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Helping to build an AIDS-Free South Africa

SynNovation was highly successful in facilitating active participation and practical planning at a conference organised by the University of the Western Cape HIV and AIDS Research Centre and the UWC HIV & AIDS Programme.  On March 26 and 27, delegates from national and provincial departments of Education and Health, educationists and academics, and people from NGOs and international donor organisations got together at UWC to explore new approaches to HIV/AIDS education. 

Prof Struthers welcomes delegates to the conference

One of the breakout groups generating new ideas

The 4th Annual UWC “HIV in Context” Research Symposium featured several experts in the field, both national and international.  At the start of the conference, Lu-Marie Sobey introduced participants to the key principles of SynNovation, to encourage them to “listen for ideas” in order to get the maximum out of presentations.  On 27 March a team of nine SynNovation facilitators (in five pairs of two each) worked with Lu-Marie to facilitate creative problem-solving sessions in small groups, to ensure delegates go away with a selection of fresh approaches that each of them can implement, and action plans which they can adapt to suit their specific situations.

Delegates also got exposure to the key groundrules and tools of SynNovation, which they can now use both personally, and back in their own work groups to encourage creativity, collaboration, open-mindedness and practical problem-solving.

The feedback from several participants was that this was the most productive and enjoyable conferences they had ever attended.  It was also invaluable that various stakeholders – who all have the same goals in mind—could get together, share perspectives and think together to generate new ways to put formal policies into useful practice.