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Using VIPP in Planning for HIV and AIDS Communication in India

The president of a transport union taking an active part in planning a programme to address the challenges posed by HIV and AIDS.

In Maharashtra, India, the government and all major civil society groups gathered for a 4.5 day workshop to create a state-wide, strategic communication plan for HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support. State officials mixed with NGO leaders, members of medical institutions, field workers, some of whom were from vulnerable groups – 45 people in all. VIPP was used to break down barriers to communication, including the usual power point presentations and position taking by different organizations. These were not part of the process. Instead, VIPP card and chart methods were used in group work to analyse root causes of HIV and AIDS and its manifestation and outcomes for various groups in Maharashtra – sex workers, men who have sex with men, drug addicts, pregnant women, young people, transport workers, and the general public. Creativity and entertainment kept everyone involved in the process. For instance, when each group presented its problem analysis, they also had to present a mini-drama demonstrating a manifestation of the problem in Maharashtra society.

Background on HIV/AIDS in the State was presented to all in power point form. However, basic theory of communication was presented to the group in the form of card and chart presentations which were placed in the room for the rest of the workshop so they would not be forgotten. Thereafter, the groups worked on participation analyses for various vulnerable groups – identifying partners, allies and gatekeepers on the policy and programme implementation side, and the primary, secondary, tertiary audiences and field workers to be reached and involved at the community level. These analyses were fed back to the plenary in rotating presentations, sparking debate and input from the whole group and involving the participants in each part of the process. The groups then worked on behavioural objectives for specific priority groups in their analysis.

The final step of the workshop was the creation of outlines of communication plans for each group. This consisted of identifying the main communication strategies to employ for each group - channels/media to be used, materials needed and information gaps/research needed to achieve success, as well as the monitoring and evaluation methods. This information was also presented to all and revised before being formatted into an overall plan which was reviewed by representatives of each group after the workshop.

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