W3 Project presented at The Power to Persuade 2016 Symposium, and were invited to write an accompanying blog on the role of peer programs and leadership in the HIV and hepatitis C response
Guest Blog by Randelle Anderson, Senior Communications Officer at Living Positive Victoria
Adopting the W3 framework for Living Positive Victoria’s annual report went beyond highlighting the organisation’s activities over the last financial year. The framework helped to show the effectiveness of each activity, event, workshop and relationship, and how that impacted the organisation’s vision to better the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV (PLHIV).
The report’s themes were adapted from the W3 framework to give the annual report a strong narrative that was broken into four sections. This bridged the operational and business work of the organisation and made the report more engaging for readers and more appealing to a broader audience.
|W3 Themes||Living Positive Victoria’s Annual Report Themes|
|Engagement||Connecting and Engagement|
|Learning and Adaptation||Learning and Adapting|
|Influence (Community)||Strengthening the Community|
Each theme was defined at the start of each section which made the information much easier to follow and understand.
Connecting and Engagement – Relational living – feeling connected to your community – is vital for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Each individual has their own background, journey and story that we get to be a part of.
Learning and Adapting – Life never stops teaching. By continuously learning we are able to do things we were never able to do and find ways to address the evolving nature of HIV.
Strengthening the Community – The voice of people living with HIV (PLHIV) must be at the forefront of the HIV response. We continue to invest in our community to build up the resilience of PLHIV and position them as champions, role models and leaders.
Stronger Together – Real transformation will only happen when we embrace diversity, embrace our differences and contend for the same thing: the rights and wellbeing of people living with HIV (PLHIV).
The content was organised based on how it demonstrated the idea/concept for each theme. We looked at the impact and result of each activity and used facts, figures and testimonials to strengthen the information.
Weaved through the entire report was the relationships the organisation has with its stakeholders. The W3 framework helped the report focus on the diversity of those relationships and how those relationships continue to evolve and bring about real change in the HIV response.
As a public document, the annual report is accessible by all stakeholders to review which keeps the feedback loop open and the organisation can use any feedback to adapt the report in the future.
Our work with Living Positive Victoria and Harm Reduction Victoria has been progressing with a range of tools and approaches being trialled to enhance the evaluation of Engagement, Alignment, Adaptation, and Influence (W3 Framework functions) as well as Peer Skill.
Below are just four examples from across the work we are doing
Our collaboration with Harm Reduction Victoria includes their Peer Networker Program (PnP). The PnP recruits, trains and supports ‘peer networkers’ to distribute needles and syringes to their friends and associates as well as providing education about safer drug use and ‘modelling’ safer injecting practices.
- To enhance our understanding of engagement through the PnP, we have been revising the data sheets and analysing the geographic and gender diversity of who the program reaches compared to other needle and syringe programs.
Influence – Policy
- To strengthen the voice of people who use drugs and enhance the advice to the rest of the sector, we have been trialling the collection of current peer insights and feedback from the different networks in the PnP.
Adaptation and Peer Skill
- The Phoenix workshops result in rich peer discussion and problem solving. After the workshop – the peer facilitator’s debrief is a key moment with reflexive discussions– particularly about emerging issues and the quality of the peer experience occurring in the workshop. However, these insights were not being well captured for sharing within or beyond the program. Therefore we have been developing a brief facilitator feedback tool that can tap into and capture the expertise and experience of peer facilitators while minimising number of process feedback questions for participants.
Influence – Community
- To enhance our understanding of the impact of peer led programs for PLHIV, we have collaborated with a range of PLHIV peer organisations (including Living Positive Victoria) and ViiV Healthcare to develop, trial and validate the PozQoL scale. See the separate post on PozQoL or download the summary here
We are also working with both organisations to develop clearer overall indicators for the peer led programs drawing on the W3 Framework.
In coming months we will be uploading the developed tools and approaches. For more information in the interim, contact email@example.com
ARCSHS, Living Positive Victoria and Harm Reduction Victoria have signed a new 3 year collaboration agreement as part of the What Works and Why (W3) project.
Signing of the W3 Project Collaboration Agreement between ARCSHS, Harm Reduction Victoria and Living Positive Victoria
Back row – Graham Brown (ARCSHS), Steph Tzanetis (Harm Reduction Victoria), Brent Allan (Living Positive Victoria), Front Row – Charles Henderson (Harm Reduction Victoria) and Tim Krulic (Living Positive Victoria
The What Works and Why (W3) project has been a ground breaking study to investigate the role of peer-led programs and their influence in their community, policy and sector systems. In stage 1 (2013-2016) the project worked with 10 community and peer-led organisations to develop a new quality and evaluation framework for peer-led programs.
In stage 2 (2016-2019) the W3 project is working with Harm Reduction Victoria (and Living Positive Victoria to apply the framework at an organisational level. This will include the development of practical tools and approaches to evaluate and improve the impact and quality of programs as well as share real-time knowledge with the broader sector and policy response.
“What I’m passionate about is ensuing that affected communities are enabled and equipped to articulate their voices and lead the HIV response. Living Positive Victoria is investing in W3 because building our community research capacity is something that will drive the kind of systemic changes that will make this happen in Australia”said Brent Allan, Living Positive Victoria
“The role of peer-led programs in our community, right here right now, is critical if we are to build trust and enhance access to the new treatments and cure for hepatitis C. Collaborating with the W3 project will support us in strengthening the PWID (People Who Inject Drugs) peer voice and demonstrate that peer engagement is fundamental to achieving successful BBV (Blood Borne Virus) outcomes ” said Charles Henderson, Harm Reduction Victoria
“We know that peer-led programs and leadership are the key to maximising community engagement with the HIV response. That’s why we’re collaborating with the W3 Project. To enhance the work we do, to challenge stigma, to enhance engagement with treatment options, and to make the most of the opportunities that working in HIV at such a critical time present” Timothy Krulic, Living Positive Victoria
This is an exciting time for the W3 Project as we translate what we have developed into on the ground tools and strategies that enhance the evidence base for peer led programs but are also sustainable within community organisations.
The W3 Project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
W3 at the SiREN Symposium
W3 presented at the 2016 SiREN symposium – a showcase of innovations in research and responses to sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses in WA. You can watch the W3 presentation here:
The W3 Project took on the challenge to build a deeper understanding of the role peer led programs and their leadership in the response to HIV and hepatitis C. As we move into Stage 2, we have updated the W3 Project blogsite and created two new sections
W3 Project – Stage 1 (2014-2016) which includes:
W3 Stage 1 Reports: providing an overview of the project and the W3 Framework, feasibility trials of the indicators and tools, detailed methods, and copies of selected tools.
System Diagrams: the detailed descriptions of the system logic diagram and draft indicators developed with the W3 Project partners.
W3 Project – Stage 2 (2016-2019) where we will provide updates as they emerge of the new work with our collaborating partners.
We have also added a section to more clearly house the earlier research work which led to the W3 Project
Thank you again to everyone who has played a role in the project in Stage 1 and we look forward to Stage 2 as we continue to strengthen the role of our peer led programs and leadership
We are excited to announce that due to the outcomes of W3 Stage 1(2014-2016), the Commonwealth Department of Health has funded W3 Stage 2 (2016-2019).
Full reports and resources from Stage 1 will soon be uploaded to a revamped W3 website. However, in the interim – here is a summary of what we have achieved so far
The Australian HIV and hepatitis C response is undergoing the most rapid change in decades. Community and peer-led programs needed a better way to demonstrate their unique role and contribution to achieving the goals of the National strategies, their capacity to adapt with the rapid changes, and the role of the HIV and hepatitis C partnership in supporting this role.
Working in collaboration with ten peer-led community organisations, the What Works and Why (W3) Project used systems thinking and participatory methods to develop a better understanding of how peer-based programs work, formulated a framework to evaluate the role and contribution of peer-based programs, and developed quality and impact indicators and tools to best capture and share insights from practice. This involved a series of 18 workshops ranging from one to two days each with the ten peer-led community organisations working with gay men, people who use drugs, sex workers and people living with HIV. Some workshops were with single organisations and some with up to four organisations, and over 90 people were involved across the workshops.
We found that peer-led programs are operating within and between two interrelated and constantly changing sub-systems – the community system and the policy (or sector) system. We found there are four functions that are required for peer-led programs to be effective and sustainable in such a constantly changing environment:
- Engagement: How the program maintains up to date mental models of the diversity and dynamism of needs, experiences and identities in its target communities
- Alignment: How the program picks up signals about what’s happening in its policy / sector environment and uses them to better understand how it works and to achieve better synergies
- Adaptation: How the program changes its approach based on mental models that are refined according to new insights from engagement and alignment
- Influence: how the program uses existing social and political processes to influence and achieve improved outcomes in both the community and the policy/sector.
The combination of these functions is required for peer based programs to: demonstrate the credibility of their peer and community insights; influence community, health, and political systems; and adapt to changing contexts and policy priorities in tandem with their communities.
Feasibility Trial of Indicators and Tools
We worked with nine of the W3 project partners to develop tailored indicators under each of the four functions, and then piloted a range of different tools for gathering insights against the indicators and functions with peer-led projects within seven organisations. The main aim was to identify what would be feasible within the resources of community and peer-led organisations.
The next phase of W3 will build on and extend this work by trialling and refining the W3 framework at an organisational level. We plan to recruit two peer-led organisations in HIV and hepatitis C to implement and trial the W3 framework across their entire organisation. This will include the development of practical and sustainable tools that use data and insights to improve the impact and quality of programs as well as share real-time knowledge with the broader sector and policy response.
The W3 project continues its aim to support community and peer-led organisations to demonstrate their quality and impact, adapt their programs to the rapid changes occurring in HIV and hepatitis C, increase their value-add to the overall sector response, and strengthen the evidence base to guide investment in community and peer-led health promotion programs.