Remarks for the Dinner Event to Launch the HEAIDS’ Programme’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, Southern Sun Hotel, Johannesburg
29 August 2013
Dr Jeffrey Mabelebele, Chief Executive Officer
Higher Education South Africa (HESA).
Good evening to you all!
Let me start off by acknowledging the presence in our midst of the following:
Prof Brian O’Connell, Chairperson of the HESA Strategy Group on HIV and AIDS
Prof Fikile Mazibuko, a member of the HESA Strategy Group on HIV and AIDS
Dr Mvuyo Tom, a member of the HESA Strategy Group on HIV and AIDS
Mr Chief Mabizela, a member of the Strategy Group, and a senior official from the DHET
Other members of the Strategy Group present here today
Representatives from the Universities
Representatives from the Department of Health
Ladies and gentlemen
I would also like to thank our Programme Director: HEAIDS, Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia for inviting me to this session. It is indeed an honour for me to be with you today, on the occasion of the “launch” of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for HIV and AIDS. I have attended a number of launches in the last few years, both in Higher Education sector and when I served in the public sector. The word “launch” has now become so fashionable and overused that it needs to be rescued. Lest, it will lose its original meaning. When Dr Ahluwalia sent me an invitation with express request that I should come, I decided to open my dictionary to remind myself of the original meaning of the word “launch”, and the following words came up:
1 To throw or propel with force; hurl: launch a spear.
2 To set or thrust (a self-propelled craft or projectile) in motion: launch a rocket; launch a torpedo.
- Nautical To put (a boat) into the water in readiness for use.
- To set going; initiate: launch a career; launch a business venture.
- To introduce to the public or to a market: launched the new perfume with prime-time commercials on the major networks.
- To give (someone) a start, as in a career or vocation.
- To begin a new venture or phase; embark: launch forth on a dangerous mission; launched out on her own after college.
- To enter enthusiastically into something; plunge: launched into a description of the movie.
I thought I should remind myself of the original meaning of this word, in order to fully appreciate the expectations, flowing from this launch. Verbs such as propel, thrust, initiate, introduce, begin, enter; and plunge, are indeed relevant for today’s occasion. These words put a heavy weight of expectations on our shoulders, as they conjure up both images of war and new beginning.
Just like a rocket, this framework has been on the boil for just over a year, and it seeks to assist the sector in tracking its progress in relation to the fight against HIV and AIDS. We call it a framework for a simple reason that (i) it is not meant to be a one-size fits all tool. Instead, it provides broad parameters within which institutions have to design and implement their monitoring and evaluation activities. Secondly, we call it a framework because the HEAIDS Unit at HESA will have to find creative ways of providing implementation support to institutions, informed by what each wants to achieve, and what each sees as its priorities from its own vantage point. However, in the ultimate end, it should assist each university to tailor-make its monitoring and evaluation tools, to the broad generic (high-level) indicators identified in the document. It will assist the sector:
- to assess progress in line with the priorities identified in the programme’s strategic plan;
- to surface any areas of weaknesses in the design and implementation of our interventions;
- to tell the exciting HEAIDS story, not just anecdotally, but informed by available data for each of the indicators we have identified; and
- to focus the sector’s efforts on what is perceived to be key issues in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Therefore, on behalf of HESA, I would like to express our appreciation for the work done by the Unit, Strategy Group and other members of our university sector community, culminating in the production of this Framework document. We look forward to its wider dissemination within the university system as a whole. At the centre of the framework’s success, is the mobilisation of all partners within the university system, to become active agents in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This is a war, requiring all partners to put their hands on deck. Going back to the meaning of the word “launch”, we see this launch as an occasion HESA to:
- Propel with force the framework as part of the ammunition against HIV and AIDS into the sector.
- As a rocket we set in motion against HIV and AIDS in our sector
- As an instrument we put in the sector in readiness for use by the 23 public universities
- As an initiative to foster a culture of monitoring and evaluation in the sector, on matters relating to HIV and AIDS
- As a new venture or phase in our fight against HIV and AIDS
- As a way of reinvigorating our energies in the fight against HIV and AIDS
With your support, HESA remains confident that this framework will become an important instrument in the armoury of HEAIDS and the sector, in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
I thank you.