ACET Uganda International Conference
ACET started operations in Uganda in 1990. Initially a branch of ACET UK, ACET Uganda
became an indigenous NGO (Non Government Organisation) in April 2000 responsible to a
local board. ACET (U) continues to believe in the building of local and institutional
capacities to develop and provide appropriate responses to HIV/AIDS. This vision has a
local and international dimension to it. To celebrate 15 years of service, ACET (U) organized
a conference. Rather than focus on itself, it was decided to have a time of fellowship and
renewal with many of the partners that ACET has worked with over the past 15 years.
The ACET International Conference was held from the 11th –13th of January 2005. The event
attracted 140 delegates from 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The span of
participants involved Development workers, policy makers, church leaders and Christian
ministry workers. The overall impression expressed by the delegates revealed a high sense of
spiritual motivation, practical insights gained form the interactions, and a recommitment to
do all that they can within their means and resources.
The Conference, was in part, co-sponsored by the Imperial Group of Hotels. This they did
through a reduction in prices. The participants were asked to pay $70 full board and the hotel
covered the rest. This was a major contribution and the first sign that the Conference was of
God’s doing and to His glory.
Financial support for the conference came primarily from Tearfund UK (who sponsored the
Africa Delegates), Samaritan Purse (Translation equipment and Administration costs), ACET
International Alliance (Eastern Europe and Uganda delegates) and Friends of ACET Uganda.
The Friends of ACET Uganda, based in England, paid for themselves and contributed
towards Conference Administration fees.
The theme of the Conference was… “A consolidated Christian response, taking stock, how
far are we?”. The theme was designed to help the delegates focus of the Christian response
to the pandemic, and to assess whether it was sufficient or not, and what strategies to
emphasize in the future.
2. Conference Structure and Layout
The deliberations at the conference were guided by a timetable (See Appendix 1). The
proceedings were in both English and French. The conference was structured in such a
manner to facilitate as much learning as possible. There were four ‘tracks’ pursued, namely;
Exposure/Learning visits; Main Conference and
Strategy Group Meetings Africa Partners Conference
a. Exposure and Learning Visits:
A series of exposure /learning visits were organized for delegates starting Sunday 10th
January 2005. These were arranged according to certain themes (8).They involved projects
to community and urban projects, care and preventions, church models for good practice and
b. Strategy Groups: (Think Tank)
The HIV epidemic is dynamic. There are a lot of
issues that come up that change rather rapidly to. In
regards to that, there is an ever growing need for
strategy, focusing and effective targeting. The think
tanks were designed to explore the future trends of
the epidemic and think about what the most
important/viable action for the church should be.
Three groups were selected:-
i. International Strategy (for organisations that
had an International scope of influence),
ii. National, local strategy (for organisations that
predominantly has an in-country focus), and
iii. Grassroots level strategy issues (for a more detailed project level focus/emphasis).
c. Main Conference
The main Conference was designed to take stock of where the church has come from and
shall have challenges presented to us about the future. The aim of this was to ensure that the
church, as a whole, have targeted interventions and to ensure that the work we do bears fruit.
It was designed also to challenge many to new areas of intervention and ministry
opportunities. This was done through a variety of ways.
c.1. Plenary Sessions
The plenary sessions were held after the morning devotion. These were structured to be
motivational. Delegates appreciated these times. A wide range of topics were selected and
very well presented in the course of the conference. The main conference theme was
presented by Dr. Peter Okaalet on Tuesday morning. It was revealed the magnitude of work
that had been done by the church and FBOs in general, however, it also left the glaring
challenge that a lot more needed to be done if the impact of the church was to be distinctively
noticeable. Other plenary speakers included Dr Patrick Dixon, founder of ACET; Renown
Advocate Canon Gideon Byamugisha from Uganda; Calle Almedal from UNAIDS Geneva;
George Verwer of Operation Mobilisation and David Kabiswa, Directors ACET Uganda
c.2. Poster Sessions
All conference participants were asked to prepare a
poster reflecting the work that they do. To facilitate
this a team of people from “Friends of ACET
Uganda” formed a secretariat that provided these
services. Many of these posters were put up in a room
dedicated entirely for this. Delegates walked around
during coffee breaks and held discussions.
c.3. Break-Out Seminars
The conference had break-out seminar sessions
organized every afternoon. These too followed a
selected thematic emphasis for each day (Appreciating the challenge, Inspiring Church
Response and Models for the Way ahead. The detailed sessions presentations were selected to
for the content that they had to share. It was designed that they would reflect models that
could be emulated by others. These attempted to have a geographical representation from the
3 continents and to factor the Francophone-Anglophone
aspects as well.
c.4. Informal networking:
There were 2 hours each evening, before supper, in which
delegates were able to talk and network. From the look of
things, one got the impression that a number of people were
actually able to make vital connections.
c.5. Evening Worship
The evening worship focused on meeting the needs of
selected partners. The worship team that led for the week
was the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF) Band working closely with the Conference
The conference ended with a commissioning service. Delegates took time to reflect on the
events of the 3 days and to make commitments as to what they would want to do differently
d. Africa Partners Conference
There was a one-day workshop for Africa partners to galvanise key learning from the
conference with particular reference to the Strategy groups.
All the four core events took place as planned with the forth (Africa Partners Conference)
being modified to focus more on strategy that the initial planning of a workshop. The
delegates preferred more time for learning visits. These were organized to take care of the
3. ACET International Alliance (AIA) Meeting
A series of meetings were held between the ACET International Alliance members and
partners. The group discussed ways to be more supportive to the wider family so that there is
some uniform growth and degree of impact. ACET Uganda, by far seemed the most
supported. Following the difficult period it went through at the time of transition (2000-
2005), it seemed to have got a lot of
commitment for support than others in the
New Support structures:
During the week, there was discussion about
the formation of another support group
“Friends of ACET Eastern Europe”. The group
would be coordinated by Simon Blancheflower
and would seek to see the growing HIV/AIDS
work supported and nurtured. There is need to
look at the UK ACET family for similar
structures to be developed (Jersey and Newcastle).
AIA Strategic Direction:
There was discussion about the future of the Alliance. The theme ran through the conference.
Is the Alliance to become more than what it currently is or not? A number of people, both
from within ACET and from without, attempted to answer this question. Arguments ranged
from ACET being a brand, a band of quality that others wanted to buy into; the possibility of
an ACET Africa were tabled on the one hand, while on the other, the limitations of trying to
structure a people movement were highlighted and the administrative and structural
challenges of an ACET Africa also highlighted.
The conclusion was that there is need to explore this question further with the support of
some organisation development experts.
The Name of Christ Lifted Up:
The conference saw the Name of Jesus honoured and lifted up. This by far, was the greatest
achievement of the conference. That HIV/AIDS was discussed concretely within the context
of our core spiritual beliefs. A few comments captured the delegates thoughts..
… “I have been to many conferences but this one I have seen a consistent use of
scripture, while at the same time, people have not shied away from responding to real
issues and challenges”...
… “It has been a real time of reflection for me.. this has been different”…
… “It has changed me, thank you for inviting me”…
Fellowship and Support:
Delegate selection was guided by what each partner was doing in the area of HIV and AIDS.
The second criterion used was the evangelical aspect – so as to get a harmony of thought and
unity in prayer for one another and for the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The responses from the
people show that both mutual fellowship and support were achieved and shall hopefully
continue in the future.
.. “The amount of time spent in payer and worship helped me get release,. I am
pleased at the amount of time it was given”..
.. “ to me I told my boss, the highlight for me was the spiritual renewal”..
The birth of the idea for the formation of a Friends Of ACET Europe is a tangible outcome
that shall see the scale up of quality HIV/AIDS service delivery and advocacy in the region.
A number of people were able to make vital connections. The event brought together donors
and practitioners, policy makers and programme leaders. There was a lot of cross fertilisation
.. “I have made some connection for the network in Burundi, I feel that now we shall
be able to move forward a lot faster”…
.. I was able to talk a representative from Geneva Global, I understand what the want
and I am going to give it a try”..
..” I was able to talk to my donor in a non threatening environment and agree on a
number of things and ways to strengthen/clarify our partnership”..
1. Workshop CD:
Each workshop participant was given a CD at the end of the workshop that captured most of
the presentations. In addition, there were notes that had been collected by rapporteurs in the
break away meetings.
2. Workshop Report
A detailed workshop report covering all the learning shall be circulated to the participants.
This shall contain proposal for future action, such as the documentation of good practice.
a. International Strategy
The discussions in the conference brought out a wide range of issues that are affecting the
current international strategy – both the concept and the practicalities of it. A number of
organisations have bottlenecks – ranging from isolation, to the unavailability of resource
persons to give them support. Other challenges and issues included unavailability of funding
for some of the inter-country and wide ranging initiatives. The meeting was unable to reach
an all-inclusive conclusion on the way forward.
b. Networking Versus Alliances:
There was a lot of discussion and some level of debate about the usefulness of networks.
There seemed a strong opinion that networks were not effective in delivering and scaling up
response. A few preferred the use of the word Alliance instead. At the end, there was
agreement that people were not absolutely clear about the scope of the terminology
“Network” PACANet (Pan African Christian AIDS Network, showed that it has mobilised
cross border funding for members through the network – using a consortium approach. The
use of terminology should NOT be the focus, rather there is a strong need to always offer
explanation and not let the term used speak for itself to avoid the complication that come with
the many interpretations for each terminology.
c. Expansion of the Alliance Membership;
There were a number of organisations that seemed keen to joining the alliance since
invitation was given. No formal position was given as to whether or not they would join.
There are various categories and it appeared that the priority would be laid on organisations
that had the ability and capacity to be ‘resource providers’.
d. Development of UNAIDS Material: A
guide to Working with FBOs
In the course of the Conference, it was revealed that a
guide on working with the FBOs was t be developed
in the near future. Patrick Dixon will work with Calle
of UNAIDS and others to ensure this is in place.
e. Learning Visits;
There was a lot of learning that took place in the
learning visits organized. A number of people made
mention of how useful these had been and were
considering whether these could be extended at later
dates (future, medium term) for others.
7. Recommendations and Way Forward
1. Strategic Planning and Thinking Process for ACET International Alliance
ACET International Alliance needs to look for Organisation Development support so as to
know which way to best structure its elf to galvanise the work it is doing. This point is to be
taken up by the ACET International Alliance secretariat at their next meeting and follow-up
2. International Strategy
There is need to take further the dialogue that was started in the International Strategy group.
Options for this shall include think tanks discussions by email with some of the group
members. A paper highlighting these issues shall be tabled for discussion by the chief
3. Prayer Support
As a follow up to the conference, ACET (U) has as a component of its way forward, a
deliberate plan to pray for those that attended in its weekly devotions. We believe God to
honour this and do great things among the partners that came. The first month shall focus on
praying for all delegates that presented a seminar paper. The next phase shall be praying for
the plenary speakers and the third shall be a country focus – for the 27 that were represented.
4. Another Conference?
There was no conclusion to this question. A few members of the ACET international Alliance
saw it repeated in Eastern Europe in the next 2-4 years. It is an issue to commit to prayer that
God may lead us to the next place he wants us to be.
The role of the Church is vital. This is evidenced in both the community responses as well as
many of the Donors strategy choices of how to get to the grassroot communities and
households. The role of the church could be further strength hence by coalitions alliances and
scaling up of good practices. This was well articulated. The mechanism for doing this was
not. Conference was a time of renewal for many. There was a sense of mission being
reaffirmed and/or established in some people. There is need for the continued encouragement
and reminding of people of commitments made so as to galvanise the FBO Christian work
The invaluable connections that were made need to be kept alive as we seek tominister the
love of Christ in a world if HIV/AIDS.
Appendix 1: ACET International Conference, January 2005
DAY 1 DAY 11 DAY III
10TH January 11th January 2005 12th January 2005 9. DAY IV 10. DAY V
2005 Tuesday Wednesday th
13 January 2005 14th Jan 2005
8.30-900 AM DEVOTION, PRAYER AND TESTIMONY
SESSION I Official Opening The Biblical mandate of the Church What would Christ have us do Africa Partners
Exposure Dr. Jesse Kagimaba to respond to HIV/AIDS today? Satellite Seminar
9.00-10. 00AM Visits (Senior Presidential AdvisorHIV/AIDS) (Contd)
Canon Byamugisha (World Vision) George Verwer
HIV/AIDS- The Holocaust of the /
Day. Dr. Patrick Dixon Exposure visits
SESSION II Uganda AIDS Commission The Role of Church Leaders Breaking into the New frontiers
(National Responses) - Pastor Robert Kayanja (Strategic Perspectives)
Professor Rwomushana “Mobilising the church – and
partnership with International - Patrick Dixon
Agencies” - Calle Almedal (UNAIDS)
SESSION III 1.5 decades of Church responses: Children and HIV/AIDS ABC Vs CNN- Mike Chibita & David
Lessons learned Kabiswa
11:20-12.05 Dr Peter Okaalet Agnes iwera- Jaja’s Home
Poster Session Registration and POSTER SESSION A POSTER SESSION B POSTER SESSION C
\ Administration Theme: Church Mobilisation Theme: Education Theme: HIV Integrated
12.10-1.00pm (other arrivals) approaches
SEMINAR THEMES SEMINAR THEMES SEMINAR THEMES
Appreciating the Challenge Inspiring Church Responses Models for The Way ahead
2:35 – 5:00 1. Exposure Visits
2. Strategy Groups Church Mobilisation & Conflict Education: Values, Morals and Capacity building Closure of Partners
Mobilising Women, Youth & Skills Funding and Donor relations Strategy Workshop.
to be continued on Men Networking Models of learning
Friday/Saturday Marginalized groups Church Education and Materials
6:30PM DINNER DINNER
8.45 CONCERT - Evening worship: Evening worship: CONFERENCE CLOSURE &
/Friends: India, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Nigeria COMMISSIONING SERVICE/
AYF ACET Jersey/Russia, Thailand, Czec ACET Uganda
ACET International Conference - Seminars
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Appreciating the Challenge Inspiring Church Responses Models for the Way Forward
Church Mobilisation, Conflict Areas Education: Values, Morals and skills Capacity Building – select themes
o Russia - Czeck Republic Model o Lifeskills Promoters o Human Capacity Development (Sal Army)
o Mobilising the Church in DRC o Christian Model at National Level o Mainstreaming or Integration
TAIP Model – Mobilising Working With University Students o Food Security and HIV/AIDS
the grassroots churches
Youth Women and Men Networking – a key tool Scaling Up FBO Responses
Children After Genocide HIV/AIDS and Micro Credit – Rwanda Donor Perspectives – getting funding from
Uganda Women Concern Ministry PACANET Scaling up Resources:, EHAIA
Working in Displaced Camps (IDPCs) DOCS – Chosit al Vie UNAIDS FBO advice
Working With Marginalized groups Church Education and Materials Models of learning
Reaching the Unreached - ACET Jersey Samaritan’s Purse Church Models
Giving Girls Hope – OASIS Family Impact Supporting Positive and Affected leaders
Working with Drinking Clubs Map International Models of Working with Men
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