Conference Blog Posts
Getting Down to Business
Allan Moolman, the Oxfam Australia Program Manager, described the evolution of Intersections and thanked all of the organising team for their commitment during the planning of the event. He described the event as a meeting point, a space in which people would meet and talk and share their journeys with each other, and through this, decide on new paths to follow to better achieve the aspirations outlined by Andre Hewitt. Some time was spent explaining the themes and some of the sessions of the conference and participants were encouraged to make the conference their own
The morning session was facilitated by Busi Ndlovu who kept all of us entertained with her sparkling humour and personality even when she had to inform people about the boring conference bits – where to find the toilets, when and where we would eat together, etc. She also introduced the media team and the people responsible for the management and logistics at the conference.
Participants in the two workshop sessions reported lively discussions although, as expected, the after lunch full-stomach sessions were slow to gather momentum. Lunchtime proved to be one of the most lively intersection points, with a loud hum of conversation drowning out the birdsong that is ever present at this event. Opinions and impressions from the workshop will be posted soon. Look out for them!
During the last self-organisaed session of the day, participants were treated to a performance from Clowns Without Borders and also engaged in discussion with our international visitors from the Oxfam International Youth Partnerships program.
The end of the day saw groups of people moving off to have dinner together and to continue their discussions and to socialise in less formal spaces. We are all looking forward to an exciting two more days.
Day 2 Blog Posts
Denis Hunt of the AIDS Consortium facilited a session on networking: The session was for shairing best practices and to brainstorm deas for improving networking. The session was also to maximize and strengthen links as civil society for maximum impact as well to sustain the work of civil society.
She shared about her organisation the AIDS consortium's programmes of particular interest to me was the bua@ac sessions that her organisations run which is a space for dialogues on issues of concern, it also created opportunities for networking, sharing lessons and updares on the NSP.
The organisation is well know for its messaging on HIV and the training that affilliates get from the organisation. The organisations partners with a number of organisation on various campaigms to avoid duplication.
Jacqui Khumalo of the Children in Distress Network gave a presentation on networks and how they work. She said that networks are valueable because they create a sense of working towards a common goal, sharing of resources, increasing the impact of the work and encouraging synergy. networks strengthen advocacy and a createsa space for a broader understanding of issues.
Jacqui then spoke about CINDI which was founded in 1996 and has 187 members in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Members are clustered into groups that reflect common activities to enhance collaboration. Learning and sharing of information happens at cluster level but also collaborations on issues of concern. The 3 key programmes are advocacy, organizational development and resource mobilisation.
Jaqcui also presented challenges of networking, these include; coordination of the network, relationships and communication,competion and sustaining commitment.She concluded by saying that networks play a vital role in ensuring that organisations are in a better position to improve service delivery.
Linda Naidoo of Child line said that they dont have affiliates but they mentor and capacitate social advocates who report cases of child abuse over the crisis line. They also mentor and capacitate community groups to be social advocates who also report child abuse cases. Childline networks with service providers in various provincial forums and local forum. She also tracks and tracks emerging trends through their database and responds and capacitates advocate and network with communities, civil society organisations and government in repsonding to the protection of children.
Feedback from the group sessions was on mapping of services, communication and sharing of informatipon. The groups emphasised the importance of planning together and collaborating rather then competing with each other
on the whole this session was a great experience in that discussion around the power of the voice of the network took place and other forms of networks were discussed.
This is Jacqui Khumalo signing out
Till next time
That was the question that constantly reverberated through the room as we discussed, "If men are in, who are out". A very active session, where clearly people had very strong views on men and their role in society, their power, their abuse thereof, their culture and how they percieve themselves. The dialogue focused session touched on numerous issues, which I do not propose to report on, but rather give my thoughts as they were shaped through the session.
Through the discussion, I see two approaches to the question of who is this man? A top down approach, of stereotyping (to an appropriate depth is useful for decision making) different groupings of men to allow the development of an intervention with men. I prefer the bottom up approach, seeing what developmental issue needs to be solved, identifying the stakeholders, of which some groupings will be men and then planning the interventions.
For many, the issue of power was central. Men need to give up power. As a man, I probably need to evaluate this deeper within myself, however the immediate question arises why? A demand to give up power, usually is not a problem with power but rather the abuse of that power. To whom will that power be given and will they wield it well? For many this view of how power was used, rather than who has power, felt I was missing the point.
While women struggle in their development due to men, until we bring men on board, we will never achieve the development of women and children. Perhaps it is the emancipation of men from themselves, that is needed for men to be truly free. However we view it, until men see the need for change, they are less likely to want to change.