Managing Diversity

The gender mainstreaming pilot studies showed that the process of mainstreaming gender into all core business areas (through the HIV and wellness programmes) intersects with other diversity issues such as race, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity. As such it was important to address these issues in order to foster trust and partnerships for effective mainstreaming.

SWHAP in South Africa regularly holds diversity management training for SWHAP partners and encourages proactive efforts to manage diversity through programmes and activities that support and empower a diverse workforce using multicultural approaches (for example social dialogue). On 24 September which is National Heritage Day in South Africa, ABB celebrated the diversity of its workforce with a competition for the best cultural heritage attire. On 21 November, SWHAP partners from Babcock, Volvo, Quant (ABB), Sandvik, Lincoln (SKF) and Hydroscand built capacity to manage diversity for sustainable business through a workshop held with the University of South Africa.

Celebrating Heritage Day at ABB – Winners of best Heritage attire with their prizes

Scania Botswana Raises Awareness on Men’s Health

Every year in November Scania Botswana participates in the Movember Movement, a campaign that that involves growing moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness on men’s health issues. This year, Scania focused awareness efforts on prostate cancer. The wellness team at Scania encouraged male members of staff to grow facial hair to spark conversations around men’s health. On 24 November, the company held a prize-giving ceremony for the longest moustache or biggest beard where they invited the Cancer Association of Botswana to give a presentation on prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. In 2012, 1.1 million men were diagnosed. When detected early, prostate cancer survival rates are better than 98%. If diagnosed late, the survival rates drop below 26% ( The problem is that the majority of men are reluctant to attend regular medical screening. Campaigns such as Movember help to keep health top of mind and encourage better health seeking behaviours amongst men.

World AIDS Day 2017 – The Right to Health

World AIDS Day is a time to celebrate the achievements that have been made in the global HIV response and to rally support for ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. UNAIDS reports that by June 2017, 20.9 million people living with HIV were on treatment in comparison to the year 2000, when only 685 000 people were on treatment. This scale-up in treatment has resulted in a 48% decline in deaths from AIDS-related causes.

While there is much to celebrate, it is not a time for complacency as the rate in decline of new infections is not keeping up to pace with the Fast-Track targets to reduce new infections to less than 500 000 a year by 2020. Global prevention targets are not being met, and every day 5 000 people are infected with HIV (UNAIDS). Additionally, one in three people living with HIV do not know their status, meaning that they are not accessing treatment. There is also very high prevalence amongst key populations that include sex workers and men who have sex with men. Often stigma and discrimination make it difficult for them to access health care and prevention services.

SWHAP joins UNAIDS and the rest of the world in commemorating World AIDS Day under the theme, “My Health, My Right”. The theme highlights the importance of removing barriers to accessing health care for all people including those living with HIV.

A 2015 report issued by the World Health Organization, revealed that 400 million people lacked access to essential health services and that 6% in low-and middle-income countries were pushed into extreme poverty because of health care spending. In 2016, global leaders acknowledged the importance of universal access to health care for sustainable development when they signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under SDG 3 they pledged to scale-up efforts to provide universal health coverage for their citizens by 2030.

Universal health coverage is based on the conviction that health is a human right and that everyone should have access to affordable quality health care. UNAIDS has said that “ensuring accessible, acceptable, available and good quality health services is a core principle of the right to health and is at the centre of the AIDS response”. Without universal access to quality health care millions of people die each year and preventable diseases including (AIDS) continue to negatively impact families and communities.

Providing universal health coverage is an ambitious promise with many challenges, for example, financing, skilled labour shortages and poor supply chain and management systems. But where there is political will, it will be possible to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to good quality affordable healthcare.

For Africa, this is critically important as more than half of the global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to happen there. “Of the additional 2.4 billion people projected to be added to the global population between 2015 and 2050, 1.3 billion will be added in Africa” ( Ensuring access to affordable and quality health care for all is critical to this growing population as well as for the control and prevention of HIV and non-communicable diseases that are threatening the continent’s development.

This World AIDS Day we would like to celebrate our partners who are working tirelessly through their workplace HIV and wellness programmes to reduce barriers to accessing health care services for employees and communities in 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year over 100 companies were at various stages of implementing rights-based HIV and AIDS policies that provided protection against discrimination for over 27 000 employees, as well as opportunities for HIV and biometric screening with treatment, care and support services for those in need. Through workplace programmes, 13 000 family members and people from key populations had access to either information on health, condoms or opportunities to establish their HIV status.

We also recognise unions and employer’s organisations, who are helping small and medium enterprises to proactively prevent and manage HIV and AIDS in this region. Download our 2016/2017 annual report to read more about these important initiatives.

Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

Each year, between 25 November (International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women) and 10 December (Human Rights Day) the world comes together to commemorate 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The campaign draws attention to the impact of gender-based violence (GBV) on individuals, families and communities – galvanising action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Violence against women and girls manifests in many forms including, intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation and child marriage. The World Health Organisation estimates that globally 35% of women have experienced physical and/ or sexual violence. In 2012, just under half (47%) of female homicide victims were killed by their intimate partner or family member compared to 6% of men during the same year (

The effects of GBV have a profound effect on the physical, sexual reproductive and mental health of affected women and girls. “Women who have been physically or sexually abused by their partners are more than twice as likely to have an abortion, almost twice as likely to experience depression, and in some regions, 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, as compared to women who have not experienced partner violence” ( The effects are also felt across generations with some research showing that boys who witnessed violence against their mothers became more likely to commit violence against a female partner in later life (

GBV is a human rights violation and an impediment to the attainment of gender equality laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals. It curtails women’s participation in social, political and economic spheres undermining development. It also has a negative effect on GDP and national economic wellbeing. For example, in 2015, the World Bank reported that Brazil lost an estimated 1.2% of GDP in productivity due to violence against women. For business, violence against women has a direct impact on productivity and profitability. It:

  • Increases costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism.
  • Increases turnover.
  • Has a negative impact on performance reducing the productivity of GBV survivors and their colleagues.
  • Has a negative impact on an organisation’s ability to attract and retain female employees.

A study by the Overseas Development Institute on the financial costs of GBV in Papua New Guinea showed that on average, “staff lost 11 work days per year to GBV, including two days to presentism, five to absenteeism and four to assisting other GBV survivors” (

What can we do to end violence against women and girls?

The private sector has the capacity to make a difference in addressing GBV. There is a moral, social and economic imperative to act. Workplace HIV and wellness programmes within SWHAP are:

  • Mainstreaming gender within workplace programmes in order to more effectively address gender inequalities and issues related to GBV and sexual harassment.
  • Interrogating social norms that perpetuate violence against women and girls through workplace and community dialogues.
  • Recognising and engaging men as key partners to end GBV.
  • Working with spouses of the male-dominated workplaces to offer life skills training on HIV risk and prevention, and improving access to economic activities.
  • Extending workplace programmes to communities and populations at risk.
  • Building Peer Educator capacity to identify and address harmful gender norms which are barriers to HIV, sexual reproductive health and rights and GBV responses in workplaces and communities.
  • Engaging value chains to develop workplace programmes with HIV and AIDS policies that explicitly promote non-discrimination, and take gender issues into consideration.
  • Creating internal and external partnerships to enhance workplace and community GBV responses with some, for example, resulting in income generating projects for GBV survivors in the community.

This year’s campaign is being held under the theme Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls. For inspiration and ideas on how to participate check out the link below.



ASSOFE Policy Launch

Congratulations to the Association of Female Entrepreneurs of the DRC (ASSOFE) on the launch of their HIV and Wellness Policy. The Policy was launched at a ceremony held in Kinshasa on 30 August attended by representatives from UNAIDS, the Ministry of Gender and the Head of the National Programme for Gender and Equity within the Workplace, Severine Luntala.

ASSOFFE are under a mentorship programme with Sodeico Manpower which has seen nine steering committee members and 37 Peer Educators trained since the beginning of the year. ASSOFE supports women entrepreneurs from the informal sector to formalize their activities and to comply with national legislation. The Organisation provides a platform for social dialogue and capacity building around different topics including health and wellness. The mentorship programme is expected to reach employees from 60 organisations.

Symbolic handover of Sodeico HIV and Wellness Policy to the Head of the Association Jacqueline Bisimwa

HIV and wellness screening was available during the launch ceremony and a baseline knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices survey conducted.

Ngezi STI Community Dialogue

Mining communities, where many SWHAP partners operate, are particularly vulnerable to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This is due in part to the closed nature of the communities which promotes sexual networks (a key driver of HIV particularly in Southern Africa) and to high risk sexual practices in those communities. Companies in the SWHAP network often partner with the public and private sector to address this risk. The different projects and interventions aim to reduce behavioural risk factors, and strengthen the prevention of HIV and STIs through increasing awareness and access to treatment.

On 9 August, a partnership between, Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe, Zimplats, the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), the International Labour Organization, the National AIDS Council and SWHAP resulted in a community dialogue on STIs in the mining town of Ngezi. This was following reports of a spike in the numbers of STIs being recorded at the mine clinic. The objective of the dialogue was to encourage the residents of the town to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health.

Popular talk show host Mai Chisamba facilitated the discussions, which looked at the drivers of STIs and the link with HIV.  Over 800 residents of the town, including mine employees, participated in the dialogue which encouraged them to examine behavioural practices that were fuelling the rise in STIs (for example, infidelity, multiple concurrent partnerships, risky sexual behaviours, lack of condom use, alcohol and drug abuse). At the end of the discussions representatives from the community signed a pledge committing to; marital fidelity, regular HIV and wellness screening, open communication between married couples and saying no to drug and alcohol abuse.

The lively event attracted considerable attention on social media with over 3 000 people viewing the video highlights on Facebook.

The programme at Ngezi is an acknowledgment that comprehensive HIV and AIDS responses must include the communities where employees reside. This is where most exposure takes place and reaching out to communities is important in reducing the risk faced by employees and their families. Sandvik and Atlas Copco have employees who work at this mine.

In conjunction with the dialogue, participants also had the opportunity for HIV screening and medical male circumcision. Employees were encouraged to attend the dialogue and screening with their spouses.

Renegade on the left: “This is a good thing. I was circumcised last time and now I have brought two of my friends for circumcision today. It will help them stay clean and healthy.”

Mombasa Truck Driver Programme – Union Employer Partnership

Last year, SWHAP worked in collaboration with the Federation of Kenya Employers, the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union and the International Labour Organization to improve access to HIV and wellness services for long distance truck drivers from companies in Nairobi. Following the success of the Nairobi programme, phase two was launched in Mombasa on 27 July with management sensitisation for 13 companies. The event attracted senior management from the target companies who were sensitised about the partnership and the business case for employee wellness programmes. Management sensitisation was followed by training for the respective HIV focal points on 31 August.

The programme is a union employer partnership building capacity within the 13 organisations to set up and implement workplace HIV and wellness programmes and policies that protect the rights of HIV positive drivers. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to enhance testing uptake and access to services for long distance drivers by ensuring that the workplaces they come from have supportive policies and programmes in place.

The Union has been instrumental in motivating employer participation, ensuring 100% attendance by the target companies.

From left: Isaac Kiema, Projects and Capacity Building Coordinator, Kenya Federation of Employers and Nicholas Mbugua, Secretary General, Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union (an affiliate of Central Organisation of Trade Unions Kenya)

Before the project many employers saw us as their rivals. We have now developed a better way of relating. Indeed, the success of the Nairobi phase of the project is evident in the 100% attendance by the transporters we saw at the Mombasa phase launch. It means that the transporters are talking amongst themselves, convincing each other that the Union is not only concerned with wage negotiations but also offers other benefits.-Nicholas Mbugua, Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union

The KLDTAWU is no longer just offering roadside testing, but going into companies to provide a supportive environment for positive workers and prevention interventions for those that are negative. – Helen Mugutu, International Labour Organization

Compensation against discrimination based on HIV status is high. It is important for the employers to know how to address this. Policies are important they enable certainties in terms of decision making. – Isaac Kiema, Kenya Federation of Employers


Babcock Showcase Wellness Programme in Sweden

Babcock Ntuthuko South Africa were the winners of the SWHAP Achievement Award for Most Comprehensive Programme 2016. As part of the prize Mpho Matshane, General Manager – SHERQ, and Eugene Penny, SHE Risk Practitioner and Peer Educator, travelled to Sweden at the beginning of September to showcase the programme. They shared best practice and insights into the programme’s success during a wellness management seminar on “Fostering Healthy Workplaces” at the International Council of Swedish Industry, and participated in a workshop on the Swedish labour market model at IF Metall along with the SWHAP team.

Babcock is running a comprehensive HIV and wellness programme where 98% of the company are aware of their HIV status. Follow the link to read a case study on workplace wellness and diversity management at Babcock.

The benefits of the programme have improved morale and productivity – Mpho Matshane General Manager – SHERQ

From left: Mpho Matshane and Eugene Penny from Babcock Ntuthuko also had the opportunity to tour the Volvo Head Quarters in Gothenburg

Women’s Month – South Africa

Women’s Month – South Africa

South Africa celebrates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the expansion of Pass Laws to women.

Women’s month is an important opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and contributions to the country and to highlight issues such as gender based violence (GBV) and gender inequality.

As part of their Women’s Month commemorations, Scania organised a self-defence workshop for employees. This initiative was complementary to other activities that seek to address the root causes of GBV and the inequalities faced by women.

Recently, GBV has been in the spotlight in South Africa after a series of violent crimes against women (many by their intimate partners) were highlighted by the media. Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence experienced by South African women and is the leading cause of death amongst this group. More women are killed by their current or former intimate male partner in South Africa than in any other country in the world. The 2016 Demographic and Health Survey by Statistics South Africa noted that one in every five partnered women experienced physical violence by a partner.

Mentorship Update


Atlas Copco Launch Second Supply Chain Programme

In 2012, with support from SWHAP, Atlas Copco Zambia implemented a supply chain programme that saw five companies successfully complete the mentorship process and go on to implement wellness activities that contributed to the better health and wellbeing of their employees. On 23 August, building on from that experience and the lessons learnt, Atlas Copco launched the second round of the supply chain programme for another five companies in the hospitality, transport and logistics, and mining sectors.

The second supply chain programme commenced with management sensitisation in Chingola where the business case for the uptake of workplace wellness, HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support interventions was presented.  Senior management from Atlas Copco and the mentee companies attended the meeting and also discussed the mentorship process, roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders and the expected outcomes.

The programme is expected to promote sustainable productivity by enhancing employee health and wellbeing in the mentee companies. The participating companies commended Atlas Copco for an initiative that strengthens business cooperation and relationships with other companies calling it: ‘an ideal model of modern business relationship management’.

South Africa

The Sandvik South Africa Supply Chain Programme is progressing well. Seven companies committed to the mentorship process in February and have so far conducted management sensitisation, selection and training of steering committees, and started the policy development process. Additionally, baseline knowledge, attitudes and practices surveys have been conducted at Progressive Signs, Drill Rod Specialists and ASA Fabrication.

Turnkey Hydraulics a company under the mentorship programme has already conducted a wellness day with employees pledging to take responsibility for their health.


In Zimbabwe, 28 steering committee members from seven previously supported companies under the Atlas Copco and Sandvik mentorship programmes underwent capacity building on 11 August. The focus of the training was to re-appraise committees on the foundation principles that support responsive workplace HIV and wellness programmes and to enhance capacities for developing workplace HIV and wellness strategies and workplans.

The training has been an eye opener and provided a platform to learn and exchange ideas from other organisations. This will be key in driving the wellness programme in our workplace. As a committee member, I take home the drive, energy and passion to implement. Farai Marara, Area Manager, Servcor (former Sandvik Mining and Construction mentee company).

And finally, congratulations to Revco Zimbabwe (SKF Distributor) on the launch of their mentorship programme with ProSec. Management sensitisation was held on 2 August. And to Unifreight who launched their HIV and AIDS Policy on 18 September in Harare. Unifreight were under the Scanlink mentorship programme.