Media and HIV – getting together

It was hot, humid and sweaty and the airline had lost my luggage.  After filling out a few bureaucratic forms with a smiling Zambian face, I joined the bus of strangers – new recruits to Idasa’s Community of Practice for African communications practitioners who write about HIV/AIDS.  We were to spend two days together, at the start of a 4 year relationship.  The bus journey to the hotel was peppered with polite, get-to-know-you conversations…

Two days later, many hours of sharing stories and exploring how to build citizen action through media and communication work, we were no longer strangers.  The group sessions promoted discussion and deliberation about the role of citizens, and the role of journalists – and how these two overlapped for people in the room.  Questions shot around the room about how to wear two different hats, how to manage conflicts of interest, how to avoid being used for personal agendas, and make sure your journalistic skills are not exploited.

The discussions were thought provoking and relationships formed in a way that will encourage deeper engagement over the next four years.  The workshop included a session on how we should keep talking to each other, especially in between meetings, and for the duration of the 4 years.  Following their suggestions, a social networking hub was set up for participants to keep talking – and a googlemap was also used to plot participants work and partnerships across the continent.  See some of the interviews on video here.


– Samantha Fleming was an Idasa participant at the launch of Idasa’s Community of Practice –