|HIV/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.)|
|Chapter 1 - Networking for a More Effective Response To HIV and AIDS|
AIDS networks are diverse. They are formed by different groups and individuals for a variety of reasons and they operate in distinct ways. There are, however, some basic activities which are typical to most AIDS networks. The following are presented as examples of the typical activities undertaken by AIDS networks.
Generate and Share Information and Analysis
Networks provide a structure for members to establish and maintain essential communications with each other. It is important to exchange information and to analyze it to achieve common goals and objectives. Occasionally, networks will undertake research on behalf of members including: policy matters; member needs assessments; member activity surveys; and evaluations.
Networks often coordinate advocacy action on matters of mutual concern to members. Networks have been quite successful at influencing decision-makers * both within and without the network.
* A decision-maker is a person who is in a strong position of power and/or influence.
Skills and Capacity Building
Many networks provide both informal and formal opportunities for enhancing the skill levels of members. Informally, members benefit from the general sharing of information and experience. Networks often provide an opportunity to find mentors among peers. Networks also provide formal skills building opportunities for members when they organize workshops and seminars or produce educational tools such as manuals, guidebooks, or resource guides.
Networks are often mindful of the need to build a sense of solidarity among its members so that they are better able to achieve their goals and objectives. Networks also help to assure members that their work is important, particularly when the social and political environment is not hospitable to work in the area of HIV/AIDS.