What is support groups' forums?
In order to promote the interaction of support groups at local community levels, Tonata created support groups forums in each constituency, which enables support group leaders to meet and share information and experiences.
The support group forums are linked to coordination committees which are represented in regional structures such as CACOC and RACOC. The representation in regional structures by people living with HIV has given impetus and revival to CACOCs and RACOCs in the northern regions of the country.
How it works?
The structure uses forums or elected members of support groups to offer opportunities for discussions to reach decision makers. Elected support group members attend constituency level meetings on a regular basis to discuss issues raised in their support groups. Representatives of those constituency level forums are then elected to attend regional level forums. Representatives from these regional level forums then attend regional platforms including, but not only, the RACOC meeting, Regional task force meetings and regional consultations organized by line ministries.
Information for PLHIV
If you feel you would like to influence decisions made that affect your life and the community around you, you have the opportunity to voice your opinions. To get involved you need to be a member of a Tonata support group. If you are not a member, or cannot find a support groups you may find the Tonata Support Group Manual useful.
Support groups can:
• During their meetings, collect opinions, views, ideas and concerns and elect a representative to attend the constituency level forum;
• Your CACOC coordinator will be able to tell you when and where the support group forum meets;
• Put yourself forward to be a representative;
• Get feedback on the outcome of these discussions through the Tonata newsletter, radio programs, and website or directly from Tonata over the phone.
How can your voice be heard?
The best way to make sure your voice is heard as a support group is to begin interacting with Tonata. Tonata are specialists in gathering the views, opinions and other data directly from grass roots and carrying that message to the regional and national, and even international, levels. There is also the representative framework. It works through the election of representatives, using SMS, reporting forms and other materials that will help Tonata gather this information.
Tonata can help with this and you can ask them for support. Your regional council and the RACOC is also likely to be helpful as the voice of PLHV is important to them. There is also a factsheet on the representative framework that you can ask Tonata or your CACOC for.