Management Sensitisation and Steering Committee Training

During February and March management sensitisation was held at Tanalec in Tanzania, Ericsson in Zimbabwe, Panaco in the DRC and for Atlas Copco, Auto Sueco, Ericsson, Bayport, VerdeAzul and Tecnel in Mozambique. The training covered the impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace as well as the SWHAP approach, which emphasizes cooperation between management and employees in the formulation and implementation of workplace HIV and wellness programmes. At the end of the training, managers from the three companies understood: the issues relating to HIV prevention and treatment at the workplace, the processes involved in setting up a workplace programme, the advocacy role of management in communicating the value of workplace programmes and the importance of creating opportunities for employees to take part in programme activities.

The Tanalec steering committee also underwent training to rebuild capacity for members to steer the workplace programme as a new committee was reconstituted after staff changes at the company. The steering committee started their policy review process to update the workplace HIV and AIDS policy to include gender and wellness.

Tanelec Steering Committee made up of representatives from management and workers

Tanelec Steering Committee made up of representatives from management and workers

In related news on steering committee training, on 12 February 55 members of La Confédération Syndicale du Congo (CSC) attended a steering committee capacity building workshop held during the Union’s annual meeting for its new members. The training covered transmission and prevention of HIV, benefits of HIV testing services and the development of action plans for HIV workplace programmes. 38 participants learnt their HIV status through testing services provided during the training.

CSC is a union confederation represented at national level in the DRC, a member of IndsutriALL and a great platform to expand the impact of SWHAP in the DRC beyond Swedish companies. The workshop in February reached representatives from 25 different companies.

Past experience has shown that successful and sustainable workplace programmes have the buy-in of both management and worker’s representatives and as such management sensitisation and steering committee training create a platform for mutual understanding.

Peer Educator Training

Sexual reproductive health training in South Africa

On 18 February, 19 Peer Educators from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), SKF, Phillip Morris International, Sandvik, Assa Abloy, Scania and Alfa Laval attended a workshop on sexual reproductive health and sexually transmitted infections. In line with efforts to create more cost effective and sustainable networking, SKF South Africa hosted the Peer Educator network meeting.

Peer Education training in South Africa

Peer Education training in South Africa

Extending gender mainstreaming to communities in Zambia

39 Spouse Peer Educators from SKF, Atlas Copco and Sandvik participated in gender mainstreaming training on 11 March in Kitwe. The aim of the training was to accelerate gender mainstreaming in spousal programming for the promotion of gender empowerment and equity. Through the training participants developed a clearer understanding of gender concepts and capacity to incorporate gender action points into their community peer education activities. Participants were divided into their company groups to create gender mainstreaming action plans.

Challenging gender sterotypes

Challenging gender sterotypes

Engaging male employees through edutainment programmes

The SWHAP Zimbabwe HIV and Wellness Edutainment programme came to a close at the end of 2015.  The project addressed, HIV prevention and treatment, stigma, discrimination, sexual harassment, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases through dramas at participating partners’ workplaces.

Over an eight-month period 26 performances were conducted at five workplaces reaching 785 employees, the majority (655) of whom were male. The project was successful in targeting male dominated workplaces and opening up dialogue on issues which otherwise would have been taboo.  Feedback from male participants suggested that the edutainment programme provided a fun way for them to reflect on some of the male driven social and cultural drivers of HIV in a safe environment. The dramas including post drama discussions were filmed and distributed to participating workplaces as a further resource for employees to share with their families and communities.

Post drama discussions at Ericom Communications Zimbabwe

Post drama discussions at Ericom Communications Zimbabwe

International Women’s Day Celebrations

The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme and its partners held various events to commemorate International Women’s Day. In Tanzania Scania held an awareness session on the importance of empowering women through education, whilst in Botswana and Zimbabwe dialogues were held focusing on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) and gender parity. The objective of the dialogues was to reflect on the progress in HIV prevention strategies for women as well as the accessibility and uptake of services by women. Discussions also highlighted the gender and cultural issues that continue to negatively impact women’s health.

Scania Tanzania held an awareness session entitled “Educating a woman is more than educating a nation” highlighting the importance of empowering women through education

Scania Tanzania held an awareness session entitled “Educating a woman is more than educating a nation” highlighting the importance of empowering women through education

The dialogue in Botswana was held in partnership with Scania Botswana, The Midweek Sun newspaper and Tebelopele, Botswana’s largest non-governmental provider of HIV testing services. 82 men and women from various organisations in the private and public sector attended the dialogue, which received extensive media coverage both in the local press and on national television. Speakers included Dr Veronica Leburu, Deputy Director Ministry of Health and Dr Gang Sun, UNAIDS Country Director.

This is the second time such a dialogue has been held in Botswana. In 2015 SWHAP partnered with the International Labour Organization and Scania to host an International Women’s Day SRHR Conference. The conference raised awareness on the importance of International Women’s Day as a platform for addressing women’s health and rights in the context of HIV and AIDS. The forum also offered opportunities for health tests and 11 women took the HIV test for the first time.

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Caroline Thlkane from the Scania Botswana wellness committee making her contribution during the dialogue

Discussions in Zimbabwe looked at the power dynamics in HIV transmission, testing, counselling and treatment and making the case for action among workers and families. Participants were encouraged to make commitments to safer relationships by for example, committing to disclose any infection that could be passed on to sexual partners and spouses and to commit to helping to achieve gender parity in their families, relationships, communities and country.

Expert panel, Martha Tholanah, International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP, Tendai Kateketa Westerhof, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition and David Mutambara, Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness.

Expert panel, Martha Tholanah, International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP, Tendai Kateketa Westerhof, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition and David Mutambara, Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness.


In line with their tradition, Atlas Copco Zambia celebrated International Women’s Day by purchasing fabric for all the female employees to make outfits in their preferred styles.  The clothes were worn during a workplace awareness session on “Gender is my agenda: Make it happen for women” and at the Chingola District celebrations.

Atlas Copco Zambia employees in orange with police officers from the Victim Support Unit (a unit that deals with gender based violence) at the Chingola District celebrations

Atlas Copco Zambia employees in orange with police officers from the Victim Support Unit (a unit that deals with gender based violence) at the Chingola District celebrations

ABB Cancer Shavathon

Two Peer Educators from ABB Alrode, Maureen Chirwa and Christine Ndlovu, participated in the Cancer Association of South Africa Shavathon fund raising exercise. The initiative raises money for cancer research with a core focus on early diagnosis and cancer risk reduction. The peer educators invited participants to make donations, shave or colour their hair as symbolic gestures to show solidarity with those affected by cancer (losing one’s hair is a common side-effect of cancer therapy). The exercise also raised awareness on cancer and the importance of early detection. Raising awareness on cancer is important for HIV programmes as HIV increases the risk of developing cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer.


Establishing baselines

Congratulations to Scania Hazida Zambia and Lincoln South Africa who held their first wellness baseline tests, achieving over 80% HIV testing uptake. Lincoln combined their Wellness Day, which included health risk assessments for 94% of their employees, with a policy launch. Whilst Scania Hazida also conducted training for their steering committee.


HIV counselling and testing at Scania Hazida in Zambia

In the DRC Atlas Copco conducted a knowledge attitude, behaviour and practices (KABP) survey at three of its sites in Katanga during the third week of February. Once analysed, the survey will be used to inform programme design and create relevant interventions.

Employees at Atlas Copco going through the KABP survey

Employees at Atlas Copco going through the KABP survey

Establishing baselines are an essential part of workplace HIV and wellness programmes. SWHAP encourages workplaces to combine a baseline survey (such as a KABP) with HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) and biometric testing in order to establish its risk profile. Once a workplace understands what its health risks are then programmes can be designed (or redesigned) accordingly. In addition, by conducting surveys and testing at a later date the companies can compare changes in attitudes over time and thereby measure the effectiveness of their programmes.

Alfa Laval celebrates 95 years in South Africa

Congratulations to Alfa Laval who this year are celebrating 95 years of operating in South Africa. Alfa Laval was one of the first companies to join the SWHAP partnership in 2004. Immediately the company set up a comprehensive workplace HIV and AIDS programme realising 100% HIV testing uptake. Alfa Laval employs 55 people and has branches in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.


From left: Magdeline Dlamini and Sean Peters, Alfa Laval Peer Educators; Anders Pentelius, MD Alfa Laval South Africa; J. Vilson, Executive Vice President Alfa Laval – Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa; Sara Aulin, Counsellor Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of Sweden; Mary Kau, Coordinator SWHAP; Mae Claassen, HR Manager Alfa Laval South Africa; and A. Nascimento, Nasa Comercial Angola


International Women’s Day 2016

Celebrated on 8 March, International Women’s Day builds support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme (SWHAP) joins the international community in celebrating International Women’s Day under the 2016 theme “Pledge for Gender Parity.”

25.03.2015 Zimbabwe Freda Rebeka Gold mine Photo: Adam Lach / Napo Images

Why is gender parity important?

The rights to equality and non-discrimination are fundamental principles to human rights, yet gender inequalities still persist and women and girls face discrimination. On average women still earn less than men, are not proportionally represented in political positions, are more likely to suffer physical and sexual violence and thus more likely to acquire HIV.

Gender parity is not only a social and moral issue but also an economic one. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) acknowledge the importance of gender parity in achieving global progress and addressing poverty, with a specific goal (SDG 5) aiming to end discrimination and violence against women and ensure equal participation in all spheres.



Investing in the health, wellbeing and rights of women means everyone wins. It strengthens economies, increases productivity, improves health and creates sustainable nations ( A 2015 report by McKinsey Global Institute found that “$12 trillion dollars could be added to global gross domestic product by advancing women’s gender equality”. The same research showed that diversity in the workplace is important for successful business. Companies with more women on their boards showed 26% higher returns and 56% higher operating profits (

What is the relationship between gender parity, HIV and health?

Over 30 years into the HIV epidemic, it is well documented that unequal relationships between men and women and societal norms of femininity and masculinity are important influences on HIV prevention, treatment and management. Gender inequality and harmful gender norms are not only associated with the spread of HIV but also with its consequences. SWHAP recognises the importance of integrating gender in the HIV and AIDS response.

What are SWHAP partners doing to address gender in the workplace?

Several companies in the SWHAP partnership are participating in a pilot programme to mainstream gender and diversity management into HIV and AIDS workplace programmes. The mainstreaming of gender in workplace programmes allows for the needs of women and men in relation to HIV to be effectively addressed. Men are integral to the process as they play a vital role in the process of promoting, responsible sexual behaviour, and reproductive health rights and in the elimination of violence perpetuated against women.

Within the context of HIV addressing gender inequalities removes barriers to accessing HIV services, enabling women and men to access comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. These investments result in healthier workers who are generally more productive and contributes to sustainable business.

What more can be done?

  1. Help women and girls achieve their ambitions
  2. Challenge conscious and unconscious bias
  3. Partner effectively with men to end gender inequalities at the workplace
  4. Call for gender-balanced leadership
  5. Value everyone’s contribution equally
  6. Create flexible inclusive cultures

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