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Barriers to accessing services, including life-saving medicines, remain a significant challenge for Key Affected Populations (KAPs), who include those communities such as sex workers, people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men, who are most likely to be living with HIV. KAPs also include women and children in sub-Saharan Africa who are disproportionately affected by HIV and TB due to stigma and discrimination, compared with the general population.
In order to create greater demand for and access to services for KAPs, the innovation initiative has used a wide spectrum of communication platforms and social media tools to communicate services and results to and for KAPs in sub-Saharan Africa. It has also provided them with the opportunity to create and participate in networks using social media to share information, advocate, network and monitor National HIV Programs including those funded by the Global Fund where UNDP is the interim Principal Recipient. This has required relatively high-risk and innovative approaches that are adapted to address the challenges.
UNDP Zimbabwe developed pilot projects with three civil society groups with the aim of using innovative technology, such as new and existing social media platforms, as tools for communications and advocacy on a wide range of health and sexuality issues. The three projects aimed to improve knowledge of and access to service provision, to discuss any challenges and ways of overcoming these, and to support linkages to prevention and care. The projects developed focused firstly on improving central communication tools and setting up related social networking forums. Following the initial development of the central websites, all groups held workshops to discuss ways of communicating through social media and prototyped and designed these innovative communication methods with constant monitoring and feedback from end-users. Increased social engagement was spurred by the creation of videos to be used as outreach and advocacy.
They found in this context, the use of Facebook to be more impactful (with engagement numbers rising up to 60% in two weeks) than Twitter where the restricted characters presented a limitation to participants in terms of fully expressing their thoughts.
Nigel Coulson: email@example.com