World AIDS Day 2016 – Hands up for prevention programmes that engage men

Ahead of World AIDS Day, UNAIDS have released a report called “Get on the Fast Track – The life-cycle approach to HIV”. Using the dynamics of the human life cycle, the report details the importance of finding HIV prevention and treatment options “for everyone at every stage of life” (unaids.org).

One statistic highlighted by the report concerns the number of new infections amongst adults – the figure has remained virtually the same since 2010. The slow progress in reducing new infections in the 25-49 age group is attributed to lack of comprehensive HIV prevention efforts and inadequate strategies for removing structural barriers to testing and treatment.

A key challenge cited in the report is the failure of HIV programmes to engage men. Harmful gender norms are resulting in men having poorer health seeking behaviours compared to women. These gender norms put men at increased risk of HIV infection and decrease their likelihood of getting tested.  Indeed, the report data shows a large gender gap in HIV status awareness with 59% of men compared to 72% of women testing and knowing their HIV results.

Blood pressure screening and HIV testing at a company participating in the Ericsson Uganda Supply Chain Proramme in Uganda – Companies are extending programmes to their value chain through mentorship and Supply Chain Programme

Blood pressure screening and HIV testing at a company participating in the Ericsson Uganda Supply Chain Proramme in Uganda – Companies are extending programmes to their value chain through mentorship and Supply Chain Programmes

Workplaces in sub-Saharan Africa (where the majority of the workforce in formal employment is male) have an easily accessible population of men and a captive audience to promote HIV testing and prevention programmes. Amongst the SWHAP partners, workplace programmes do more than increase testing opportunities for men (and women), they also provide information and counselling on; general health, sexual reproductive health, couple communication, gender stereotypes that put the health of partners and children at risk, and gender based violence – showing its link to HIV transmission. Employee Support Programmes help to make treatment more accessible and support adherence to treatment regimens. This is not limited to HIV but includes other communicable and non-communicable diseases of concern to employees. Peer Education programmes empower men and women to be change agents in their communities advocating for testing and challenging risky masculinities. Over time these initiatives should translate to increased uptake of HIV testing and prevention services at workplace and community level and have a positive impact on the health of women and children.

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Community outreach programmes raising awareness on wellness and HIV are engaging men in the formal and informal sectors

Community outreach programmes raising awareness on wellness and HIV are engaging men in the formal and informal employment

More broadly, companies in the partnership are also involved in gender mainstreaming and diversity management to promote gender equality in the workplace. All these efforts are in collaboration with service providers, national AIDS councils and other organisations working in the HIV response.

This year SWHAP and its partners are joining UNAIDS and other actors in observing World AIDS Day through community outreach to vulnerable populations and provision of confidential HIV counselling and testing at workplaces for employees and their families.

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Peer Educators promoting HIV and wellness testing in their communities

To read the report follow the link Get on the Fast Track – The life-cycle approach to HIV

Working with Men to Address Gender Based Violence

This Friday is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation and an impediment in the achievement of gender equality. Gender Based Violence (GBV) has also been identified as one of the significant drivers of HIV infection, making the elimination of violence against women an important factor in addressing HIV.

The figures on GBV are alarming. According to the World Health Organization 35% of women “experience physical and/ or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence over their lifetime” (WHO 2013). Survivors of violence often experience physical, emotional and psychological trauma. The impact of this violence extends to families and communities and has a negative impact on social and economic development.

gbvCompanies in the SWHAP network proactively work with service providers to address the underlying social and cultural issues related to GBV. While most GBV perpetrators are male, the number of men who do not condone violence towards women and girls is higher. Workplace programmes are providing platforms for these men to add their voice in support against GBV and learn ways in which they can become advocates for change in their workplaces, families and communities. Gender dialogues at the workplaces are creating understanding on the far-reaching consequences of GBV and are also allowing men who have been at the receiving end to get support. During dialogues men, freely and safely explore the foundations of their sexual behaviour, harmful gender norms and the importance of men and women as partners in reproductive health. This involvement of men (and boys) is critical as they play a vital role in the process of promoting, responsible sexual behaviour and reproductive health rights, and in the elimination of violence against women. Moreover as the majority of employees in the SWHAP network are male,  workplace programmes are creating more opportunities to engage men in the response to GBV.

Drama on sexual harassment performed by the Sandvik Zimbabwe Drama Group at a recent wellness day

Drama on sexual harassment performed by the Sandvik Zimbabwe Drama Group at a recent wellness day

Complementary strategies also include; the SWHAP Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management Strategy which seeks to effectively address gender inequalities and issues related to sexual harassment and sexual diversity in the workplace, and  the employee spouse clubs which are improving the spouses (predominantly female) access to economic activities.

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This year’s theme “Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls” highlights the need for greater resource mobilisation. According to UN Women “One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is a huge funding shortfall”.  For ideas on how you can raise funds for the cause or participate in the campaign please follow the link.

 

 

 

SWHAP 2016 Conference

Over 160 delegates from 11 countries attended the annual SWHAP Conference held in Johannesburg South Africa. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss and exchange experiences under the theme “A partnership approach for sustainable workplace programmes”. Conference participants celebrated achievements in workplace programme implementation and looked at how partnerships enhance the viability and sustainability of programmes.

Conference participants showing their support for Sustainable Development Goals which include partnership and gender – some of the topics that were under discussion during the conference

Conference participants showing their support for Sustainable Development Goals which include partnership and gender – some of the topics that were under discussion during the conference.

The opening keynote address was made by His Excellency the former President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe. In his address Mr Motlanthe commended the delegates for their “consistent determination” in addressing HIV issues. He also spoke of how The National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2017-2022 – currently under development – will emphasize partnerships between different sectors to reach more people with testing and treatment, and the ways in which partnerships contribute to sustainable responses for HIV and other diseases.

H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe

H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe

Presentations by the SWHAP Chair and Director of Operations at NIR, Sofia Birkestad Svingby and IF Metall Union Secretary, Anna Jensen Naatika set the tone for the conference describing how the partnership between IF Metall and NIR resulted in the co-founding of the SWHAP programme.

The first day of the conference revisited the SWHAP Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management Strategy, introduced last year, with presentations from four companies discussing the progress they had made in assessing the gaps in their workplace programmes and identifying suitable strategies to deal with the issues. All the presentations highlighted the business case for gender mainstreaming and diversity management with benefits such as; increased performance, innovation and customer and employee attraction and retention being noted. The day ended with an industrial theatre production addressing gender and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Day two of the conference started with a panel discussion on partnerships which included perspectives from SWHAP, Atlas Copco South Africa, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African National AIDS Council. Panellists discussed how the partnership approach brings value and sustainability to workplace programmes and the importance of creating strategic partnerships at external and internal levels. A practical exercise during the breakaway sessions allowed participants to begin mapping external and internal partnerships that would add value to their workplace HIV and wellness programmes.

Process of mapping strategic partnerships

Creating partnerships for success

SWHAP Achievement Award nominees showcased programmes addressing HIV and other health issues affecting employees in the workplace. Presentations from Babcock Ntuthuko, Freda Rebecca and Sandvik Tanzania highlighted comprehensive approaches to addressing HIV and ill health for both men and women in the workplace and the value companies placed in creating partnerships with employees, unions, service providers and national governments. In their presentations Sodeico Manpower, Sandvik Zambia and Scania Botswana described innovative approaches that are increasing employee engagement in programmes, reducing the impact of malaria on business operations and promoting testing and safer driving in the community, respectively.

Achievement Awards were presented at a gala dinner held on 28 October where the guest speakers were the Swedish Ambassador to South Africa Ms Cecilia Julin and motivational speaker Dr. Mbulelo Dyasi. Read more on the awards here.

Babcock Ntuthuko winners of Most Comprehensive Programme 2016. From left: Sofia Birkestad Svingby, SWHAP; Mpho Matshane, Gary Whalley, Phyllis Manganye all from Babcock Ntuthuko and Anna Jensen Naatikka, SWHAP

Babcock Ntuthuko winners of Most Comprehensive Programme 2016. From left: Sofia Birkestad Svingby, SWHAP; Mpho Matshane, Gary Whalley, Phyllis Manganye all from Babcock Ntuthuko and Anna Jensen Naatikka, SWHAP

Quotes

The Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme represents progressive and practical thinking about how to factor in the phenomenon of HIV in the 35 workplaces of Swedish companies in South Africa and the 12 wholly owned South African companies that are key suppliers to these companies. – H.E. Kgalema Molanthe

We are stronger together. No-one can do everything, but everyone can do something and in partnership with others we can do so much more. – Sofia Birkestad Svingby, SWHAP

Partnership is the best way to be successful. – Anna Jensen Naatika, IF Metall

Share your expertise on how you are responding to HIV. You have more to offer than you think. – Dr Fareed Abdullah, South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) 

The workplace in the whole social ecology is critical – through the workplace we can reach individuals, communities and new markets that can transform our society – Leon Roets, UNISA

Our partnership with SWHAP helps to build sustainable programmes in the workplace. – Christine Olivier, NUMSA

We believe that diversity management and gender mainstreaming is beyond compliance – it is a business imperative.Gary Whalley, Babcock Ntuthuko

SWHAP 2016 Achievement Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 SWHAP Achievement Award winners. The awards were presented at a gala dinner on 28 October in Johannesburg South Africa.

The winner of the Award for Most Comprehensive Workplace Programme 2016 was Babcock Ntuthuko, South Africa. Ericsson, DRC won the Award for Best Progress in Workplace Programmes and Sandvik, Zambia, won the award for Most Innovative Intervention.

Runner-up prizes were also awarded to: Freda Rebecca Gold Mine, Zimbabwe and Sandvik, Tanzania in the Most Comprehensive category; Hazida Motors, Zambia and Lincoln Lubrication, South Africa in the Best Progress category; and to Scania, Botswana and Sodeico Manpower, DRC in the Most Innovative category.

Peer Educator Achievement awards were also given to: Tellmore Chiramba, Ericom Communications, Zimbabwe; Arlindo Mário Cumbi, Auto Sueco, Mozambique; Laban Mahindu, Tamarind Translations, Kenya; Maurine Chirwa, ABB, South Africa and Nzovwa Mulaisho, Bayport Financial Services, Zambia.

Babcock Ntuthuko winners of Most Comprehensive Programme 2016. From left: Mary Kagole SWHAP; Mpho Matshane, Gary Whalley, Phyllis Manganye all from Babcock Ntuthuko

Babcock Ntuthuko winners of Most Comprehensive Programme 2016. From left: Mary Kagole SWHAP; Mpho Matshane, Gary Whalley, Phyllis Manganye all from Babcock Ntuthuko

 

Winner of Best Progress in Workplace Programming, Ericsson DRC. From left: Herve Kalombo, Ericsson; Mianda Mwepu Hatton, SWHAP and Francis Tshibangu Ericsson.

Winner of Best Progress in Workplace Programming, Ericsson DRC. From left: Herve Kalombo, Ericsson; Mianda Mwepu Hatton, SWHAP and Francis Tshibangu Ericsson.

 

Sandvik Zambia winner of the Most Innovative Intervention 2016. From left: Chipo Chiiya and Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP; Anne Banda, Sandvik.

Sandvik Zambia winner of the Most Innovative Intervention 2016. From left: Chipo Chiiya and Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, SWHAP; Anne Banda, Sandvik.

 

Recipients of the Peer Educator Achievement Award from left: Arlindo Mário Cumbi, Tecnel, Mozambique; Laban Mahindu, Tamarind Translations, Kenya; Maurine Chirwa, ABB, South Africa and Nzovwa Mulaisho, Bayport Financial Services, Zambia and Tellmore Chiramba, Ericom Communications, Zimbabwe.

Recipients of the Peer Educator Achievement Award from left: Arlindo Mário Cumbi, Auto Sueco, Mozambique; Laban Mahindu, Tamarind Translations, Kenya; Maurine Chirwa, ABB, South Africa and Nzovwa Mulaisho, Bayport Financial Services, Zambia and Tellmore Chiramba, Ericom Communications, Zimbabwe.