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close this bookHIV/AIDS Networking Guide - A comprehensive resource for individuals and organisations who wish to build, strengthen or sustain a network (International Council of AIDS Service Organisations, 1997, 48 p.)
close this folderAbout This Guide
View the documentWhy This Guide Was Developed
View the documentWhat This Guide Will Do
View the documentWhat This Guide Will Not Do
View the documentHow This Guide Is Organized

Why This Guide Was Developed

The guide has it origins in several discussions between members of the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) on how to respond effectively to the numerous requests for assistance from members and other groups on networking issues.

Many of the inquiries were from people or organizations who simply wanted to know more about the experience of others in networking, either in an informal sense, or in a formal or structured network. Other requests were more specific in nature and focused on the mechanics of starting or keeping a network going.

Responding to these requests was sometimes difficult because of the absence of written information on the “networking experience” in HIV/AIDS work, the diverse subject matter of many of the requests, and the lack of easily accessible information on many networking issues.

The development of a resource to address many of the commonly asked questions about networking was seen as a practical response by ICASO to a need for information on this subject.

What This Guide Will Do

The Guide is a basic resource for individuals and organizations who wish to build, strengthen or sustain a network. It will assist you or your organization in understanding what motivates people and organizations to network; important steps to take in making the network work for its members; and action that can be taken to address some of the challenges that are typically encountered in networks.

The Guide was written to be useful to those who are involved in both informal and formal networks. Only Chapter 5 - Governing Body and Staff Issues in Formalized Networks - is specific to formal networks.

What This Guide Will Not Do

Many factors other than those presented in this Guide are known to influence the capacity of individuals and organizations to start and keep networks operating smoothly. It simply was not feasible to address in detail the activities which networks typically undertake, such as advocacy, policy development, skills building, capacity building and sharing information. Each of these activity areas are important aspects of networking but beyond the scope of this guide. The guide is, therefore, intended as a basic resource, not as “the authority” on network building.

It must also be said that there is nearly always more than one approach to addressing any challenge, including those associated with networking. The information presented in this publication is not a “blue print” but a guide to assist you.

How This Guide Is Organized

The rest of this Guide is divided into six main sections:

1. Networking for A More Effective Response to HIV and AIDS explains some key terms in the field of networking, provides a brief overview of the characteristics of a network, looks at what the benefits of networking are and the activities which are normally undertaken by networks, the organizational features of AIDS networks, and the advantages of significant PHA involvement in networks.

2. Networking: What Makes it Work? gives the nuts and bolts of planning for building and sustaining a network. Eight key actions are presented.

3. Change and Challenges provides suggestions on how to address the networking challenges of sustaining commitment, resolving conflict, and communication.

4. Other Networking Issues explores some aspects of networking which can have a negative impact on the development of a network development, presents some basic information on how to mobilize resources for network activities and looks at the benefits and possible constraints of electronic communication in networking.

5. Governing Body and Staff Issues gives guidance on how to meet the organizational development challenges associated with formal networks. It looks at selecting a governing body, models for the structure of a governing body, and the importance of defining the responsibilities of the governing body and staff.

6. Lessons Learned About Networking presents the reflections of people actively involved in networking on factors which can make or break a network.