Diocesan strategic planning workshops
To carry forward the energy generated at the All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV/AIDS, the Anglican AIDS Desk, in conjunction with the POLICY Project (a South African-based capacity building project funded by USAID), undertook a series of planning workshops across Southern Africa.
The main aim of these diocesan-level workshops was to enable laity and clergy in each diocese to develop a strategic plan to inform their response to HIV/AIDS while covering the six focus areas of leadership, care, prevention, counselling, pastoral care, and death and dying. In this way, the vision statement formed at the All Africa Anglican Conference provided the guiding framework for the diocesan strategic planning process.
The guide in the training workshops was the planning manual, Planning our Response to HIV/AIDS – A Step by Step Guide to HIV/AIDS Planning for the Anglican Communion (PDF Document 4.3MB), that was developed following the conference.
Guided by the manual, the planning process includes five steps:
Step 1: Situational analysis
This step lays the foundation for the planning process and considers what is known and what has been witnessed about the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the church and broader community.
At regular intervals, participants were asked what they had seen/heard/felt about HIV/AIDS. This made the planning environment very personal, as participants were encouraged to refer back to their experiences and communities.
One of the valuable ways to give a face to the pandemic is to ask participants to think of four children they know. They are then asked to write down their names, or to keep these names foremost in their minds. They are told that one of these children has just died from the effects of AIDS. They are asked to record how this feels. They are then told that another is infected and is HIV-positive. Again they are asked, “How does this feel?” Finally they are told that before the planning session is over, another child will become HIV-positive. They are asked to record their feelings and share these briefly with the group.
The use of story also helped set the scene and ensured participants tackled the issues of HIV/AIDS in a less abstract way.
The focus in this step is on sharing and documenting models of current (and best) practice within the church. This helps create a clearer understanding of the local HIV/AIDS context.
Step 2: Identifying issues, solutions and options
During this step participants explore how HIV/AIDS issues are interrelated and what the impacts are on the community. They also use a process of problem identification and solution seeking, to realistically consider the range of possible strategies to address these issues.
Through the use of story, which is a metaphor for problem analysis, the group is led through an exercise of problem identification and problem solving. In this exercise the group is encouraged to explore why certain issues exist around HIV/AIDS. This helps them look beyond the immediate issues and symptoms of the problem, and go rather to the heart of the problem so they can focus on addressing the broader, underlying issues that shape the community’s experiences.
Step 3: Making strategic choices
This stage involves applying strategic thinking to the decisions about which course of action should be taken by the church.
Here the advantages and disadvantages of the strategies identified in Step 2 are weighed against each other. Decisions are then made about which resolution is the most appropriate for future church HIV/AIDS activities.
During this step, we emphasised the vision statement that was issued at the All Africa Anglican Conference. In that statement, leadership, care, prevention, counselling, pastoral care, and death and dying were identified as the building blocks of the Anglican response, and it was important to plan strategically around these six areas. By focusing on these six areas, it also meant that far-flung parishes were united in a common vision for tackling HIV/AIDS.
Step 4: Developing objectives and activities
Objectives and activities are developed to guide the church’s future HIV/AIDS programmes or interventions.
Attention is given to outlining roles and responsibilities, resources and partners, for implementing each aspect of the future HIV/AIDS strategic plan.
Step 5: Monitoring and evaluation
During this step, participants consider how they might measure the impact of proposed HIV/AIDS interventions, monitor their progress and determine which aspects of the programme were successful or not.
Speaking the language of the church
The planning process was guided by the language of the church and included the use of story, worship, scripture and liturgy. It was important that the vision statement remained the pivotal point around which planning took place, and that the six pillars of leadership, care, prevention, counselling, pastoral care, and death and dying were key focus areas.
Planning our Response to HIV/AIDS – A Step by Step Guide to HIV/AIDS Planning for the Anglican Communion
For each step, this manual provides guidance on activities and facilitating participation and discussion. It also includes supplementary materials such as charts and worksheets for each exercise.
(View manual (PDF Document 2MB))