Enhancing Leadership in Rural Communities in response to HIV-STBBIs: A Catalyst for Change – 2014

This was a project of the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia which ended with a forum held at Mount Saint Vincent University on June 17th – 19th, 2015.

The purpose of the event three-fold:

  1. To foster networking across Nova Scotia of people living with HIV, HCV, and other STBBIs,
    CBO staff, board members, volunteers, community workers, and health care providers.

  2. To provide access to knowledge exchange, capacity building, and skill building for people living with HIV, HCV, and other STBBIs and CBOs to increase their individual and collective capacity to respond to HIV, HCV, and other STBBIs through an integrated approach.

  3. To create collaborative community dialogue for our province around integration and community approaches to strengthen our programs and services across Nova Scotia in our organizations, lives and in our communities.

The format of individual workshops offered across the weekend varied depending on the facilitator’s presentation style, however, there was a mix of both more traditional, lecture style workshops and workshops where participants were more actively engaged in the facilitation and learning process. In total, there were 14 workshops offered across the weekend, a volunteer recognition ceremony, an evening of Karaoke, and the ACNS annual general meeting.

The program for the 2015 KEHPF was designed using a collaborative process with the provincial planning committee. The committee provided insight and feedback on topics of interested by holding discussions with staff, volunteers, and service users of their organizations to discover what issues individuals and organizations are currently facing.

The picture above titled “From Silos to Synergy” is an illustration of the dialogue created during our community consultation, networking and collaboration activity. The illustration captures a discussion around how we can work together as a province to provide more integrated services addressing HIV, HCV and other STIs in Nova Scotia.

The event helped our participants to increase their personal comfort level in providing support to people living with and at risk of HIV/HCV and other STBBIs, and ultimately create safer spaces in our communities for those individuals to seek support and competent services. The event also helped project participants to challenge their own preconceived notions of HIV and HCV, and helped them to learn about the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with and affected by these illnesses. The event also helped people learn about these issues from a strengths based and resiliency based perspective, and helped them to identify the ways in which both individuals and communities can draw upon their strengths in times of need.