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.
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
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.
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
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