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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 


     
     

Strategy on AIDS and Investigative journalism

Executive Summary

            It is a defining attribute of democracy that people should not merely have voice on how but they must and should be able to exert influence on the public process in which they deserve the best information on HIV/AIDS epidemic, they must be aware of developments, findings and research not only at home, but to have regular flow of information from abroad and be able to present the nature of its problems to the officials that will deal with them. Being the principle purveyor of the essential information, the press should serve as a representative of the people, critic of the governments, informer of the public, power distributor, moral guardian, myth maker, barometer of order and constructor of nation and society.

Introduction

            Various organizations in Africa have launched different programmes and projects to combat HIV/AIDS. However, Media seems to be failing in this quest primarily due to the fact that coverage of the issue is not culturally sensitive.

            Knowledge on HIV/AIDS as a bio-medical condition, a socio-economic and demographic condition, Gender, cultural, human rights and legal issue have yet to be dealt with

            Although the power of information and effectiveness of communications have been recognized, few studies that have been carried out in east Africa addressing the effectiveness of media in reporting HIV/AIDS. In Kenya, a study carried out from January 1997 to June 1998 showed that 99 stories in 340 newspaper editions were HIV/AIDS related. If the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS in this country is taken into consideration, one of the possible explanations for such low coverage could be the inability of editors and reporters to properly address HIV/AIDS and its impact on society.

            In Uganda, media also gave little coverage to HIV/AIDS issues. Most of the reports were given through NGO’s and UN agencies. Reporters initiated few articles. The most frequent subjects were prevention, prevalence and awareness of HIV/AIDS with of blame being directed towards life style or sex workers.

            In other sub-Saharan countries no media research has been done. The conclusion one draws is that media coverage on HIV/AIDS in most of these countries did not contribute profoundly in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

            The gains in Uganda are welcomed, but there is need for greater media mobilization on a regional level for combating HIV/AIDS and helping society to make free sensible choices and decisions. It is important to mention that some countries like Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi have faced been in conflict and suffered badly, damaged infrastructure. There has been chronic drought in some of the countries in the sub-Saharan region and recurrent famine. Taking into account these factors and the large number of people affected by HIV/AIDS, we may conclude that apart from aids Alternative Treatments which have been necessary for the survival of the majority of the population in many countries, mass media must and have an obligation to encourage communities in all these countries to further efforts towards rebuilding their countries and fighting against HIV/AIDS.

Social, Economic,  Demographic,  Impact of HIV/AIDS

            The social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS is devastating and affects the individuals, communities, firms, governments and countries. It affects the health status of society, health related expenditures at household, firms and governmental level. It lowers the productivity and growth performance of countries, as well as reversing the gains made in human development and progress in the social sector.

            Africa faces more daunting economic challenges relative to other regions of the world. It is the only region with population growth rate of about 3% per annum.

it therefore requires gross domestic product (GDP) growth in excess of 3% in order to cope with problems of unemployment and poverty reduction. It is estimated that sub-Saharan African countries would require a real GDP growth rate of 6% in order to achieve targets of World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) on poverty reduction and to be able to increase access to basic social services.

            The rapid increase in urbanization also leads to pressure for services in the urban areas. Increase in urban population brings with it a current increase in the number of urban poor characterized by an expansion of unplanned settlements, income inequality, increased child and infant mortality as well as reduced life expectancy. Comparing Africa’s income and purchasing power parity (PPP) with other countries, the indicators are showing that Africa is the poorest region in the world, characterized by high-income inequalities, uneven access to productive resources and basic social services. Many people live below the international poverty line of US$ 1 a day as a result of low income.  Incremental Capital Output Ratio (ICOR) was the lowest compared to other regions. This is a pointer to low returns to investments whether public or private, characterized by, a huge portfolio of uncompleted projects or excess capacities that prevail in industries. These statistics show the major challenges Africa, and indeed sub-Saharan Africa faces in the 21st century.

            These figures points to the greater challenge that countries in sub-Saharan Africa have to deal with even as they make efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These constrain greatly diminish the capacity of countries to effectively respond to an epidemic that threatens to wipe an entire generation in some countries in the region.

            An increase in poverty and literacy, lack of opportunities, erosion of social values and family life act as catalysts to high risk sexual behavior and loss of moral. The wide range of factors like absence of income, economic hardship, loss of appeal of agriculture as a profession, increase of school drop outs, alcohol and drug abuse, war and instability have contributed to a high risk environment for HIV/AIDS affected population.

            Though, the youth and women are among the most vulnerable group to HIV/AIDS, they are the best agents for behavior change. The early sexual activity at young age, multiple partners and restricted access to information classifies this group including young men, as the most exposed to the infection. The less people know about the disease, the more negative they tend to be about HIV/AIDS infected families. It is interesting that individuals tend to blame their partners for transmitting HIV but not themselves for engaging in high-risk sexual behavior. Generally speaking, young children are better informed; in particular boys. In rural areas girls tend to drop out from school at an early stage. Out of school young men are better informed than young women and again old women are better informed than young women.

            To reduce HIV we should involve the youth itself in the generation of appropriate messages. We should also address socio-economic norms, cultural norms, sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, bar and disco culture, ritual cleansing, wife inheritance, etc.

A Cultural Approach to HIV/AIDS

            It is widely recognized that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not only a sector based medical problem but a multifaceted issue which requires multidimensional strategies. The modern type information/education/communication, promotion of condom use will not achieve the expected results if the question is limited to medical considerations and its solution to pharmaceutical means. It is, indeed a complex socio-economic, societal and cultural phenomenon to be considered in the perspective of sustainable human development. This is why prevention and treatment of the epidemic requires a cultural approach to be taken to face the issue in all its aspects.

            In order to bring about changes in cultural references and behavioral norms liable to making more difficult risk reduction, two pre-requisites have to be met: First, every action should pay due attention to mentalities, traditions, beliefs and value systems, for ethical and practical reasons, in order to overcome obstacles which might arise in the process of HIV/AIDS prevention treatment, and second, the societal and cultural resources of the populations, including knowledge, know-how, modes of economic and social organization and their creativity, self-confidence and willingness to solve their problems should always be mobilized in prevention and care activities.

            Based on the established fact that culture is the basis and core of any economic and social transformation, providing sustainable and human development is really the objective. It is now well known thanks to the World Decade for Cultural Development and the World Commission report on Culture and Development that the interactions between these two realities are the basis for any valuable work in both fields. This is why a cultural approach should be taken in all development strategies, programs and projects, whether comprehensive or sectorial.

            As regards HIV/Aids prevention and care, taking a cultural approach means that any population’s cultural references and resources (ways of life, value systems, traditions and beliefs and the fundamental right of persons) will be considered as key references in building a framework for strategy policies and project planning, but also as resources and basis for building relevant and sustainable actions. This is an indispensable condition for reaching in-depth and long term changes in people’s behaviors and giving full consistency to medical and sanitary strategies and projects.

            On these basis the aim of this project is to:

1.- Improve the understanding of the interaction between culture, the evolution of the AIDS crisis and development issues.

2.- Identify cultural factors and resources, which play an important role in the expansion of HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

3.- Assess the role of these factors and resources in securing the relevance and efficiency of actions carried out in the field of prevention and care and the institutional cultures of the organizations involved.

4.- Identify specific needs of disadvantaged risk groups (women, commercial sex workers, youth, children, the poor, minorities, refugees) and methods of addressing their problems with a cultural approach.

5.- Identify  and analyze  selected cases, in which the recognition of these factors positively affects the results of different strategies and programs  and the conditions for adapting successful initiatives to other contexts (replicability) and identification of priority issues for future strategies and research.

Increased Level of Understanding of HIV/AIDS among the media of Legal Issues.

                        HIV/AIDS has given rise to numerous legal and ethical issues, which must be addressed together with other multi-sectorial issues brought into focus by the epidemic.  These issues have a direct bearing on the prevention measures as well as management care and support of those infected and affected by the epidemic.  For this reason the media itself must identify the key legal issues, become conversant with them and to disseminate them. Thus equipped, the journalists will become effective educators.  They must be able to write about public health legislation, criminal laws and correctional systems, anti-discrimination and protective laws, laws relating to regulation of goods, services and information, women, children and other vulnerable groups, human rights and a host of other legal and ethical issues brought about by HIV/AIDS in its wake.

            In the sub-region under review the following legal and ethical issues were identified as cutting across the entire area.

HIV/AIDS at the workplace:

(i)                  Discrimination at the work place is rampant. 

(ii)                Mandatory pre-employment testing and involuntary routine medical tests for HIV in the course of employment appears routine.

(iii)               Breaches of confidentiality of HIV test results by employers are commonplace.

(iv)              Access to drugs and medical treatment of employees is lacking.

Confidentiality on HIV/AIDS test results:

The following breaches of confidentiality were identified:

(i)                  In the medical practice scenario where medical practitioners face many ethical dilemmas.

(ii)                In the context of the family where partner notification is demanded/advocated.

(iii)               In medical records in hospitals where existing systems.

(iv)              In employment where employers demand to know the HIV status of their employees at the pain of denied them employment if such results are not given.

(v)                In premarital cases where marriage celebrants demand HIV test results before solemnizing the marriage.

(vi)              In educational institutions where such institutions seek to know a student’s sero-status as a condition precedent to admission.

(vii)             In insurance practice where mortgage protection policies are usually given only after a favourable medical report.

 


Discrimination and Stigmatisation Generally:

The sub-region has recorded the following areas of discrimination:

(i)                  In employment situations.

(ii)                In restrictions to travel.

(iii)               In demand of housing and other social benefits.

(iv)              Isolation of individuals or grounds of their HIV-sero-status.

(v)                In educational institutions.

People in especially difficult circumstances/vulnerable groups:

Journalists in the region need to:

(i)                  Refugees and other people in confinement.

(ii)                HIV/AIDS in prison.

(iii)               HIV/AIDS in the context of women and children.

Human rights abuse:

There is ample evidence of human rights abuse against these rights

(i)                  The right to work.

(ii)                The right to marry and found a family.

(iii)               The right to privacy,

(iv)              The right to life.

(v)                The right to liberty and security of the house.

(vi)              The right to social security, assistance and welfare.

(vii)             The right to education.

Research:

The entire sub-region has a sad story of improper research involving:

(i)                  Unethical research involving human subjects.

(ii)                Misleading information and false claims for alleged cures for AIDS.

(iii)               Unauthorised research carried out without research protocols and against the established principles in the Helsinki Declaration.

(iv)              Unethical vaccine trials.

AIDS in the family:

Issues arising from HIV/AIDS in the family include:

(i)                  Protection of women in unequal socio-economic bargaining positions with their spouses.

(ii)                Transmission of HIV from mother to child.

(iii)               Partner-notification of HIV results.

(iv)              Discrimination against widows and orphans with regard to property of deceased husbands and parents.

(v)                Reproductive rights of women.

Cultural practices:

Throughout the sub-region these cultural issues arose:

(i)                  The risk of HIV infection in polygamous marriages.

(ii)                Early marriages and the legal protection of the girl-child.

(iii)               The practice of “wife-inheritance” vis-à-vis human rights.

The criminal law and HIV/AIDS

These questions frequently arise:

(i)                  Is there need for legislation against “deliberate” infection?

(ii)                Is abortion useful as control mechanism against the spread of HIV infection?

(iii)               What about euthanasia?

Gender and HIV/AIDS

            Gender can be defined as the opportunities, roles, responsibilities and personal identities that a particular society prescribes as proper for men and women, influenced by determinants such as race, culture, community, time, ethnicity, occupation, age and level of education.

            Women’s sexual problems are not individual but social, not biological but ideological, not a problem related to health or illness but to politics.

            Years of struggle for women’s rights opened up new areas of participation for women in the fields of education, economic, politics in develop countries but still very little has changed in developing countries in these fields and almost nothing at the sexual level due to untouchable traditional roles. The lack of sexual freedom makes women unequal and pitifully dependent on men. In most societies, gender determines how and what men and women are expected to know about sexual matters, including behaviours, pregnancy and STD’s. Policies and programme to promote greater equality between men and women are considered crucial to the HIV prevention. Despite this recognition, most programmes continue to work solely with women in attempt to empower them in sexual relationship.

            Women’s subordinate position within the homes is deeply entrenched in traditional, legal, religious and social structures. Economic discrimination limits the opportunities for women to gain financial independence from their partners. These inequalities have been intensified by the current economic difficulties facing many sub-Saharan countries and increasing the burden that HIV/AIDS is placing on communities and families. In many sub-Saharan countries role of men and women are clearly defined.

            The imbalance in power between men and women is responsible for much of the luck of safety in sexual relationship. The gender role of women affects marriages, non-marital relationship and commercial sex as well. Rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, forced prostitution and other violence against women and children, including in marriage and families, occur in all countries and social settings. Gender roles have significant influence on the course and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: gender role definition influences the ways men and women are vulnerable to HIV transmission and mediate the impact of living with HIV/AIDS. Unequal gender relations can be seen in many ways but are particularly visible in the vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS in developing countries and in men’s risk taking behaviours. Although women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS is partly determined by physiological, economical, social and sexual factors, the central issue is inequality of women to men.

            Male sexual needs are acknowledged to a greater extent than female needs. Many cultures use words to describe male sexuality in a positive way and female sexuality in a more negative and judgemental way. Many women and men define sex largely according to what they believe gives men pleasure. Often women do not explore, let alone assert their own preferences because this is considered inappropriate. The dominance of male needs and denial of female needs impedes open discussion between the sexes and limits people’s chances of achieving mutually satisfying, respectful and safe forms of sexual behaviour. Demand for sexual services is fuelled by cultural attitudes condoning or even encouraging male sexual freedom while repressing female sexuality.

 


Role of the United Nations system.

            The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is an unprecedented development crisis, no longer confined to certain groups or to particular regions. In most of the world it has become a mainstream concern-affecting individuals of all age groups and all social-economic backgrounds. The impact on economic development is becoming increasingly apparent in virtually every social sector, especially in the most seriously affected countries. The response to HIV/AIDS must likewise draw upon every sector.

            HIV/AIDS is increasingly discussed in high-level international fora on economic, health, security, labour and social issues. Some examples include UN Security Council; the annual meeting of the World Bank Development Committee, the World Health Assembly; the International Labour Conference; and regional Summits, such as those of the organization of African Unit and the Association of South-East Asian Nations.  In the G8 communiqué “Okinawa 2000”, adopted by the summit, infectious diseases were raised as an important theme and various quantitative targets were set for the coming   years. As a result, a new partnership between G8 countries, governments of developing countries, international organizations and civil society is being established to tackle this issue, which is becoming a serious obstacle to social and economical development in developing countries.

            Recognizing the importance of a multi-dimensional effort to fight HIV/AIDS, through 1994 resolution of the United Nations economic and Social Council, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was launched in January 1996. The Programme, comprising a Secretariat and seven UN system organizations (UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNDCP, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank) seeks to lead, strengthen and support an expanded response to the epidemic in order to prevent the spread of HIV, provide care and support for those infected and alleviate the social-economic and human impact of the epidemic. The seven Cosponsoring Organizations offer countries a broad range of experience, efforts and resources of relevance to the fight against the epidemic. Cooperation agreements have also been signed between the UNAIDS Secretariat and other UN and non-UN bodies to intensify collaborative efforts in other areas of expertise.

            The mandate of each of the co-sponsoring organizations:

*The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) is entrusted with exclusive responsibility for coordinating and providing effective leadership for all United Nations drug control activities. In this context, UNDCP is active in supporting HIV/AIDS prevention programme to reduce the demand for illicit drugs. Its primary focus is on the youth and high-risk groups.

*The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works to increase understanding of the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS on development, to create effective gender-sensitive multi-sectorial HIV/AIDS policies on poverty reduction strategies; and to strengthen institutional management, aid coordination and disbursement mechanisms. UNDP advocates for increased development funding and for actions to break the silence surrounding the epidemic. It promotes discussion and implementation of policies that integrates HIV/AIDS into national development strategies, poverty reduction strategies and institutional reform. UNDP acts as an honest broker in bringing together effective-community-based programs with potential sources of funding.

*The mandate of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is to foster international cooperation in intellectual activities designed to promote human rights, help establish just and lasting peace and further general welfare of mankind. UNESCO contributed to UNAIDS by virtue of the scope of its field of competence, its interdisciplinary approaches, and its experience, and by bringing the vast network of institutions with which it collaborates into the fight against HIV/AIDS

*The mandate of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is, inter alias, to build the knowledge and capacity of countries to respond to needs in the area of population, with a major focus on reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health. UNFPA contributes to UNAIDS’ mandate with its expertise in reproductive health promotion and service delivery, its experience in logistics and management of reproductive health commodities, including condoms, and its experience in strengthening national capacity-building.

*The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), acting within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, works with governments and non-governments organizations in the fields of health, nutrition, basic education, safe water and sanitation to improve the lives of children, youth and women. It brings to UNAIDS its operational field capacity in over 160 countries. UNICEF’s priority programme areas for HIV/AIDS focus on prevention of infection, especially of adolescents, school AIDS education, children and families affected by AIDS, and mother-to-child HIV transmission

* As a leading international health authority, the World Health Organization (WHO) supports countries to strengthen their health systems response to the epidemics of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. Its major focus is on prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, vaccines and microbicides, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, blood safety, epidemiological and behavioural surveillance, safe injection practice, strengthening of health systems, voluntary counselling and testing, management of HIV-related illnesses alternatives and complements to hospital care, access to drugs.

* The mandate of the World Bank is to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life. Between 1986 and late 1999, the World Bank committed over US$ 980 million for more than 75 HIV/AIDS projects worldwide. Most of the resources have been provided on highly concessional terms. To more effectively address the devastating consequences of HIV/AIDS on development, the Bank is strengthening its response to epidemic, working in partnership with UNAIDS, donor agencies and governments. The Bank “Intensifying Action against HIV/AIDS in Africa” strategic plan aims to rapidly increase action and available resources and to bring to scale the interventions needed for prevention and impact mitigation.

UNESCO’s  Role

            UNESCO, in its fields of competence, should contribute to the collective endeavor, which aims at reducing the number of HIV/AIDS-infected young people by 25% by 2010. This is also a critical UN target.

            It should be highlighted the importance to be assigned to the HIV/AIDS in UNESCO’s programme and its implementation of a large number of projects and activities in this field involving education, culture, science and communication. A comprehensive strategy for HIV/AIDS eradication, structured under a certain number of flagship activities, is needed. New information technologies and mass media should be used to enforce mobilization of advocacy, information and other resources in AIDS prevention. This could constitute the core of this strategy, which should envisage working with two key target groups, women and the youth, in particular young couples. Based on the best UNESCO practices and taking into account pertinent international development targets, this strategy should also draw on the experience gained by other sectors i.e. scientific approaches, cultural studies, preventive education through educational systems, whether via formal or non-formal approaches, etc.

            It is obvious that such a strategy can only be fully implemented if UNESCO manages to build up active partnerships at international level, to ensure all of them are included as key focus in international agendas on HIV/AIDS issues, and at regional level, were it should give high priority to activities designed to meet the needs of the regions hardest hit by HIV/AIDS.

Using Communication for HIV/AIDS Prevention and care Strategic Action Plan on HIV/AIDS.-

            Three factors are important in designing a strategy to sensitize the public and target audiences on the problems of HIV/AIDS bearing in mind the overall goal of reducing AIDS infections globally.

            1.-The most important single fact from UNAIDS reports is that young people between the ages of 10 and 24 account for more than 50% of the new infections after infancy worldwide. This means that most of such infections are from heterosexual relations and not solely from homosexual contact. Isolating this single factor simplifies somewhat the eventual approaches to a clear and efficacious set of solutions. In other words, young people, and particularly in young couples, must be an integral part of the policy and of the solution.

            2.-Both men and women are part of the problem; they are also part of the solution. Strategies must therefore be gender sensitive, but particularly focus on the social and cultural problems facing girls and young women. Women are the more vulnerable in the young age group, both because they are more susceptible to contracting infections and because they are often dominated by the other sex.

            3.- The use of communication has usually followed “campaign style” strategies for adoption (use of condom); or social change (safe sex); sensationalism (AIDS cases and victims, medicinal breakthroughs). Communication has been inadequately used to investigate reasons and root causes, and often-general social and cultural factors; nor has communication been adequately used to promote social and political solutions (advocacy).

            Three main conclusions can be drawn from the above brief analysis:

a)      Ways must be identified to ensure the representation of young people, either as individuals or as organizations in any group that seeks to formulate national policies to reduce vulnerability of young people to HIV/AIDS. There must be ways of obtaining these views and sensitizing the public and political leaders about them.

b)      Special programs should be worked out for girls and young women, taking into account the particularities of region, history and tradition, culture, and civil unrest or conflicts.

c)      Special attention should be given to applying the techniques of investigative journalism and advocacy to the problems facing women and young people in their sexual relationships, and particularly the problem of HIV/AIDS in its fullest social, cultural and economic context.

            Notwithstanding all the research and project reporting, there are still a number of unknowns with regard to how the virus is contracted, in what circumstances and how these circumstances came about. Little is known of ethnic and social taboos and how these are related to HIV/AIDS. Few specialists living in the industrial countries can fathom how extreme poverty can lead to desperation, convincing parents to sell their children for money or services. Little is understood about the traffic of young girls and boys for the purposes of prostitution and pedophilia in various parts of Southeast and South Asia, sub-Sahara Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, and now Eastern Europe particularly following periods of armed conflict. Nor is it known how this is related to organized crime rings of prostitution and pedophilia, including their operations on the Internet.

            Not only is it necessary to investigate and understand the relationships between this phenomena and the spread or prevalence of HIV/AIDS, it is also necessary to inform the public about them. And is why a strong component of investigative journalism and in-depth media analysis would serve well in underpinning future action. An effective response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, regardless of the social and cultural context, requires effective communication strategies. The strategic goal which should underline  the communication and HIV/AIDS projects is to identify, develop and advocate best practices, in particular among media practitioners, professionals and organizations in reporting on HIV/AIDS and in using communication to create awareness and generate knowledge about its causes and prevention. The specific objectives should be:

            1.- Through media campaigns, to increase the level of understanding among the public, but particularly of young people and women, of the AIDS infection, how it is incurred, how to prevent it, and how to encourage others;

            2.- To form or strengthen the growing corps of media practitioners ready to report on Aids and to use media in support of programs for its prevention and management;

            3.- To provide through newspapers, radio, Internet and other forms or combinations of communication media a permanent and constantly updated source of in-depth information on the epidemic;

            4.- To set up AIDS information databases on the internet accessible to media practitioners and others and provide more comprehensive, updated information on a regular basis; and

            5.-To promote through the media, programs and activities of inter-governmental agencies, governmental bodies, NGO’s and other groups dealing with AIDS prevention and spread.

In the Action Plan for the sub-Saharan Africa, the strategy should be towards building a solid base of information and understanding on how the media should operate with respect to AIDS and how further benefits can be gained. This endeavor should involve both media researchers and practicing journalists.

The UN Eastern Africa Strategy on HIV/AIDS and Investigative Journalism Project. UNESCO Communication Office

1.-Context and overall purpose:

            UNESCO through its Office of Communication in cooperation with UNAIDS Working group, as well as specialized regional and national NGO’s related areas is looking to set up a working framework for the emergence of investigative journalism on HIV/AIDS related issues in the Media in Eastern Africa, one of the most affected areas by the pandemic in the world.

2.- Objectives:

a)      Improve the quality and quantity of flow of information to the media and the civil society in general through the setting-up of a regional Eastern and Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Media Clearing House.

b)      To enhance the knowledge of all stakeholders in the society through the use of international platforms such as internet and the use of NICT’s;

c)      To contribute to the decrease of the pandemic through the development and production of media programs and information which are appropriate to the grave situation faced by East Africa;

d)      To enhance the effective, active and full participation of civil society- including the private sector- in the processes of gathering, processing and distribution of information through the introduction of a participatory process in the three-prone process of learning, informing and reaction (feedback);

e)      To enhance the monitoring and evaluation systems to assess the impact of the media on HIV/AIDS activities and campaigns;

f)        To increase the recurrence of “Best Practices” in Eastern Africa through enhanced cooperation with the HIV/AIDS Media Clearing House in Southern Africa and, at a latter stage, with the rest of Africa;

3.- Implementation Strategy:

1)      To launch a regional survey, on the need and nature of the coverage required and information needs;

2)      To identify and set-up interconnections (working protocols) with regional networks of journalists media houses and information clearing houses, NGO’s, CBO’s as well with the private sector organizations;

3)      To evaluate and improve the content of the information packages for the print and broadcast media specially for training media professional on the job;

4)      Introduce the subject of HIV/AIDS and investigative journalism in the communication curricula in the region;

5)      To define with the UNAIDS Working group and other partners, a strategy fro the training of media professionals with a participatory approach for the design of HIV/AIDS campaigns in the media for each country and region according to their educational, social and cultural particularities;

6)      To gather a core of influential media professionals dealing with the subject of HIV/AIDS including editors, journalists as well as government information and public relation staff;

7)      To set-up in cooperation with UNAIDS Working group a Media Clearing House          to gather, process and distribute actualized information on different aspects of the pandemic. This information will include that of specialized NGO’s, CBO’s, the private sector and other stakeholders;

8)      To launch and Eastern and Southern website on HIV/AIDS and Investigative Journalism to provide with an on-line outlet and a platform for exchanges on the subject for media professionals but also for the general public;

9)       To introduce a continuous and participatory monitor and evaluation structure – including focus groups and monthly surveys – to evaluate effectiveness;

10)  To set-up a network for distribution and collection of information to assess impact of the media on national campaigns to help define priorities in the allocation of resources and interventions;

11)  To set-up a physical Media Clearing House that will contain the website with a journalistic reference datable and actualized background documentation from all UN Agencies and other stakeholders (governments, NGO’s, CBO’s, etc) working in the subject of HIV/AIDS;

12)  To facilitate dissemination of information through mass media outlets in the region and monitor the outcome in a recurrent and continuous form.

4.- Partners:

UNDP, UNDCP, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNFPA, WHO, ILO, World Bank, UNESCO National Commissions, SAFAIDS, ZAMCOM, IPS, MWENGO, Task Force for the Review of HIV/AIDS related Laws.