Report Of Sept 2012 Regional Workshops
Regional Workshops August/September 2012
In August/September 2012 HEAIDS facilitated seven regional workshops of HEIs to brief and consult on the following matters: 
Policy and Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS for Higher Education Monitoring and Evaluation Framework Regional Forums 2013 First Things First HCT campaign Conference: "Applying the Research; Researching the Applied"
The discussions were preceded by presentations as per the attached agenda.
Given the scope and relevance of the matters tabled, HEAIDS requested the attendance of entire HICC teams and including representatives of EAPs, Workplace Programmes, HR Departments, Campus Health Services, unions, staff associations, SRCs, Communications departments, and persons working on HIV Curricula from the respective faculties of education and other relevant faculties. Representatives appreciated the opportunity the regional workshops presented for introductions and contact between colleagues, including especially from the very same institutions.
The workshops were supported by Ms Miriam Chipimo, the UNAIDS Country Office's Senior Policy and Programme Advisor, who shared findings and perspectives that informed the National Strategic Plan and, facilitated the agenda item discussions on the Policy and Strategic Framework and the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
A number of the workshops were also joined by representatives of the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) who presented on the changed funding environment impacting on FPD's role in the First Things First HCT campaign.
Almost all the workshops were also briefly attended and addressed by the Vice Chancellor of the hosting university, each of whom contributed stimulating perspectives on HIV and AIDS and the Higher Education sector and society. Vice Chancellors who were unable to be present were officially represented by delegated representatives.
Themes addressed by Vice Chancellors
... the need to protect society's investment in Higher Education ... ... the role of "corporate wellness" in ensuring productive participation in the economy ... ... the importance of leadership, which is "about taking responsibility" ... ... the relevance of context, and the need for diversity across and within institutions to be "deeply appreciated" ... ... the importance of "aligning" as institutions and a nation ... the high level of families' "first generation" students and the importance of their role in communities ... ... the need for "new knowledge and practices" through research ... ... the challenge to engage "contradiction" in society and in relation to HIV and AIDS, for example how femininity and masculinity are constructed ... ... South Africa's "malady": the "policy-implementation gap" ...
Policy and Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS for Higher Education
The workshops received the draft Policy and Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS for Higher Education, which is a revision of the existing Policy Framework on HIV and AIDS for Higher Education. The Framework accounts for:
the findings of the HEAIDS impact studies of 2009/2010, the 2012-2016 National Strategic Plan for HIV, STIs and TB, the need to provide a more practical guide to implementation, a better formulation of objectives to facilitate effective Monitoring and Evaluation.
The following were noted among substantive points of feedback for consideration in the final draft of the Framework:
make clear the status of the existing Policy Framework some concepts and assumptions in the Framework needed to be critically interrogated: for example the efficacy of Peer Education has of recent been questioned the conceptualisation and alignment of components to some objectives needed further thought for better coherence. "Prevention" for example is categorised in a number of different places. provide further clarity on the following provisions, including with reference to institutional capacity:
- "reasonable accommodation for infected persons" and "family assistance programmes" in the wellness objectives;
- "stigma mitigation framework" and "stigma index" in the implementation objectives related to stigma and discrimination
address student pregnancy address indigenous culture include family planning motivate the importance of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Framework
Among other points of feedback and discussion were:
a suggestion for a dedicated consultation on the Framework with students as well as with HIV positive members of the university community; the need to address the implementation challenges faced by distance learning institutions; the need to be mindful of unintended consequences of policy, for example mistaken assumptions of protection from HIV because of circumcision. emphasis of the need for an integrated institutional response involving all relevant role players, as this is a core requirement for implementation of the Framework; the need to address the sense of additional burden academics feel in relation to an HIV mitigation role and responsibility; the need to be circumspect in assumptions about the know-how of academics to facilitate the provisions of the Framework; curriculum integration should not be assumed to have to take place across the board; be mindful of the social and technological changes that have taken place that impacts on student activity; a suggestion for an operational plan template based on the Framework; the need for institutional funding support for implementation of the Framework.
More general points of discussion arising included:
the need to understand the specific culture/s of institutions that influence student behaviour;. a call for STI treatment to be made cheaper by provincial health departments; the requirement for more effective and responsive working relationships with the Department of Health.
Institutions were provided the opportunity to submit further written feedback on the Policy and Strategic Framework.
Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
The workshops emphasised the importance of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to programme implementation and development, as well as to fundraising efforts, and explained the methodology by which the sector wide M&E Framework is currently being developed as well as the proposed routine and periodic measurement indicators derived from the objectives of the Policy and Strategic Framework .
Among the points of feedback and discussion raised for the final draft of the M&E Framework to consider were:
facilitation of measurement baselines as a priority, including information on existing baselines; measurement of objective 2, related to Health and Wellness, should also seek to positively capture the Health and Wellness status of students and staff, for example measuring the numbers of people who test HIV negative; the challenge of measuring staff who are on medical aid or students tested off campus? some statistical requirement terms like "prevalence" need amendment because these can't be provided; reporting should be based on the specific institutional interventions; indicators need to be developed further for measuring the creation of an "enabling environment" as per Objective 3 of the Policy and Strategic Framework; guidance on coordinating the dual reporting requirement to HEAIDS as well as the Department of Health; guidance for the development of results based plans; include the previously published HEAIDS "norms and standards" document; provision for M&E tools to be revisited and further developed; a further full day workshop on M&E to be facilitated.
Other points of discussion related to M&E included:
the capturing and misrepresentation of activity undertaken by HEIs as that of DOH; the need for "urgent" training in M&E and for a time frame. the need to measure the prevalence of risk factors such as prostitution and transactional sex by students; the need to evaluate not just the "numbers" but the "experience" and "quality" of programmes; caution against assuming causality in results; M&E to facilitate reflection by practitioners about their "own" practice; the need to develop resources and capacity for time consuming and staff intensive evaluations to be undertaken; whether programme implementers should assess their own work? address issue of accountability in terms of any "under performance" that is revealed; guard against a one sided reporting obligation to HEAIDS that may be experienced as authoritative; develop capacity at HEAIDS to promote and undertake relevant research.
Institutions were provided the opportunity to submit further written feedback on the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
The workshops canvassed a HEAIDS proposal for HEIs to establish regional forums as is organically being developed by various HEIS. The Western Cape based HEIs have since 2004/05 successfully constituted a regional forum, the AIDS Committee of Tertiary Institutions of the Western Cape (ACTIW). The convening of a joint workshop in 2011 by Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare, which led to the establishment of a variety of task teams, is another example of the organic basis for regional forums. The HEIs of Gauteng and the Free State too have engaged on a regional basis.
A strategic objective of the HEAIDS programme is to even out the HIV/AIDS response across the Higher Education sector and to develop a unified sector response, including on the basis of best practice exchange. Unity of purpose is a critical requirement for a successful response and its achievement contributes to a sector effort of meaningful scale.
Regional Forums may also facilitate the work of the programme, with cost saving benefits.
One workshop additionally motivated regional forums as a basis for representation on provincial AIDS Councils.
HEAIDS encouraged the development of regional forums and stands ready to support them in terms of venue and catering costs. However the regional workshops left it to HEIs themselves to consider the efficacy of regional forums and to initiate them if desired. One of the key considerations raised was the need for a champion/s to invest the necessary time and energy to establish and sustain a regional forum.
2013 First Things First HCT campaign
The regional workshops received reports of the withdrawal of funding by PEPFAR to FPD for direct service provision. PEPFAR instead is to fund only the Technical Assistance activity of FPD from 2013. This has implication for the role FPD has played in providing, managing and coordinating personnel and consumables in the First Things First campaign.
The proposal that personnel from HEIs now be trained at no cost by FPD to undertake counselling and testing for the campaign and for the routine long term was put to the regional workshops.
FPD would also provide HEAIDS with introductions to other service providers who have supported the campaign for their continued campaign mobilisation and deployment.
HEIs would be required to directly collect and distribute the testing consumables required for the campaign from their nearest Department of Health facility.
All other aspects of the campaign system would essentially remain the same. IMSA would continue to provide the campaign marketing material. HEAIDS however would need to ensure the supply of testing consumables b y the Department of Health and manage the reporting of statistics.
The regional workshops have affirmed the importance and value of the First Things First campaign as the only sector wide campaign, with benefits not only in terms of the HCT programmes of institutions, but to the general public profile of the sector and strategic partnerships that the campaign facilitates. The regional workshops have responded well to undertaking the requirements for the sustenance of the campaign, not least because it is so well established amongst and anticipated by the student population.
Conference: "Applying the Research; Researching the Applied"
The regional workshops received a report of the planned HEAIDS conference: "Applying the Research; Researching the Applied" at the University of Cape Town on 28, 29, 30 November 2012.
The conference is motivated by the ongoing need to strategically focus, strengthen and deepen institutional responses, and expand them for an effective comprehensive response. This requires that interventions be driven by more profound and evidential understandings, and be monitored, evaluated and interrogated for continuously better efficacy. Hence the dynamically interrelated conference theme: "Applying the Research / Researching the Applied".
It was stressed however that the conference is explicitly rooted in the wealth of practical experience that practitioners at HEIs have garnered and aims to make a meaningful difference to ongoing practice.
HEIs were encouraged to attend the conference in numbers, to submit abstracts of presentations for consideration, including poster presentations, and to book exhibition tables.
HEIs were briefed to nominate four appropriate persons whose accommodation and costs HEAIDS would provide.
Regional Briefing and Consultation
1. Registration 09h00 - 10h00
2. Welcome and Introduction Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia 10h00 - 10h15
3. Opening Host Vice Chancellor 10h15 - 10h35
4. Policy and Strategic Framework Feizel Mamdoo 10h35 - 10h50
5. Feedback and discussion facilitator: Miriam Chipimo 10h50 - 11h45
6. TEA 11h45 - 12h00
7. Monitoring & Evaluation Framework Lifutso Motsieloa 12h00 - 12h15
8. Feedback and discussion facilitator: Miriam Chipimo 12h15 - 13h10
9. LUNCH 13h10 - 13h45
10. HEAIDS Conference: Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia 13h45 - 14h00
"Applying the Research/ Researching the Applied"
11. Regional Forums Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia 14h00 - 14h20
12. 2013 First Things First campaign FPD 14h20 - 14h40
13. Closing remarks HICC Chairperson 14h40 - 15h00
14. Closure Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia 15h00 - 15h15
REGIONAL WORKSHOPS SCHEDULE
DATE REGION HEIs VENUE 23 August 2012 TSHWANE Tshwane University of TechnologyUniversity of Limpopo (MEDUNSA)
University of South Africa
University of Pretoria UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA 28 August 2012 LIMPOPO University of VendaUniversity of Limpopo(Polokwane) UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO 30 August 2012 EAST LONDON/PORT ELIZABETH Walter Sisulu UniversityFort Hare University
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University WALTER SISULU UNIVERSITY 03 September 2012 FREE STATE University of the Free StateCentral University of Technology CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY 05 September 2012 KWAZULU NATAL University of KwaZulu NatalDurban University of Technology
Mangosuthu University of Technology
Zululand University DURBAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY 10 September 2012 JHB/NORTH WEST/VAAL University of the WitwatersrandUniversity of Johannesburg
Vaal University of Technology
North West University UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG 17 September 2012 WESTERN CAPE Cape Peninsula University of TechnologyUniversity of the Western Cape
University of Cape Town
University of Stellenbosch CAPE PENINSULA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY