This article refers to the SWHAP film. To see the films, please follow this link.
The film is based on a series of interviews with participants from the SWHAP programme. Through the course of the eight minute film, Peer Educators, CEOs, employees, workplace programme coordinators and trade union representatives share on the different aspects of the programme.
Workplace programmes have saved and improved the lives of many employees. Key to this has been acceptance and implementation of workplace HIV and wellness policies that recognise employees as valuable assets and seek to create supportive environments where both employees and companies are protected against the effects of HIV and AIDS and other medical conditions. Testimonies from workplace champions such as Iddi Abdallah Ramadhani demonstrate how HIV and wellness programmes are creating working cultures that are free from discrimination and making companies employers of choice.
Workplace programmes have also delivered tangible results for the employers in terms of reduced health care costs and healthier workers who are generally more productive. Some companies have managed to lower their workplace pension and health premiums by being able to demonstrate that their workplace programmes have radically improved the health of the workforce.
Of importance has been the co-financing model that encourages companies to take responsibility for their employee’s health. Co-funding is provided over a three year period with gradually decreasing levels of funding from SWHAP.
Union participation in the programme has been vital to the successes achieved. The SWHAP model requires that both management and employees of participating companies share responsibility for the identification of needs and the formulation and implementation of programmes through representative workplace committees. This collaboration has built trust amongst all parties, improved corporate governance, increased transparency, accountability and access to information for employees.
The supply chain
Once companies have well established workplace programmes they are encouraged to reach out to their supply chain. The SWHAP Supply Chain and Mentorship model facilitates the sharing of HIV and wellness knowledge, skills and experiences through the principles of mentorship, participatory learning, networking and on-going support. Such programmes are helping to build capacity in small to medium enterprises that would not ordinarily have the resources to start-up and maintain their own programmes. Of benefit to SWHAP partners is the improvement in the reliability and quality of products and services as a result of a healthier workforce amongst suppliers.
SWHAP also runs mentorship programmes with unions. Programmes in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia are helping to build capacity both within the unions and the workplaces where the unions have representation.
The majority of employees in the SWHAP network are male, resulting in a disproportionate access to HIV and wellness information and services between the employees and their spouses. Reaching out to families and to spouses in particular closes this gap. Spousal programmes are creating an enabling environment for discussing pertinent issues such as safer sex, partner counselling, testing and voluntary disclosure of HIV status. In Zambia and Zimbabwe Spousal programmes have grown to incorporate income generating projects which provide a platform for dialogue around HIV and wellness issues as well as providing a source of income. Additionally trained spouses are taking the lead in community outreach programmes further spreading information on HIV, promoting testing and reaching audiences that would not ordinarily been accessible through workplace programmes.
The film making collaboration process
Stark Corporate Communications collaborated with SWHAP to make the film a reality. Producer Patrik Malmer shares a few thoughts on the rationale of the filming process and the importance of the partnership.
“Stark works with many large Swedish companies with a global reach. Some of our customers, for example SKF and Ericsson, do business in Africa and are engaged in the SWHAP programme.We felt that the important work of SWHAP needed to be documented, in order to share information and to promote the programme and the people engaged in it.
Personally, going to Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa to meet these people and see, first hand, what great work they do, was a great experience and a privilege. With the film, we have tried to depict different aspects of the programme: both the corporate view and the union engagement as well as the personal impact for those who work with, and those who are benefiting from, the programme. One of these people was Iddi Abdallah, working for the Swedish company Eco Energy. Had he not come in contact with SWHAP, he would surely have died a long time ago. I am really glad to have met this man, with his glimpse in the eye and careful smile.
Iddi and others we interviewed show the importance of companies and individuals, like Michael from Atlas Copco and Dorothy from Sandvik, engaging themselves in other peoples’ well-being. I only wish we could tell all the stories and show all the wonderful people we met in workplaces, in women’s groups and in the field, but that would be a really long film.”