Stigma Index Methodology Workshop in Abidjan

On January 20th – 22nd, representatives from Stigma Index country teams from 7 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Lesotho and Mauritania) have gathered to attend the workshop: “Quality implementation of the PLHIV Stigma Index 2.0 sampling methodology and strategic use of data” in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, organized by GNP+ and UNAIDS. Among the participants were representatives from national PLHIV networks, key population representatives, local research partners, and UNAIDS country officers.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  1. To provide an in-depth explanation of the new sampling methodology;
  2. To develop sampling frameworks, participants’ recruitment and data collection plans for each country;
  3. To exchange the experience of PLHIV Stigma Index 2.0 implementations, best practices and lessons learnt, in particular on recruitment of the interviewees;
  4. To plan the use of the Stigma Index data for the planning of the national HIV response and for project proposals;
  5. To discuss other methodological and implementation issues.

Key topics and activities of the 3-day workshop were:

  • The PLHIV Stigma Index background and principles
    • People living with HIV should have complete leadership of the Stigma Index, throughout the entire process of implementation. Furthermore, it was emphasized that ALL people living with HIV, in all their diversity, should be represented in the sample as well as included in all other aspects of the process of implementation. While challenging in some, if not most countries, there must be gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and people who use drugs in the sample. It is greatly encouraged to build partnerships and work together with key population networks when preparing to implement the Stigma Index.
  • Developing of country research protocols
    • Several sessions of this workshop were dedicated for country teams to work on their research protocols, using the newly developed guidance. For instance, the revised methodology comes with a set of worksheet that is designed to be used as the basis of the research protocol. During the workshop, the participants have been working on filling in the worksheets in their country groups. Furthermore, they have worked on developing a timeline and budget for the implementation. The facilitators from UNAIDS, GNP+ and Johns Hopkins University were present to provide support with the country work.
  • Using PLHIV Stigma Index results for advocacy purposes, including human rights treaty bodies;
    • While the countries participating in this workshop are currenly preparing to rollout the Stigma Index in their countries, this workshop took the opportunity to look ahead at how the Stigma Index results can be used for several advocacy purposes, including for:
      • National Strategic Plan (NSP) target setting
      • Global AIDS monitoring
      • Global Fund and PEPFAR funding requests
      • the Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination

Next steps:
The countries who attended the workshop have started implementing the new sampling methodology in their countries, thereby field-testing the new methodology. The data they gather using this sampling methodology will allow us to see if the methodology has the intended results and finetune where needed. After this process has been completed, we can start training more country-teams on how to use this sampling methodology in their countries.

We can’t wait to see the work our country partners will be doing on their Stigma Index 2.0!

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CĂ´te d’Ivoire team
Lesotho team
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Omar (GNP+) speaking on the PLHIV Stigma Index background and principles