In the initial discussion of this paper the terms of reference began: “Save the Children has not been adept at managing its programme planning processes in the region. Country based strategic planning has often been a tortuous business which has alienated our staff because of the abstract language used. It has been a time consuming and often disjointed process leaving most participants dissatisfied with the final planning document”.
Save the Children (SCF) is not alone in this. HIV/AIDS is changing the environment in which we operate. It will have effects as serious as the plague in medieval Europe and we do not know how to deal with it. In effect there is a complete poverty in planning which will result in considerable impoverishment and misery in much of Southern Africa. One new way to assess the situation would be to through developing scenarios. HEARD has some experience in this having been part of a team working with Shell South Africa on developing scenarios for their Southern African region. We therefore agreed to prepare a draft paper, and this was discussed with SCF staff. We did not agree to follow the terms of reference exactly but rather to prepare the paper with scenarios. The first draft was completed and sent for comment on 21st June with a deadline for comment of 27th June (Alan Whiteside was away from 27th June).
The first draft showed up one major problem. SCF must be part of the brainstorming. We know what HIV/AIDS means in broad terms, we have some ability at developing broad scenarios but we do not know what SCF does or what these will mean for them. In effect while HEARD’s work is nearly complete that of SCF is only just beginning.