Evaluation of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference AIDS Office Project
The Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference AIDS Office was founded in 2000 as part of a comprehensive response to the AIDS epidemic by the development and educational components of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference. The Office now has over 150 programs providing HIV and AIDS prevention and care services including antiretroviral treatment to thousands of adults and children throughout Southern Africa. The SACBC AIDS office provides holistic care and services within the local communities through partnerships with local, regional, national and international partners and funders.
In order to understand and support the work done by the SACBC AIDS Office, Georgetown University offered to assist in conducting a qualitative evaluation of the Office and develop a case study that allowed further evaluation of the qualities and methods for organizational development and expansion of Catholic faith-based health care networks in the world. A multidisciplinary collaboration among the Georgetown University Office of the President, the Center for Child and Human Development, the Institute for Reproductive Health and the SACBC AIDS Office was assembled to plan and conduct the evaluation and case study.
The first phase of the evaluation was completed in January 2009. Document review and discussions with the Office director and other members of the organization yielded information about how the SACBC AIDS Office is organized and provides support, funds and provides training for the local projects. The evaluation assisted in the understanding of the following:
- management structures
- monitoring and evaluation systems
- work of the projects
- network of relationships developed with local, national and international organizations
Major strengths and challenges were identified and recommendations were made. The strengths of the organization include its strong and flexible leadership and management structure, commitment of the workforce, strong and diverse relationships with many partners to embed the work in the localities, and its focus on holistic care. The challenges included recruitment and retention of skilled workers, continuation of comprehensive training, growing numbers of adults and children with HIV and AIDS, and strain of managing the growing number of projects. The recommendations included finding ways to decentralize large successful projects, strengthen central and project management structures, and construct a strong monitoring and evaluation component to continually inform the organization about strengths and needs for planning. Further exploration into the perceptions of the stakeholders that are in or work with the organization was also recommended.
The next steps include a plan for a site visit to explore the needs of the organization more in depth and construct a model of organizational development. This step is in the planning stages and will be implemented in the summer of 2009.
Research Assistant Professor