Peer Educators within the SWHAP network receive regular training to keep them up to date with developments in health and HIV and AIDS. Such training is important for the sustainability of peer education programmes. During August and September 44 Peer Educators from South Africa, Botswana and the DRC updated their knowledge and skills.
Ten Peer Educators from SWHAP partners in South Africa joined 55 of their peers from; civil society organisations, sex worker groups, the private sector and the government for a training session on advocacy for social justice conducted by the University of South Africa (UNISA). The training unpacked diversity, gender, race and religion – empowering the participants on how to initiate dialogue and be advocates for social justice.
In August 14 Peer Educators from Quant, Hydroscand, Phillip Morris International and Alfa Laval South Africa participated in SETA accredited training.
Peer Educators from Botswana attended a session on gender transformative learning held in September. They also received books by Saidi Mdala a motivational writer and speaker from Botswana who encourages young people on abstinence, setting clear career paths and life goals, including safer sex.
In the DRC, Ten Peer Educators from Ericsson participated in a three-day Peer Education training which followed the national curriculum. The Peer Educators gained an understanding of the impact of HIV and non-communicable diseases on the workplace and acquired skills in communicating the benefits of programmes to their peers at the workplace.
SWHAP is collaborating with the National Union of Metal and Allied Industries in Zimbabwe (NUMAIZ) to sensitise the Union’s focal persons on HIV and AIDS. NUMAIZ, an affiliate of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), has around 9 000 members in five sectors.
Training for the union’s representatives was held in Harare on 14 and 15 September under the theme “Lighting the path towards healthy lifestyles amongst NUMAIZ workers”. Through discussions and group work, participants gained an understanding of; HIV and AIDS transmission, stigma and discrimination, sexuality, cancers of the reproductive system, and the importance of adherence to treatment. SWHAP shared its model for wellness that emphasises partnership between management and unions to address employee health for a healthy bottom line. The next steps in the programme will be a formal partnership for policy development, implementation and cascade through the union’s supply chain.
From left: Bonginkosi Mutongoza, Peer Educator, Willowvale Motor Industries; Henry Tarumbira, General Secretary NUMAIZ; and Stephen Dhliwayo, Deputy General Secretary, NUMAIZ discussing workplace policies
In related news from Zimbabwe, the National Engineering Workers Union, who launched their sector policy in June, have begun the dissemination exercise. Capacity building for 103 Peer Educators, human resource practitioners and workers’ committee representatives took place in August.
Surging youth populations in Africa make investments in health and education crucial if the continent is to achieve its potential for social and economic growth. According to the United Nations Population Fund “more than 2 million 10 to 19-year-olds are living with HIV” and about one in seven of all new HIV infections are occurring during adolescence (unfpa.org/swop-2014). UNAIDS estimates that 70% of boys and girls in sub-Saharan Africa do not have comprehensive HIV knowledge. This knowledge – also addressing rights and gender – would promote equitable relationships between boys and girls, reduce risky behaviour, delay sexual debut and result in fewer sexual partners.
During August and October various activities were held targeting the children of employees in the SWHAP network. The programmes, which attracted over 150 participants, shared age appropriate Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and advocated for responsible sexual behaviour.
SWHAP in Kenya together with SKF, Assa Abloy, Ericsson and Tetra Pak held a joint SRHR awareness event for employees and their children. The objective of the training was to equip the children with life skills to enable them to make the right decisions regarding their health and to create awareness on the psychosocial challenges that they face. One session highlighted issues related to sexual abuse, training the participants on how to identify signs of abuse and where to get help.
A workshop in Zimbabwe addressed the basic facts of HIV, peer pressure, gender, sexuality, and drug and alcohol abuse. Teenagers discussed factors that facilitate HIV transmission and the available prevention methods – with abstinence being encouraged. By the end of the training participants could make a better assessment of their personal risk and were equipped with coping strategies for resisting negative peer pressure.
On 3 October Ericsson South Africa held a workshop for teenage girls addressing the reasons behind the increase in HIV among young people. Young women (15-24) are disproportionately affected by HIV. In South Africa almost 2 000 new HIV infections occur weekly amongst this group – a rate two and a half times that of males of the same age (unaids.org). Ericsson South Africa is mentoring young women giving them access to careers in information and communication technologies, part of the experience involves training on HIV and sexuality.
It is hoped that these programmes will help young people make a safe and healthy transition from adolescence into adulthood and contribute to a healthy labour force.
Training youth in Zimbabwe
Congratulations to the winners of the Scania Kenya Driver Competition, John Leonard Njoroge and Fredrick A. Amakusi who managed to beat over a thousand entrants in the first Scania Driver Competition to be held in Kenya. Along with promoting road safety, Scania also used the competition to raise awareness on health issues affecting drivers and communities along transport corridors. Since the first heats in May, 1642 people have been counselled and tested for HIV and more than 500 have participated in wellness tests.
Winners in the bus category. From left: Jonah Marende, John Leonard Njoroge and Mohammed Iqbal Rehimtula
Testing for contestants during the competition
Read more here: www.scania.com/group/en/kenya-scania-driver-competitions-highlights-road-safety/
Over the last five years the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers’ Union has conducted awareness and testing for truck drivers along highways in Kenya; focusing on major stopover points and weigh bridges. Last year, with support from SWHAP and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Union held a successful campaign where 6 345 people (including truck drivers, sex workers and employees in companies along the transport corridor) received education on HIV and AIDS and 5 065 learnt their HIV status.
Building on from this campaign, ten companies were identified to participate in a mentorship programme to set up comprehensive workplace HIV and wellness responses. Management sensitisation was held in July to encourage senior level support. By the end of the meeting managers committed to creating supportive environments for programmes to thrive. As a result of this commitment 16 steering committee members were selected and trained in August – building capacity on how to draft HIV and wellness policies and drive programmes. Additionally, the training reinforced the potential benefits of having a healthier workforce for instance; higher productivity, reduced health care costs, decreased absenteeism, lower work-related injuries, higher job satisfaction and performance.
This collaboration, also involving the Central Organization of Trade Unions Kenya (COTU-K) and the Federation of Kenya Employees (FKE), seeks 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.
Employee sensitisation at Lab Signs one of the companies under the mentorship programme
Peer Educators from the SWHAP network in East Africa were at the 7th Conference on Peer Education Sexuality and HIV & AIDS held in Nairobi Kenya between 15 and 17 June. The conference was held under the theme “Towards Zero: The Bold Steps” and examined the steps necessary to end AIDS by 2030. Over 1000 delegates from 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa attended the conference which was opened by the First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta.
The SWHAP East Africa Coordinator presented on “Creating Sustainable workplace HIV and AIDS Programmes through private public partnership”.
One of the objectives of SWHAP is to share learnings, in the last month SWHAP and its partners in the DRC have been sharing the SWHAP approach and benefits realised from the programme. During the CEO network meeting held on 15 June, Sodeico Manpower and Ericsson shared how the programme had been of benefit to both employees and the company bottom line. As a result of a well-run HIV and Wellness programme Sodeico have noted a reduction in absenteeism and HIV related stigma and higher HIV Counselling and Testing uptake. Other presentations were made by the Ambassador of Sweden to the DRC, H.E. Annika Ben David and representatives from the International Labour Organization and head of National AIDS Council who presented on the theme “Partnerships in responding to HIV and promoting wellness for concrete and sustainable results”.
During the same week SWHAP was also invited to the International Labour Organization tripartite evaluation of the HIV response within the world of work. Here SWHAP discussed the role of trade unions as an important platform for reaching more employees and workplaces with HIV and wellness programmes. Recently SWHAP in the DRC worked with the La Confédération Syndicale du Congo (CSC) where 55 members of the union were trained on how to develop action plans for HIV workplace programmes. The workshop reached representatives from 25 different companies.
On 15 June the National Employment Council for the Engineering, Iron and Steel Sector launched the sector’s policy on HIV and AIDS at a ceremony officiated by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Prisca Mupfumira.
It was the culmination of a journey that started in 2014 when SWHAP partnered with the National Engineering Workers’ Union (NEWU), Engineering Iron and Steel Association of Zimbabwe (EISAZ), the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in support of the policy development. The policy development process was a representative exercise, involving stakeholders from the Engineering Iron and Steel Sector drawn from the various provinces in the country.
The policy is one of 12 sectoral policies on HIV and AIDS out of 48 sectors in the country. It demonstrates the sector’s commitment to complying with national, regional and international guidelines on addressing HIV and AIDS in the workplace. It sets out a framework for the prevention and management of HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections and also covers families and dependants of workers in the sector.
During the launch the Minister commended the sector for their proactive approach and noted the importance of public-private partnerships in addressing HIV and AIDS and other public health concerns.
From left Mr. Garira, President National Engineering Workers Union, Hon Prisca Mupfumira, Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare and Mr. Kumwenda, President Engineering Iron and Steel Association of Zimbabwe.
For SWHAP this partnership was an important exercise as the SWHAP model is based on cooperation between management and unions at the workplace. SWHAP has found that this collaboration in addressing HIV and AIDS leads to enhanced social dialogue and industrial relations, creating the right conditions for increased understanding, communication and cooperation around other issues affecting the workplace.
Dramatic interpretation of the importance of HIV and AIDS policies performed during the launch which also provided testing opportunities for guests.
On 28 April companies in the SWHAP network commemorated World Day for Safety and Health under the theme “Workplace Stress, A Collective Challenge”. According to the International Labour Organization “many workers are facing greater pressure to meet the demands of modern working life. Psychosocial risks such as increased competition, higher expectations on performance and longer working hours are contributing to the workplace becoming an ever more stressful environment.” While a certain amount of stress is normal, excessive stress interferes with productivity and is detrimental to employees’ physical and emotional health.
Employees at Sandvik in Zambia commemorated World Day for Safety and Health by donating blood on 26 April as a way of giving back to the community. They also participated in a workplace awareness session on workplace stress and a 2 kilometre walk on 28 April.
This year’s theme acknowledged the impact of workplace stress and the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to creating and promoting a safety and health culture in the workplace.
Read more on how to manage stress at the workplace.
In South Africa onsite wellness days were held at Sandvik Jet Park and SAAB in April and June respectively. At Sandvik over 70% of the employees participated in the HIV and wellness testing and also updated their health profiles.
Employees at Sandvik Jet Park filling out a health review
Wellness days encourage health seeking behaviours amongst employees and help to raise awareness on health related conditions that may potentially develop into chronic ailments if left unaddressed. As a result of the tests conducted, the two companies can update their company health risk profiles and continue to implement targeted interventions for their workforce. Well-designed wellness programmes can keep healthy employees healthy, support employees with health risks to improve their health behaviours and facilitate organisational efforts to achieve work performance goals.
Wellness tests at SAAB