The Use of Share Fairs to Collaborate and Learn on Treat All in the Caribbean

Knowledge Management for Global Health

Elizabeth Tully

CCP | Program Officer
Participants enjoy a proverb icebreaker exercise at the start of the Share Fair.

Participants enjoy a proverb icebreaker exercise at the start of the Share Fair. Photo: Zwade Studio 

The K4Health Project has hosted a number of share fairs since our initial Global Health Knowledge Management Share Fair, which was held in Washington, D.C., in April 2013. Our guide walking others through the process of hosting a share fair, How to Hold a Successful Share Fair, is even in its second edition. Although I attended our first share fair, I was not closely involved in the planning process. So when I had the opportunity to be part of a small planning team for a share fair being held in the Caribbean region, I was eager to contribute to our growing body of knowledge on planning an effective share fair.

In K4Health’s partnership with the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), we work together to intentionally apply knowledge management techniques to enhance regional collaboration, sharing, and learning—through documentation of best practices, webinars, knowledge exchange events, and synthesized products, among others.

This March, the PANCAP-K4Health partnership hosted the Collaborating and Learning towards Treat All Share Fair in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, with national AIDS program (NAP) managers and civil society representatives (CSOs) from 18 countries in the region. The share fair focused on key themes, including adherence, testing, stigma and discrimination, linkage to care, integration, and CSO/NAP manager collaboration, all through the lens of how these topics contribute to achieving the 90-90-90 goals and getting countries to Treat All. We used several participatory knowledge exchange approaches to pull out best practices in the region, including conversation cafés, panel conversations, storytelling talks, and human spectrum exercises, with the intention of enhancing the sharing and learning among those in the room.

Participant Martha Carrillo from Belize facilitates a fishbowl exercise on stigma and discrimination.

Participant Martha Carrillo from Belize facilitates a fishbowl exercise on stigma and discrimination. Photo: Zwade Studio 

What made this share fair truly special to our PANCAP-K4Health team was the heavy involvement of selected participants who took the lead in facilitating sessions. While they received prior coaching on how to implement knowledge management approaches, the facilitators embraced the challenge and successfully carried out their sessions. The success of this share fair was truly evident from the engagement and excitement from all of the participants and their sharing and learning together, all with a common goal of achieving the global 90-90-90 HIV targets and getting the region to Treat All by 2020.

With another successful share fair in the books, I’m happy to have witnessed the enthusiasm, excitement, and enjoyment of the participants firsthand in the warm and sunny Caribbean. It is always inspiring to observe our knowledge management work in action and feel the appreciation of what knowledge management can do to assist those working to improve health outcomes around the world.