The SIAAP members bubbled with ideas for the future. A priority for them was to start an HIV/AIDS "hotline", a telephone service, aimed at the urban community of Madras, to answer queries and provide a supportive ear to callers. A sponsor for the first year of the hotline service had been found, and SIAAP needed to train their own staff and volunteers in counselling to be able to answer the calls.
Another exciting opportunity had also arisen. SIAAP had contracted with a private market research company to design and implement a KAP survey in one of the Districts. This company subsequently approached SIAAP to suggest that they would be willing, at their own expense, to document their experience in the form of a manual which could then be used to guide others through the process. They were also willing to train SIAAP staff in the methodology so that, in turn, SIAAP members could support other NGOs. SIAAP needed to find the time to work with this company on the development of the manual.
Shyamla was adamant that SIAAP's mission was to be a resource centre for NGOs for the development of integrated community development and HIV/AIDS programmes. SIAAP should be able to provide these NGOs with information, training, technical support and materials. SIAAP should also help to create and sustain networks among these NGOs so that they can learn from each others' experiences and support each other. On the other hand, the team felt strongly that SIAAP should take advantage of the considerable skills and experience of the team members to design and implement its own programmes as model interventions.
Another principle that the team members felt very strongly about related to how SIAAP activities should be funded. While they appreciated the invaluable contributions that had been made by "outsiders", their ideal was for all SIAAP activities to be financed from local sources - including donations of people's time, materials and funds from Indian organisations and individuals, and contributions from the beneficiaries (communities) themselves.
The team believed that true development (and this included dealing with HIV/AIDS) could only be achieved by self-supported and self-sustaining action. The team members recognised that this might not always be possible as the HIV epidemic will not wait for development; but they were haunted by the image of being dependent upon, and even under the control of, external donors.
The SIAAP members were a very close team who knew and worked with each other well. They derived great satisfaction and learned a lot from talking about their work and ideas with each other. By April 1992, they had begun to feel the pressure of the rapidly-increasing volume of work and knew that the demands on SIAAP were likely to grow as more and more NGOs became active in HIV/AIDS. Shyamla had already confessed to "being consumed" by the work - meaning both her own drive and commitment to what SIAAP was trying to achieve, and the sheer lack of time she had available to devote to anything else.
In the meantime, SIAAP was planning another State-level workshop for September 1992.
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