDC. It's focus is more on
      domestic Christian organizations but has some international experience.
      There are a few products on their website, in particular a booklet
      entitled "Blessed Are They That Comfort: An Introduction to HIV/AIDS for
      Black Congregations".

      "The Balm In Gilead, Inc.(tm) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental
      organization whose mission is to improve the health status of people of
      the African Diaspora by building the capacity of faith communities to
      address life-threatening diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. The Balm In
      Gilead's pioneering achievements have enabled thousands of churches to
      become leaders in preventing the transmission of HIV by providing
      comprehensive educational programs and offering compassionate support to
      encourage those infected to seek and maintain treatment. The Balm In
      Gilead spearheads a dynamic response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the faith
      -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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    Nov 11, 2008
    RE: DAY 3: Maintaining Capacity for Conservation Organizations and Communities [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Anna van der Heijden on 03-09-2007 
    Anna van der Heijden
    Posts: 2 
    *** On behalf of Beauty Jiji***

    Dear All,

    My name is Beauty Jiji and is working for IRG on the Namibia LIFE Plus
    CBNRM Project as the Institutional Development Specialist. I would like
    to share my own thoughts as well as experiences from Namibia and from
    elsewhere on the issue of what organizations and communities can do to
    reduce the impact of AIDS on their environment and/ or communities.

    I do agree that AIDS is impacting negatively on the environment as well
    as the communities that we are working with in terms of institutional
    memory, death of bread winner leading to loss of secure livelihoods and
    for those living positively - sometimes reduced productivity due to ill
    health. The AIDS pandemic has also caused an increase of child headed
    households who are very vulnerable to the pressures of this harsh and
    unsympathetic environment in the world. The children are exposed to and
    can be abused physically or mentally or spiritually since they will
    trying to make a living out of the desperate situation that they find
    themselves in.

    The following is some of the things that I think or have seen
    organizations doing with communities:

    1. Reduction of increased use of Natural Resources

    - Organizations can build the capacity of community members to
    conduct participatory resource assessments so that they would know the
    different valuable plants or medicinal plants, which can treat HIV/AIDS
    related infections, and their quantity available in their areas. After
    the process the organization can help the community to look at their
    harvesting and processing techniques including traditional methods after
    which they can agree on the species that can be commercialized for the
    benefit of the majority so that harvesting can be controlled.
    Communities together with their traditional herbalists can go further to
    establish a local herbalist shop where community members can then buy
    traditionally processed and neatly packaged herbs at affordable prices
    compared to pharmaceutical drugs. This normally encourages communities
    to want to manage their forests better as they see the benefits coming
    from the traditional medicines shop. This also makes remedial medicines
    readily available for people living positively instead of them having to
    travel long distances to town to buy medicines from pharmacies.
    Communities can together with organizations conduct participatory
    research on the local valuable medicinal plants so that these can then
    be domesticated for commercial production thereby creating an income
    opportunity for the locals (the affected and infected). Normally
    medicinal plants require very minimum inputs and management hence the
    infected can also participate.

    - The other way that I have seen is organizations promoting
    Multipurpose trees growing by communities. Multipurpose trees can then
    provide the most important resources to the community such as firewood,
    live fence, natural lighting fuel, oil for soap, medicinal oils,
    powders, natural water treatment, manure, livestock feed, nutritious
    vegetables and pods etc. Multipurpose trees have the advantage of:

    o Reducing labor for the infected and affected

    o Improved cheaper nutritional vegetables, fruits and powders
    found in the local thereby making them accessible to all.

    o Low external farming inputs as the communities will be having
    the manure from these trees.

    o Some families will generate income from the processing and
    propagation of these trees

    o As well improving the soil or the environment as the communities
    or household will not longer cut trees but get most of their
    requirements from their small plots.

    Such trees are being promoted by support organizations to their
    communities: Moringa Olifera Tree (for water treatment, nutritious
    powders, vegetables, livestock feeds, oils ---- highly recommended for
    those Living Positively etc) and Jatropha (live fence, lighting fuel/oil
    and soap making oil). Jatropha can also be used for rehabilitation of
    very degraded places, as it is very drought tolerant.

    - Crafts and other income generating initiatives - communities
    in Caprivi, Tsumkwe, Kavango and North Central Namibia have been
    encouraged to produce traditional crafts for sale thereby improving
    their livelihoods and appreciating their natural resources more than
    before as they harvests their raw materials and natural dyes from the
    forests. The crafts are sold locally and internationally thereby
    improving the lives of the women.

    - In other communities, community members have been trained in
    wild fruit jam making which they sale to the local market as well as to

    - In the North Central Regions, communities are harvesting
    marula fruits for oil extraction, which they are marketing
    internationally through CRIAA thereby improving incomes to the
    communities. Communities are also getting oil for high quality soap and
    cooking oil from the remaining oils. This has helped communities to be
    interested in managing the resources better as well as made the soap and
    cooking oil easily available thereby saving costs on the already
    overstretched household.

    - 50 Conservancies have been registered in Namibia, which will
    enable communities to benefit from the wildlife and natural resources
    management efforts. Communities are benefiting from community based
    tourism initiatives such as campsites, tour guides, game tracking, craft
    making, joint ventures on lodges with private sector etc...

    - In areas like Caprivi where they are large numbers of
    elephants - youth's groups can be encouraged to collect elephant dung
    for natural paper production. The paper can be used to make envelopes
    and other tourist's souvenirs. The youths could also look at the
    undesirable weeds in the rivers and wetlands that they can also use for
    paper processing.

    - In areas with a lot of logging companies - communities or
    youths can be organized and equipped to make briquettes and boards from
    saw dust. The briquettes can be sold for fuel in urban areas and highly
    populated areas. The boards from saw dust can be sold for sealing
    materials as well as making of cheaper coffins.

    2. Farming Practices

    - Promote Conservation Farming and Agro forestry. Organizations
    are to promote local seeds and indigenous trees so those households are
    assured of a harvest and food. This can be integrated with Bees keeping
    in the agro forestry plots, which would help in the pollination of the
    field crops grown in-between the rows.

    - Promote Natural River or wetlands fish farming is that fish
    can be readily available and cheap to all. Fish farming in ponds is less
    expensive especially if its local breeds such as Tilapia which easy to
    manage. This can also be integrated with poultry and piggery farming, as
    this will form an easy production cycle.

    - Promote and training communities in intensive small-scale
    agriculture which use local available materials and resources. The
    system requires community members to have kitchen gardens designed to
    harvest water and soil in the process. Nutritious crops (butternut,
    carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, etc) and herbs (thyme,
    garlic, rosemary, parsley, sage etc) are then promoted so that the
    household has fresh products at their doorsteps.


    3. Loss of leaders and capacity in CBNRM

    - Establish Youth Environmental Clubs at local schools and

    - Fund competitions in schools on water and soil management

    - Integrate CBNRM into preschool and schools curriculum

    - Develop CBNRM children and youth specific program on TV,
    Radio, books and magazines in all local languages.

    - Establish resource centers with 50% materials on CBNRM and
    HIV/AIDS including quizzes, games and puzzles.

    - There is need for supporting organizations to consider
    interviewing the elderly members of the community on video or cassette
    recorder or written oral interview, which can then be filed in the local
    resource center for future reference.

    4. Orphans and Vulnerable Groups

    There is need for organizations and donors to allocate funding for this
    target group, as these are the most vulnerable and exposed. There is an
    increase of orphans and child headed households who have to find ways of
    fending for themselves. Some suggested strategies are as follows which
    encourage that this group becomes aware and concerned with the
    environment and HIV/AIDS:

    o Organizations to establish scholarships for best environmental
    studies pupils' upto secondary or university level.

    o Companies and organization in the environment sector to fund
    such initiatives as well as absorb the beneficiaries once graduated. CBO
    can also offer internship and training in CBNRM.

    o Organizations to have target specific NR income generating
    enterprises so that once their financial position improves then they
    will not be very much exposed.

    o Organizations can also organize exposure tours to CBNRM
    initiatives as well as have free holiday camping, which can be both
    educational, and entertainment. This will help the children and the
    vulnerable groups to appreciate the environment more and better.

    5. Support Organizations

    The biggest challenge that organizations are facing in Southern Africa
    is funding to implement their HIV/AIDS Workplace policies. In Namibia
    most of the CBNRM NGOs and Ministries have now put in places their
    workplace policies. For them to be able to effectively implement theses
    policies - some of the strategies require funding which some cannot
    afford. Some of the suggested approaches are as follows:

    o Mainstream HIV/AIDS in all CBNRM projects. Always link the
    natural resources to benefits and HIV/AIDS.

    o There is need for funding raising to implement strategies that
    reduce risk to employees as well as improve on their wellness. Staff
    going on long fieldwork should be accompanied by their spouses so as to
    reduce risky behaviours and exposure.

    o In support organization offices and /or during organizational
    meetings - beverages, food and drinks served should be healthy and
    nutritious in place of fast foods.

    o Organizations with high numbers of staff might consider hiring
    an HIV/AIDS counselor for their staff to help with awareness and
    counseling so as to encourage Voluntary Testing.

    o Have HIV/AIDS messages on all organization publications and

    6. Information and Communication

    There is need for organizations that are working with communities to
    establish well-equipped Resource Centers run by the communities
    themselves. These centers would be equipped with telephone, fax, and
    computers for Internet link, library, and satellite communication
    technology. The communities can therefore run this on self-financing

    Centers can be linked to Networks such as Open Knowledge Network, which
    allows the communities to share and learn from other communities
    elsewhere via Internet. Relevant information can be downloaded and
    printed for circulation among community members. HIV/AIDS information
    can also be downloaded or uploaded including CBNRM.

    Beauty Jiji
    -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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      Nov 11, 2008
      RE: DAY 3: Maintaining Capacity for Conservation Organizations and Communities [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Judy Oglethorpe on 03-11-2007 
      Judy Oglethorpe
      Posts: 7 
         hi, I wanted to add to Beauty's great contribution from Namibia. The
      following information came from Velia Kurz who is the National HIV and
      AIDS Coordinator for the Namibia Association of CBNRM Support
      Organisations (NACSO).

      The devastating impacts of AIDS are threatening the rapidly expanding
      communal conservancy program in Namibia. In 2004 Namibia was reported to
      have a 19% overall HIV prevalence rate, varying from 9% in the Kunene
      region to 42% in the Caprivi region. Since health services are scarce in
      the very remote areas where the communal conservancies are mostly
      located, NACSO has instigated a program to mainstream HIV and AIDS into
      the CBNRM program, since it offers a unique conduit through which
      information and education on HIV and AIDS can be passed. The program
      works at three levels, cascading down from the NACSO-member NGOs to the
      conservancies and then community level. Activities of the program

      - Putting in place HIV/AIDS workplace policies and programs at
      the NGO, conservancy and community level

      - Promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and where feasible,
      encouraging people to go for voluntary counseling and testing, and
      treatment when relevant.

      - Organizing training-of-trainer sessions and mentoring of Peer
      Educators at all levels.

      - Mobilizing social support using existing income generating
      activities in conservancies to assist orphans and vulnerable children

      - Monitoring and use of natural resources such as medicinal plants
      and wood to respond to the pandemic

      - Linkages and networking with other partners.

      The NACSO HIV and AIDS program collaborates closely with many health
      organizations at various levels from national to local.


      Given its large reach (ambitiously targeting one tenth of Namibia's
      population) and involving many different health and environment
      organizations, this is the largest HIV and AIDS program I know of that
      works through the environment sector. It is a great model and there are
      a lot of lessons we can learn from it for other countries.

      If you have more comments, please keep this discussion going!

      Best wishes, Judy
      -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --

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Date CreatedTuesday, November 11, 2008 5:38 PM
Date ModifiedWednesday, March 30, 2011 9:29 AM
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