Positive Vibes, an organisation that works on community-based HIV initiatives, took Hivos Southern Africa staff through the paces of Looking In, Looking Out-Connect (LILO), a training programme that focuses on the individual within the group, drawing on his or her experience to develop the group and undertake collective action.
The training aims to support individuals to reflect on their lives and move forward taking action. The workshop approach also gives participants a better understanding of LGBTI identity in order to advocate for their rights.
Training taps into personal value systems
The workshop assumes that participants have deep personal knowledge and experiences that can be shared with others to assist one another with the common challenges that are faced by LGBTIs. The process is designed to unpack feelings, needs and desires, and to help participants make choices and plans for themselves going forward.
The training was useful because although Hivos Southern currently manages a key populations programme, programme managers often lack the attitude, capacity and knowledge to adequately help colleaguesdeal with LGBTI specific issues.
LILO to influence new way of working with LGBTI
It is anticipated that knowledge gained from the training will improves capacities of Hivos Southern Africa in the area of advocacy for LGBTI groups at community and national and other levels.
“One of the key problems is that we tend to overly sexualise the needs of the key populations in our work. As a result, we strip people of their human dignity. That’s why it’s important for us to have empathy for the people whom we work with,” said Diana Mailosi, one of the lead facilitators.
The training focused on peeling off prejudices and moral judgments that many people hold against LGBTIs. Staff were asked to reflect on their own personal values and the privileges that heterosexuals have in general society juxtaposed against the struggles that LGBTIs face due to social norms. Staff also deliberated on issues around sex work, zeroing in on why that type of works attracts moral judgements.
The session on empathy enabled staff to dig deep within themselves focusing on issues to do with perspective, emotions and genuine will when working with others.
“It’s quite easy to be judgemental without thinking or putting yourself in the shoes of another person,” said Mailosi. “Before you say to another person, ‘don’t hate’, try to understand why they feel hate in the first place. That will help you to engage in a conversation from an informed point of view.”
LILO fosters inward reflection
Tuli Shityuwete, one the facilitators., said that the LILO methodology trains programme managers to reflect inwardly first so they can effectively work with other people.
“Before we can start understanding our working relationship with others, we have to understand what has formed us as human beings, whether it’s the society or the culture we grew up in and the experiences that we have undergone,” said Shityuwete. “Essentially, LILO-Connect is a sensitization training programme for people who are working with key populations. It’s essentially looking at our values and attitudes and how our values influence the way we see people.”