Young South Africans, take the test!

first_img1 December 2011Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has called on young South Africans leaving school and those in the country’s colleges and universities to get tested for HIV/Aids.Speaking ahead of World Aids Day on Wednesday, Nzimande said young people should ensure they were well informed about the pandemic and avoid exposing themselves to the risks of contracting the virus.“I particularly want to call upon those who are about to start at institutions of higher learning, who will for the first time in their lives be independent and away from direct parental supervision, to get information and knowledge so that they may behave in a way that does not expose them to the risk of contracting HIV.”World Aids Day serves as an important reminder to all South Africans that HIV/Aids has not gone away. There is still a vital need to increase awareness, strengthen support and improve education.The Department of Higher Education and Training has made a commitment to incorporate the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic in all its skills development initiatives at colleges and universities.A study released by the Higher Education and HIV/Aids Programme (HEAIDS) last year revealed that, among students who reported having had sex, HIV prevalence was about 4 percent.The study was conducted two years ago using a sample of 17 000 students, 1 880 academic staff and 4 433 administrative and services staff.“We have incorporated the fight against this pandemic simply because as a country, we cannot afford to train our youth and young adults for the grave,” Nzimande said.“We need them for the workplace and effective participation in our society’s social and economic activities.”Nzimande appealed to youngsters to delay involvement in sexual relationships. “However, those who choose to be sexually active should always use a condom, be faithful to their partner, and at all costs avoid multiple and concurrent sexual partners.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Meet a top social entrepreneur

first_imgPaul Matthew visits a roadside wellness centre in Kenya and talks to Kenyan truck drivers. (Image: Virginie Lepetre) The North Star clinics are open after hours when drivers have parked for the night. (Image: North Star Alliance) North Star staff go “door to door” to raise awareness about the services offered at the roadside wellness centre in Mwanza, Malawi (Image: North Star Alliance) MEDIA CONTACTS • Robin Landis  Marketing and Communications   +254 (0) 736 300 413 RELATED ARTICLES • Software speeds HIV diagnosis • SA’s second health train rolls out • Board game makes Aids education fun • SA’s first green transport service Wilma den HartighSouth African social entrepreneur Paul Matthew’s pioneering work in HIV/Aids prevention in the road freight industry is making an important contribution to finding innovative healthcare delivery models for Africa.Matthew’s commitment to this cause has just won him a place among the continent’s top five social entrepreneurs, named by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum (WEF).Speaking from Addis Ababa where the proceedings of the 2012 WEF Africa are underway, Matthew says that the recognition of his work – which spans over 20 years – is a great honour.“There was such a build up to the awards ceremony last night, and it is only this morning that it is all starting to sink in. Only now I have been able to reflect on it,” he says.Matthew received the prestigious accolade for his foresight in establishing an organisation, known as the North Star Alliance, to address the impact of HIV/Aids on mobile workers such as truck drivers in Africa.The North Star Alliance is a cross-border HIV prevention initiative that has set up a network of roadside wellness clinics along key transport routes in Africa, such as border posts or transit towns where large numbers of trucks stop and sex work and other informal trades flourish.What makes this particular initiative so important is that it is very much in line with the WEF’s objective to find new ways to deliver healthcare to communities in Africa.But many years ago when Matthew first got the idea to establish a project that could take HIV education to the road where truck drivers spend most of their time, he had no idea that it would achieve success of this scale.“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would stand on a stage and receive this award,” he says.North Star’s wellness clinics are open to everyone, but they are designed for the specific health needs of truck drivers and other mobile populations. They provide prevention and treatment services such as HIV counselling and testing; treatment for sexually transmitted infections; basic health services; information and education and behaviour change communication.“South Africa is ahead of the rest of the continent when it comes to HIV prevention in the freight industry, but elsewhere in Africa there is a major need for such services,” he says.Small beginnings on a cold nightHe remembers the humble beginnings of the project, particularly the very cold nights on the N3 highway, one of South Africa’s most popular transport routes.“While I was at the ceremony last night, I remembered sitting in an ambulance next to the road on the N3 highway near Harrismith,” he recalls. “I remember asking myself what I was doing.”This was the first pilot project to gauge how truck drivers responded to the idea.“I was with a nurse and we set up a tent near one of the popular truck stops to encourage drivers to come in,” he says.At first only a few drivers made use of the facility, but by the end of the week as the trucks travelled further news got out about what was on offer and more people were visiting their tent.“The model works well because the clinics are where the drivers pull up,” he explains. Along South Africa transport routes, the centres are set up at truck stops but in other countries, they are stationed at border posts and hot spots along the transport routes.Why truck drivers?Matthew, who is North Star’s Africa director, has been working in the education and health sectors most of his career. He realised that taking HIV prevention to the road, where the drivers are, is vital.The issue of health and mobility came under the spotlight during the 2003 – 2005 Southern Africa food crisis, when world food programmes struggled to find enough truck drivers to deliver relief food to communities.In terms of freight transport, truck drivers are important for the economy as many businesses in Africa rely on them as a resource.North Star’s observation at its inception was that with the incidence of disease being so prevalent, the numbers of drivers available to transport freight has, over time, decreased dramatically.Their research showed that simple factors such as limited operating hours and the location of health services are huge barriers to healthcare provision. For instance, there may not be suitable large vehicle parking or the health facility may be closed in the evenings.The North Star clinics are open after hours when drivers have parked for the night.“The life of a truck driver is harsh. Once a driver leaves the depot, he is away for up to three weeks on the road without access to healthcare,” explains Matthew.He says that once started the project, he quickly realised that the clinics couldn’t only provide healthcare for truck drivers exclusively – sex workers on route and surrounding communities also needed help. “Now our clinics are also providing treatment to these people.”Working with governmentsThe initiative has the support of many transport companies and because it is a public- private partnership, North Star also works closely with governments in various countries to align its healthcare offering with local state programmes.“Whenever we set up a new clinic in a specific area, we sign a memorandum of understanding with the ministry of health in that country,” explains Matthew. “In some countries our clinics complement their healthcare provision services by acting as a satellite to what they are doing.”Sometimes the respective governments provide staff and medical supplies for the clinics, but otherwise it is up to North Star to raise funds to employ nurses and buy medication.Expanding its reachNorth Star operates in 19 countries including Burundi; Côte d’Ivoire; Benin; Zimbabwe; The Democratic Republic of Congo; Nigeria; Rwanda; Swaziland and South Africa.Since opening its first centre in 2005 in Malawi, North Star has set up 22 additional centres in 10 countries across the continent.“North Star has exciting new projects on the card,” he says. “In the next 12 months we will upscale the clinics to include mobile container clinics that can travel around.”Matthew says they are setting up a commercial arm of the project, in partnership with fleet safety management company Fleet Forum, that will focus on safe driving practices such as driver skills and managing fatigue.The initiative, which launched in a pilot phase at the beginning of May, makes use of an innovative training approach that communicates with drivers via CDs that can be played in trucks – an ideal means of communication for drivers who are always on the road.The recording on the CD is structured to sound like a radio programme with a disk jockey that plays music, carefully selected, based on research, to find out what type of music drivers enjoy.“The training module comes where radio stations usually play adverts between songs. Instead of adverts, quick information on driver safety will be played,” he explains.Bringing about social changeSelected from more than 500 candidates, the work of Africa’s social entrepreneurs has been set apart as examples of how entrepreneurship in the public interest can transform the continent.Matthew’s groundbreaking work in area of HIV/Aids and healthcare provision, two of the continent’s biggest challenges, is making a significant difference to the lives of thousands of people in Africa.last_img read more

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The number one villain in the way of good decisions

first_imgOne of the worst things we can do when making decisions is to frame them too narrowly. This can lead us to the wrong thought process – and false choices.As Dan Heath puts it in his new book, “The first villain of decision making, narrow framing, is the tendency to define our choices too narrowly, to see them in binary terms. We ask, ‘Should I break up with my partner or not?’ instead of ‘What are the ways I could make this relationship better?’ We ask ourselves, ‘Should I buy a new car or not?’ instead of ‘What’s the best way I could spend some money to make my family better off?’”Or – to put this in nonprofit terms – we ask, “Should we have an event or not? Should we blog or not? Should we get rid of that board member or not?”Dan’s new book Decisive is all about this kind of problem. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work provides practical ways to beat narrow framing and other villains of decision making. Here are two of his tips (and I quote):1. Consider opportunity cost. If you are considering an investment of time or money, ask yourself, “What is the next best way I could spend this time/money?” If you can’t come up with any other combination that seems enticing, you should feel more confident that you’re making the right investment. 2. Multitrack your options. Always try to think AND not OR. Can you avoid choosing among your options and try several at once? For instance, if you’re deciding whether to invest time in Spanish lessons or ballroom dancing classes, do both for a while until one of them “wins.” Or, rather than hire one employee out of three candidates, could you give all three a 2-week consulting project so that you can compare their work on a real-world assignment?For more tips, join a free Network for Good webinar with Dan today at 1 pm Eastern. Register here.PS for fun, here is one of Dan’s great teaching videos on giving better presentations. It draws on his book, Made to Stick.last_img read more

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Build Your Online Presence with Pro Bono

first_imgWe know it’s hard to tackle the never ending list of tasks associated with building an online presence. Lucky for nonprofits, pro bono professionals are ready to help boost your online image via social media, online fundraising, email marketing, and SEO Because of organizations like the Taproot Foundation and Catchafire it’s much easier to find pro bono consultants who are willing to provide their talents at no charge to a nonprofit like yours.If pro bono is new to you, projects that are compartmentalized—photography, newsletter design, and copyediting—are great places to start. Projects like designing an entire website or creating a communication strategy are more complex and best approached when you are prepared to invest the time and staff resources to work with a pro bono consultant over a longer period of time. Although these projects are more advanced, they often result in long-lasting relationships with your consultants and can create invested champions for your cause.To start planning how you can use pro bono to maximize your online presence, download our chart to assess what pro bono projects your nonprofit is ready for.Once you’ve identified your projects, check out how you can secure pro bono help at the Taproot Foundation’s website.last_img read more

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Rocking the Case Study

first_imgI’m a huge fan of case studies. They’re an incredible tool to showcase your nonprofit’s work, demonstrate social proof, and gain more supporters. Jay Baer’s Youtility explains the power of case studies in greater detail, but here are a few ways you can use this approach to support your fundraising and marketing efforts: 1) Get testimonials. Tell the story of why people support your organization. Ask questions such as:Why are you passionate about this issue?When did you start learning about this issue?Why do you choose to support our organization?By gathering this information, you’ll not only have endorsements for your cause, but you can also use responses to inform your marketing and donor recruitment strategies.2) Document how you spent money. Did you dedicate a large portion of funds to operational expenses? Why? What impact did it have? Once you explain that to donors, they’ll better understand how you fulfill your mission, and why it’s important to have operational expenses. Every penny of your budget doesn’t have to go to on-the-ground work, but you do have to demonstrate how operations are vital to ensuring the services you provide are making a positive change. 3) Survey those you help. Ask your constituency how they’ve found your services. Do they see your nonprofit as a vital member of their community? Would they be able to get where they are without you?If those answers affirm your work, ask respondents if you can use a quote in your case study. Most will be happy to help. In some cases, if you provide them with links and social media messages, they’ll share the study with their network, too. If the answers bring up questions or poke holes in your work, pay attention to that. That’s a great opportunity to take feedback and turn it into something positive.Have you created a case study before? What were the results? How did you share it with supporters?last_img read more

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Four Essential Tips for Planning Year-End Email Campaigns

first_img1. Look for trends in recent response data.As you’re brainstorming your email strategy, spend some quality time digging into data on what’s been the most and least effective for you over the past few months. For example, if you notice that click-through rates are higher in your graphic-rich emails, design extra-visual appeals for year-end. If supporters don’t click on links at the bottom of your emails, make sure you keep all links in the first part of your message (especially your DonateNow button!).2. Consider your sending frequency and target your outreach.Carefully think about your email frequency—every fatigued subscriber who opts out in December is someone who won’t see your emails at all next year. Start ramping up your email frequency now and keep a close eye on the open and unsubscribe rates, then adjust your year-end campaign email frequency accordingly.3. Keep your emails social.People stay busy during the end of the year, but not too busy to keep up with their social networking. Make sure your subscribers have an easy way to share your emails with their friends and followers, and include easy-to-spot links to your organization’s social networking sites, too.4. Welcome new subscribers right away.When someone signs up for your email list, they’re probably interested in hearing from you right then and there. Build a strong relationship with new subscribers right away with an automatic welcome note. If you can set a great foundation now, you’ll have more loyal subscribers during prime giving season. Even though your donors might procrastinate, you can’t! Start planning your year-end email campaign now. Photo Source: The Digital Giving Index Did you know that year-end donations make up 30% of giving for the entire year? Because year-end fundraising goals are often so big, it’s important to start planning your year-end campaign now. When mapping out your email appeals, keep the following four topics in mind:last_img read more

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How the Benefit Concert is Shaping Philanthropy

first_imgMusic has been one of the most powerful ways causes, celebrities, and communities can connect to raise money for serious issues. We recently caught up with Art Taylor, president of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, who shared his insight on why these events can be so successful for nonprofits of all sizes.Legacy of Aid: August is the Anniversary of the Benefit ConcertFor over forty years, the benefit concert has served as one of the most popular, easily recognizable forms of aid for charitable organizations. It all started back in August 1971 when George Harrison called a few friends—Ringo, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, to name a few—to play at the world’s first benefit concert. The Concert for Bangladesh played from Madison Square Garden with ticket and recording sales helping to raise $18 million. These stars likely didn’t realize they were forever changing charitable giving in time of a disaster. Concerts are now a popular vehicle for causes around the world to raise visibility and funds—often targeting a younger crowd or introducing their campaign to an audience not yet familiar with it. “Music is a universal pleasure that cuts across cultures and backgrounds,” says H. Art Taylor, president of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “Music is a unifying experience—it’s a natural choice for charities to turn to benefit concerts as a means to raise funds.” Star power can play a big role but doesn’t always spell success. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, Wyclef Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, came under scrutiny about its finances. This controversy underscores the importance for charities to make sure they are fully transparent and accountable before implementing a benefit concert which can attract a lot of media attention. And star power isn’t the only way to go. Charities across the country have seen great success with smaller scale benefit concerts ranging from high school bands to regional bands. The principles and watch-outs apply regardless of your headliner. 7 Do’s and Don’ts when planning a benefit concert for your organization:1. Know your partners. If you are co-hosting the benefit concert with another charity, take a moment to investigate them by pulling their report at Give.org. Don’t assume it is well managed just because it has a 501(c)(3) charitable tax exempt status. 2. Pay attention to regulations. Make sure any state regulatory requirements have been met, including verifying your ability to solicit. 3. Check tax deductibility disclosures.If the benefit concert tickets are sold in a charitable fundraising context, seek out a tax advisor to find out about tax deductibility disclosures that may need to be made. 4. Beware of cheaters. Take reasonable measures to reduce ticket scalping. Examples might be: limiting the number of tickets sold to a single purchaser and ensuring computer safeguards are in place to avoid someone “snatching” all the tickets as soon as they are made available. 5. Practice your FAQ.Make sure answers are readily available for reasonable questions about your mission, target amounts to be raised, and how collected funds will be used. 6. Be clear. If the intention is to collect funds restricted for a specific purpose (i.e., disaster relief) make sure that all charity participants agree to this restriction and are able to carry out this work as soon as possible.7. Be transparent about finances. Share information on the total amount collected, the cost to hold the concert, and how much went to the cause. Post this information on the charity’s and concert’s websites. The Future of Benefit Concerts“Charity benefit concerts will continue to play a role in generating funds and advocating issues,” says Taylor. “Large events work well in times of major crisis or when a big star has a personal stake in a cause. Smaller, targeted local events can be successful as well.”Whether packing a large event venue or a local concert hall, organizers should be creative and coordinate effectively to ensure that benefit concerts are a useful tool for raising awareness and charitable dollars. A benefit with local bands and resources combined with a coordinated effort between multiple nonprofits may be a good option for some charities. Whether large or small, however, the expense and coordination efforts for events can be prohibitive and should be considered carefully in terms of the investment of time and resources. Often charities will measure ROI through funds raised as well as impact to the audience. For more helpful tips on nonprofit collaboration, including information on accreditation, visit the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at Give.org. For advice on planning a successful fundraising event, download Network for Good’s guide to Hosting Your Most Fabulous Fundraising Event Ever.last_img read more

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Rev Up Your Data with Dashboards

first_imgCurrent status dashboard: Answers the question, “What’s our current status?” If you’re working on a capital campaign or have a specific target for your fall appeal, your dashboard can show your progress by date and the trajectory of where you need to be so your team doesn’t get complacent. For example, they’ll quickly see that they’ve raised $10,000 and have just three weeks to raise another $10,000. With this knowledge, the conversation at the staff or board meeting might revolve around “What action will we take?”Image Source: Mashable Blog: Is Give2ogether a Google Analytics for Philanthropy.Accountability dashboard: This one might feel scary! Let’s say you want at least 80% of your board members attending board meetings. Your accountability dashboard shows names, dates, and who attended. It gives you some one-on-one discussion points without making everyone feel bad: “Hey, Lynn, how can we support you? What’s keeping you from attending, because your board seat is really important and we want to make sure you’re able to do your duties as a board member.”Now that you know the value of dashboards for presenting important data quickly and sparking people to take action, why not try creating one that’s relevant to your organization’s numbers? For more in-depth guidance, examples, and useful resources, download a recording of the webinar for free.If you don’t have the ability to collect data to make a dashboard worthwhile, we can help! Do your hear crickets when you ask for help with donor engagement tasks, cultivation, or thank you calls? Are eyes glazing over when your board and staff review spreadsheets and donor lists? Fear not, there is hope!In our Nonprofit 911 webinar Change Your Data Story, Lori Jacobwith, president and co-founder of Ignited Fundraising and co-author of the Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits, shared how you can transform otherwise dull data into attractive and easy-to-understand dashboards that inspire everyone to action.What’s a Data Dashboard?The dashboard in your car gives you an at-a-glance update on some really important factors, like if you should slow down or stop for gas. Similarly, a data dashboard shows the important information your organization needs to know to achieve its strategic goals. The data should be arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored as easily as the dashboard in your car.Data dashboards often show financials or various kinds of giving information, presented by day or month, year over year, zip code, and so on. Less common are board dashboards, but you’re likely to see a big jump in board engagement when you share data visually with this group.Why Use Dashboards?Good visual displays cause people to take action. Data dashboards:Bring attention to your priorities and help you reach your goals.Monitor performance and create accountability.Simplify information, such as complex financials.Fact: Humans are visually wired. Half of our brain is involved with visual processing. We remember 80% of what we see, 20% of what we read, and 10% of what we hear. Color increases our willingness to read something. In social media, for example, you know images are everything. The same is true when we present lots of numbers.You have just two goals when presenting any kind of data:Convey your story.Establish credibility.Some stories you might convey with data: Are we tracking adequately toward our goal? Do we need to fill our fundraising event with more people? Can we improve attendance at our board meetings? Dashboards drive these messages home quicker and more effectively than columns of numbers.Tip: Visual data displays should show information over time, not just year to date.3 Types of Nonprofit DashboardsThe varieties are endless, but here are a few dashboards to get you started.Business intelligence dashboard: Presents facts about your organization. The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s website features a live dashboard showing current totals of Facebook fans, endowment size, and active memberships. “Today’s Attendance” brings up a live tally of how many people passed through the main entrance, gift shop, special exhibitions gallery every two hours.Source: http://www.imamuseum.orglast_img read more

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Understanding the Flow of Reproductive Health Knowledge in Ethiopia

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 1, 2012June 21, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)K4Health recently published a needs assessment and network mapping of family planning and reproductive health information in Ethiopia. The overall goal of the assessment was to gain a better understanding of the accessibility and flow of information relating to family planning and reproductive health among key actors in Ethiopia.In Ethiopia, K4Health sought to explore the current family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH) knowledge management system; examine information flows and barriers at different levels of the health system; and identify areas to strengthen health information sharing and use. Using a novel, participatory approach (Net-Map) yielded a highly visual presentation of the data that identifies key FP/RH actors in Ethiopia, explores the nature of relationships among the actors, and examines the level of influence of the different actors with regard to reproductive health information exchange. Using the Net-Map approach, the researchers were able to identify bottle necks to information flow and opportunities to improve that flow across health system levels in Ethiopia.This body of research aimed to determine how to better meet health care professionals’ dynamic information needs so that they can provide better health care to the populations they serve. In Ethiopia, reproductive health indicators can be improved through better health information exchange. This report provides important recommendations that can help get the right information delivered to health care professionals when they need it and can help enhance the quality of health care programs countrywide.Read the full assessment here.Share this:last_img read more

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Learning From Failures? Op-ed Calls for Better Use of Negative Findings

first_imgShare this: Posted on February 4, 2013March 21, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last weekend, The New York Times featured an op-ed by journalist Sam Loewenberg on research published last summer in PLOS Medicine, “Community Mobilization in Mumbai Slums to Improve Perinatal Care and Outcomes: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial.” For anyone interested in the challenges related to improving maternal health in cities, the PLOS article is a fascinating read and, in fact, it is part of the MHTF-PLOS collaboration on Maternal Health. Loewenberg highlights this article for a reason that comes up in many discussions of how to develop better maternal health interventions: the pressure to highlight only success, and, in particular, to downplay research findings that show interventions falling short of actually improving maternal and newborn health.As Loewenberg writes:                            The travails of the Newborn Health project aren’t unique. What is noteworthy is that when the project did not work as planned, the team reported it openly and in detail, providing potentially valuable information for other researchers.   It is a provocative point, and one that comes up often in our discussions of how to better address the biggest challenges for improving maternal health. In fact, it was a major topic at GMHC2013, as Lancet editor Richard Horton led the opening plenary session, which had the theme “Science for activism: How evidence can create a movement for maternal health. The session even included discussion of a hypothetical “journal of failures.”What is more, the op-ed provides an interesting follow-up to the initial research article:Last year they rebooted. They set up small centers that offer basic health services like immunization, feeding, family planning and help navigating the city’s convoluted health and social service systems. So far, providing concrete services, rather than just advice on collective organizing, seems to be more in tune with the needs of people in the slums.Clearly, with a new phase of work underway in Mumbai, it remains to be seen whether the work in Mumbai will yield results. In the meantime, it is worth revisiting the original article along with this weekend’s op-ed. Together, they touch on many of the most compelling challenges for the field today. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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