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.

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, Tecnel, 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, 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.

Social Football

Sodeico Manpower, winner of the SWHAP achievement award for Most Innovative Programme in 2015, held a football tournament in July. During matches the company’s employees and SWHAP partners in the DRC were offered HIV counselling and Testing services while male and female condoms were handed out. The aim of the initiative was to motivate the Sodeico agents to engage in active lifestyles and to promote the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

In related news Bayport Financial Services and Scania Hazida in Zambia held their own football tournament on 23 July and raised awareness on HIV and wellness. The tournament provided an opportunity for Peer Educators to network and conduct joint sensitisation for the 300 supporters that watched the match. The outreach offered opportunity for testing, counselling and referral through a local service provider.

Peer Educator Outreach

Peer Educators from Zambia and Zimbabwe were at agricultural shows held in August distributing condoms and discussing HIV transmission and prevention with show participants.  Reports filed by Peer Educators from Zambia indicated high levels of stigma associated with condom use with many women refusing to accept the condoms on offer lest they be accused of infidelity. In many countries social norms mean that condom use is still synonymous with suspicion and mistrust – creating barriers to their use. Peer outreach is thus important for addressing factors that inhibit positive behaviour change.

Zambian Peer Educators with a dance troupe at the Zambia Agricultural Show

Zambian Peer Educators with a dance troupe at the Zambia Agricultural Show

In Zimbabwe SWHAP shared a booth with the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), where Peer Educators discussed workplace programmes and how they benefit both employers and employees. They also talked to children, parents and guardians about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.

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Robert Chibukwe a Peer Educator from Scanlink talking to school children about their rights during the Harare Agricultural Show

Mozambique Update

On 22 July 2015 Mozambique became the eleventh country within the SWHAP partnership. Significant progress has been made since the launch in Maputo.  SWHAP is now working with Atlas Copco, Auto Sueco, Verde Azul Consultoria and Tecnel. The companies have trained HIV and wellness committees, drafted policies, and conducted awareness sessions reaching 73 employees. Reports from the training revealed that while most employees had good knowledge about HIV they were worried about getting tested. Workplace policies and participatory exercises explaining the benefits of knowing one’s status built confidence and as a result 42 employees from two companies were screened for HIV, blood pressure and blood sugar. Once HIV Counselling and Testing has been completed in all the companies 15 Peer Educators will be trained.

Participatory training exercises at Tecnel

Participatory training exercises at Tecnel

Tanzania Mentorship Programme

A mapping study in Tanzania by consulting firm Deloitte revealed that only 29% of companies had social investments with a specific focus on HIV and AIDS. The perceived lack of visibility of HIV and AIDS investments and the rise of other emergent social challenges such as cancer, diabetes, youth empowerment and financial inclusion were identified as some of the key barriers as to why 71% of companies interviewed did not focus their social investments on HIV and AIDS.

This study was highlighted at a CEO and workers’ representative forum (jointly funded by SWHAP and the International Labour Organization) held in Tanzania towards the end of last year. The forum advocated for greater investment into workplace wellness programmes and brought together SWHAP partners and members of the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE).

To help bridge the gap, SWHAP has partnered with ATE and Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) in a workplace wellness programme advocacy campaign targeting ten companies. On 18 August management sensitisation for senior level representatives from eight companies was held in Dar es Salaam. The meeting gave an overview of the SWHAP model and explained health and HIV issues in the workplace. Employers were encouraged to think of workplace programmes as strategic investments to enhance job performance and productivity.

Mentorship Programmes

SWHAP encourages companies that have established sus­tainable workplace programmes to share their expertise and experiences with their supply chain or neighbouring organisations through mentorship programmes. In August and September Ericom Communications from Zimbabwe mentored Davies Granite through committee training and HIV and wellness policy review. Also in Zimbabwe Unifreight, a company under the Scanlink mentorship programme, held staff awareness sessions on HIV and wellness for 12 managers and 103 members of staff. By the end of the training the employees had a comprehensive understanding of; the main drivers of HIV and the prevention methods available, and how to assess their own risk for infection.

Unifreight Zimbabwe

Unifreight Zimbabwe

Employees from Unifreight after their policy drafting excercise

Employees from Unifreight after their policy drafting exercise

Similarly, in Kenya, Shreeji Chemicals started its own mentorship programme this year helping three manufacturing companies to address the causes and implications of HIV and ill health for more than 400 employees. On 17 August steering committees from the three organisations were equipped with leadership skills to steer their respective wellness programmes. Following the training knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and practices (KABP) surveys were conducted at the workplaces and over 90% of employees participated in HIV Counselling and Testing. The results of the surveys will allow the companies to establish accurate risk profiles and baselines for comparison at determined intervals.

Completing the KABP survey at XXX

Completing the KABP survey at Global Tea Ltd

Wellness Days

Wellness days were held by companies in the DRC, Kenya and South Africa, with some targeting specific health concerns.

South Africa

Babcock Ntuthuko Generation held a men’s health day in July looking at erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, Medical Male Circumcision and testicular cancer. The topics, addressed through presentations and industrial theatre, were well attended. Also in July UD Trucks hosted a Tuberculosis (TB) day to raise awareness on the disease and provide onsite testing for employees. Those that tested positive were placed on treatment. South Africa is one of six countries in the world with the highest TB burden.

At Scania financial wellness workshops were conducted in the first half of August followed by steering committee training and wellness days at five sites.

TB Day at UD Trucks

TB Day at UD Trucks

DRC

During their wellness day Ericsson raised awareness and promoted the prevention of malaria. The company provided rapid malaria testing for employees and their families and gave out treated bed nets.  Bed nets are cost effective prevention strategy against malaria and can reduce malaria cases by up to one third. Addressing malaria is also of concern for those that are HIV positive as malaria increases HIV viral load. Of the 66 people tested eight were positive for malaria and were referred to health centres for treatment.

On 1 September Atlas Copco held their wellness day where 65% of employees were tested for HIV, 69% for malaria and over 80% took part in various wellness tests.

Rapid malaria testing for employees and their families at the Ericsson DRC wellness day

Rapid malaria testing for employees and their families at the Ericsson DRC wellness day

Kenya

During the last week of July Shreeji Chemicals organised a wellness week where Peer Educators did an amazing job mobilising 80% of their colleagues to get tested. Shreeji employees also donated 20 pints of blood to the national blood service.

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