Introduction

The C4D Network, through its consultancy channel, is managing a new project focusing on the use of ICT for HIV/AIDS programming: with a special focus on developing a repository and learning community that enables universal access to content, research results and technology solutions of the many innovative and successful ICT projects that exist for young people in sub-Saharan Africa, in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS.

UNAIDS and C4D Network's aim is not merely to show technical solutions, but to explain exactly how they were designed and how they are used.

Context

On 27th-29th November 2015, the C4D Network’s East Africa Hub participated in a meeting on ‘Exploring the Role of New Information and Communications Technology in HIV Programmes with Youth and Adolescents in Africa,’ which took place in Harare, Zimbabwe. The meeting was a consultation with African countries, including representatives of innovative projects using ICT targeting adolescents and young people, private sector, communications experts, national AIDS programmes, young people organizations and UN representatives, and intended to establish recommendations for developing this field of activity. This was part of a C4D Network project in which eleven in-depth case studies on the topic were gathered, published online, and showcased at events in Harare and London. The full report can be viewed online: 'The use of new ICTs to support HIV and sexual health, targeting youth and adolescents – case studies and report'

One of the key ‘next steps’ arising from the Harare meeting discussions was the need for an accessible repository of materials for such interventions.

Project Activities include:

  • Creation of a Learning Repository: a portal into HIV/AIDS technology resources will be developed and will include access to software, case studies and case study maps as well as a online community forum.
  • Ongoing expansion of the Learning Repository: the repository will be continually updated with new resources and content will be curated on a monthly basis.
  • Online Community: A Hub Community will be created. On this forum, members will be able to have forum discussions, post their own material, and contact one another for collaboration through a secure internal server.
  • Directory: The hub will also include a directory of relevant organisations, newsletters,networks, a reading ist, and a calendar of events in the sector.

Background: HIV/AIDS in Africa is one of the most important global public health issues of our time. The vast majority of people living with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with an estimated 25.6 million people living with HIV in 2015. About 66% of new HIV infections in 2015 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has brought catastrophic problems in sub-Saharan Africa by causing destruction of social capital, weakening of institutions, increase in poverty levels and creating of orphans.

At the same time, New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are a powerful tool that can support the implementation of HIV programming in a cost-effective and innovative manner. Tele-density continues to rise in most sub-Saharan countries with mobile phone penetration averaging around 60-70%. ICTs solutions can be used to improve the flow of HIV and AIDS between communities, to promote advocacy and networking on a global level and provide support to health care systems. 

Recognising the potential of ICTs, UNAIDS has commissioned research and development of resources to explore the opportunities for using ICTs within HIV programming in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a participatory approach, the project sources information from the C4D community, HIV networks and sector experts to develop a repository of resources for building up an engaging, knowledge base.

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