Community Campaigns

Botswana Road Safety and Health Campaign

Over the Africa Day holiday (25 May), steering committees from Epiroc, Scania, and Auto Sueco Botswana organised and held a joint road safety and health public awareness campaign under the theme “Fatigue Management and Road Safety 2018”.

The campaign targeted long-distance truck and bus drivers (including passengers), motorists and informal sector workers operating along the Palapye Highway. The objective of the campaign was two-fold; sensitising drivers on the dangers of driving while tired and creating demand for HIV counselling and testing (HCT) and wellness services for those involved in the transport sector.

Other stakeholders participating included the Department of Road Transport and Safety, the Botswana Police, the  Ministry of Health, Blood Transfusion Services, BOSSANET, Vivo Energy, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and Tepelopele Testing Services.

Botswana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world with an estimated adult prevalence rate of 21.9% (UNAIDS). Transport workers, in particular, long-distance truck and bus drivers, are particularly vulnerable to infection due to social issues related to being away from home for long periods of time. This absence from families often leads to high-risk sexual behaviour, transactional sex and multiple sexual partners along major towns and stopover points – making it important to also offer HCT services to communities along major highways.

Additionally, drivers are faced with many other health issues including high cholesterol, blood pressure, stress, exhaustion, and communicable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. A combination of long hours and mobility mean that many do not have the time or opportunity to access health services and when problems and symptoms arise they are often ignored. This increases the risk of accidents on the roads, due to ill health and fatigue while driving.

From left: Auto Sueco MD Pedro Ferreira Montero with Programme Coordinator Tshegofatso Raditlhokwa

Access to HIV and wellness screening was provided for members of the public from the surrounding community

Mr Letsapa Mojaphoko- Deputy Permanent Secretary – Ministry Of Transport & Communication

Kenya – Gold Grown Community Outreach

In Kenya, Gold Crown, a company under the Shreeji mentorship programme, held an outreach at a prison for women in Mombassa on 16 June. The objective of the outreach was to raise awareness on HIV transmission and prevention and to donate food and toiletries.

According to UNAIDS, “People who are already more likely to be exposed to HIV, including people who use drugs, sex workers, and gay men and other men who have sex with men, are overrepresented in prisons and other closed settings. Overcrowding increases vulnerability to infections such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis.” Moreover, the National AIDS Control Council of Kenya has identified prisoners (along with men who have sex with men,  sex workers and their clients, and drug users who use injections) as contributing to a third of all new infections in the country. This makes outreach programmes around this group key to efforts to reduce HIV infection within Kenya.

Gold Crown Team

Third Phase of Union/Employer Partnership Launched in Kenya

On 26 June, the third phase of the Union/Employer partnership was launched in Nairobi with sensitisation for managers from ten companies participating in the programme. The initiative will support the companies to set up HIV and AIDS programmes that address structural issues that make employees more vulnerable to HIV, STIs and other infections.

The Programme is a partnership with the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union (KLDTDAWU), the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), the Central Organization of Trade Unions Kenya (COTU-K), the International Labour Organization, the National AIDS Control Council and SWHAP. The participating companies are members of FKE and KLDTDAWU.

During the first two phases, 20 companies in the transport sector were assisted to set up workplace programmes. HIV and AIDS policies were also formulated by steering committees to protect the rights of workers. Another important aspect of the programme was advocacy for enrolment on to the National Hospital Insurance Fund during the awareness drives conducted by the Union.

Some outcomes of the mentorship programme were presented at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa 2017 and at the 8th International Convention on Peer Education, Sexuality, HIV & AIDS in June this year. They include:

  • Training for 100 management representatives on the business benefits of workplace HIV and wellness programmes – helping to ensure buy-in and commitment to the mentorship process. This also built financial sustainability for programmes raising awareness on the need to set aside budgets for wellness activities.
  • Setting up of steering committees and training of 47 Peer Educators to provide peer counselling and create opportunities for discussions on health-related issues at workplaces and communities.
  • Workplace education sessions on HIV, STIs and non-communicable diseases that empowered employees to talk openly about HIV: 2 467 employees were sensitised and 1 450 participated in HIV testing and counselling. The Union also used these education platforms to begin discussions on the inclusion of wellness and health clauses in collective bargaining agreements.
  • 20 KABP surveys allowing for future monitoring and evaluation of, for example,  knowledge transfer and behaviour change.
  • Catalysation of networking and dialogues between the Employers’ Organisation and the Union in line with protection of employees’ rights. Additionally, dialogue paved the way for unionisation of workers at some workplaces.

 

SWHAP Pilot Diversity Programme Launched in South Africa

Changing demographics, globalisation, generational gaps and inclusion of more women in the workforce have made diversity management a strategic business imperative. The benefits of diversity management include; increased ability to attract and retain best talent; a more engaged workforce; enhanced creativity; enhanced productivity; and better appeal to a more global market. All contributing to sustainable growth.

Over the last two years, SWHAP, in collaboration with the University of South Africa (UNISA), has been working on a strategy for mainstreaming gender and social diversity into existing HIV, health and wellness programmes. During workplace dialogues held in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe almost all companies participating agreed that this strategic direction was key towards the sustainability of their HIV, health and wellness interventions, and important in helping them to address sustainability priorities at workplace and community levels.

Building on the mainstreaming efforts and in preparation for the next phase of the SWHAP, a pilot Diversity Programme was launched in South Africa on 5 April. The aim of the Programme is to help partners ensure consistency of implementation of diversity policies and strategies using existing HIV and wellness programmes. Using social dialogue, the pilot will provide a baseline assessment identifying the risks and diversity environments within select organisations after which a strategy for sustainable economic development will be created. The Programme will encompass three phases; awareness and sensitisation on diversity within HIV, health and wellness; alignment and review to map and profile diversity elements of each organisation; and finally, implementation (including mobilisation for stakeholder participation) and monitoring and evaluation.

Four organisations (National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), Atlas Copco, Reality Wellness Group and Quant) are participating in the pilot.  Already launch activities have been conducted as well as a two-day capacity building workshop for 30 programme participants preparing them for facilitation of social dialogues within their workplaces.

NUMSA and Reality Wellness Group have completed their social dialogues and are now in the process of developing their identified activity plans for implementation based on the outcomes of their dialogues. Quant and Atlas Copco are currently in the dialogue phase and various wellness elements are being explored.

Diversity Programme Launch at Quant

Advocacy to Improve Access to Prevention & Treatment Services for Women & Children

On 23 March, as part of activities marking women’s month in the DRC, SWHAP collaborated with civil society organisation La Mains sur le Coeur and UNAIDS for high-level advocacy with women holding leadership roles in politics and business. The objective of the meeting was to create partnerships to influence improvements in access to prevention, testing and treatment services for women and children.

The advocacy was also in support of the UNAIDS campaign “Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free” a framework for ending AIDS in children, adolescents and young women by 2020. As this campaign directly relates to the 90-90-90 targets by ensuring no one is left behind, discussions also looked at supporting women living with HIV. The event was supported by the Minister of Health, Mr Ilunga Kalenga, and the Ambassador of Sweden to the DRC, H.E. Håkansson.

Minister of Gender, Mr Ilunga Kalenga

Ambassador of Sweden to the DRC, H.E. Håkansson.

According to the demographic and health survey (2013-2014), HIV prevalence in the general population is around 1.2% but 1.8% among pregnant women attending antenatal services. An analysis of the AIDS response in the country reveals significant inequalities in access to HIV information, testing and treatment services faced by children. Investments targeted towards children are low (less than 10%) and are not up to the needs of the country. Pediatric antiretroviral coverage is also low at 33% and communication is not adapted to the needs of children. Additionally, stigma and discrimination prevent many from taking up HIV prevention and treatment services.

SWHAP Networking Platforms

The SWHAP networking platforms that bring together key groups (management, Peer Educators, occupational health practitioners, and steering committee members) responsible for implementing and driving workplace programmes have been identified as a key strength of the Programme.

Already this year, over 90 senior level managers have participated in network training in Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania, and 100 Peer Educators exchanged experiences in meetings held in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

East Africa

In East Africa, the network meetings focused on integrating tuberculosis (TB) responses within workplace HIV and wellness programmes. This was after a national survey, released last year, showed that the TB burden in Kenya was higher than previously estimated and that over 40% of TB cases in the country remain undetected. The meetings were held in partnership with the Centre for Health Solutions and included management from SWHAP partner companies and their value chains.

Mozambique

The gathering in Mozambique brought together companies implementing programmes through SWHAP, ECoSIDA members as well as representatives from unions and the government. It provided an opportunity for participants to share their experiences and challenges and to learn about Vodacom Mozambique’s experience in setting up a workplace wellness programme. The meeting successfully concluded with companies from the SWHAP network promising to submit their plans for the second year of their programmes.

Peer Educator Networks -Southern Africa

Peer Educators (including spouse peer educators) in Zimbabwe and Zambia used Valentine’s day to nurture healthy relationships, encourage self-care and share coping strategies for dealing with divorce and blended families. In Zimbabwe, the Peer Educators were joined by Tendayi Kateketa Westerhof, Country Coordinator, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition – Zimbabwe (PAPWC) who talked about positive health, dignity and prevention. Tendai is on treatment and has been living positively for the last 17 years and now has an undetectable viral load.

In total over 100 Peer Educators from Sandvik, Epiroc, SKF, Scanlink and their supply chain counterparts benefitted from the training.

Tendai centre in white with Peer Educators from the SWHAP network in Zimbabwe

Read a case study on the SWHAP networking platforms here.

 

Partnership results in STI reduction

Last year in August, Sandvik Mining and Construction Zimbabwe partnered with Zimplats, SWHAP, the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), the National AIDS Council and the International Labour Organization to hold a community dialogue addressing sexually transmitted infections 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 partnership was successful in encouraging the residents of the town to examine behavioural practices that were fuelling the rise in STIs (for example, infidelity, multiple concurrent partnerships, lack of condom use, alcohol and drug abuse) and to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health. In December 2017, the mining clinic recorded a reduction in the number of STIs compared to the usual spikes experienced during previous festive periods.

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. These pledges were erected into billboards and placed around the mining town to help guide behaviours.

Wellness Days – Supporting Healthy Behaviours

Workplace wellness programmes can help support healthy behaviours as the average full-time worker spends a third of their day at work. Additionally, regular wellness days keep employees updated on their health status which is beneficial as they are then more likely to take measures to improve their health. For the employer, wellness days help in the compilation of data necessary for designing programmes based on the health needs of employees and for tracking progress across time.

Kenya

Oriflame conducted onsite screening for HIV, body mass index, diabetes and hypertension for its employees in Kenya and Tanzania during February.  In Kenya, the opportunity for testing was timous as the majority of workers had not taken an HIV test in more than two years.

A knowledge, attitudes and behaviour survey conducted prior to the testing (to generate information for future wellness planning) revealed gaps in knowledge about HIV and AIDS and lifestyle diseases that will be filled with employee education sessions. The demographics of the company mean that a programme will be tailored to address the health needs of a predominantly female workforce.

The wellness days and KABP surveys were the last activities under the start-up programme support which started in August last year. Oriflame has been taken through steering committee training and set-up, HIV and wellness policy development and employee education sessions.

Zimbabwe

Sandvik Zimbabwe held a wellness day for employees, value chain and neighbouring companies on 16 February. There were opportunities for HIV and biometric testing as well as sight and dental check-ups. Around 250 people were tested for HIV.

 

Supply Chain and Mentorship Updates

Companies that have received SWHAP support to set up HIV and wellness programmes often go on to share their experiences with other workplaces usually through the SWHAP supply chain or mentorship models. SWHAP also works with unions and employers’ organisations to assist their members to set up HIV and wellness structures.  In 2017, such programmes helped SWHAP to reach an additional 82 workplaces with access to testing services and information on HIV for employees.

Below are some updates from supply chain and mentorship programmes from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

South Africa

On 16 February, Sandvik South Africa held a feedback meeting on their recently completed supply chain programme. Through the programme, seven companies completed management sensitisation, steering committee training, policy development, baseline knowledge, attitudes and practices surveys and wellness days. In all, 244 employees conducted health risk assessments and 212 participated in HIV counselling and testing. Companies were informed of their risk burden and employees in need received telephonic support from the service provider.

Reports from the feedback session suggested that future programmes should be tailored to suit the needs and dynamics of smaller companies. Suggestions made included breaking down training sessions into smaller chunks so as to lessen time away from work, and enhancement of management sensitisation in order for managers to be more fully aware of the business case for programmes and to thus drive participation.

Zambia

The Orica mentorship programme reached the midway point with steering committee training conducted on 5 and 6 February. The training equipped participants with information on wellness programmes and built capacity on initiation, planning, implementation and evaluation of workplace programmes. This was achieved through practical case studies, interactive presentations and group discussions that, for example, helped participants create appropriate benchmarks towards the evaluation of programmes.

As the way forward the trained steering committee members committed to conducting awareness sessions at their respective workplaces to sensitise their colleagues on the importance of workplace health, and to carry out needs assessments that will enable them to tailor appropriate programmes. These assessments will involve; environmental inspections; review of absenteeism rates and current health care costs; review of current programmes; and identification of common health conditions faced by employees.

Participants were awarded certificates on completion of training. The next stage in the mentorship process will be the development of HIV and wellness workplace policies.

Zimbabwe

Employee sensitisation for the Revco mentorship programme was held on 13 December for 44 employees from Professional Security. Information was shared on the key drivers of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and correct condom use demonstrated. The awareness session highlighted the importance of condoms as a prevention method within workplace HIV programmes. In total 1 800 condoms were distributed and employees expressed appreciation of the condom demonstration with one employee saying, “all along I did not know how to put on a condom properly. I would like to thank [you] for coming to save my life maybe one day I was going to contract HIV through incorrect condom use.”

Condoms are a cost-effective tool for preventing HIV and other STIs. Globally since 1990, an estimated 45 million HIV infections have been averted through condoms. Currently, there is an annual gap of more than 3 billion male condoms in sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS).

Kenya

The Raffia Bags mentorship programme that was launched in October last year culminated in testing for the two participating companies in December. Over 500 employees updated their health risk profiles. Appropriate referrals were made for cases that fell outside the normal range for blood pressure and blood sugar, or tested positive for HIV. Additionally, employees were empowered with information on how to identify hazards and risky behaviours in the workplace, and on how to take steps to prevent ill health or harm to themselves and others.

The successful implementation of the programme was driven by the management and wellness champions at Atta and Krystalline Salt Kenya who recognised the correlation between a healthy workforce and productivity. They created a conducive environment for employees to get information and help regarding their health.

Tanzania

On 22 November last year, management sensitisation was held for ten companies participating in the second mentorship programme involving the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) and the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA). As a result of the sensitisation process, all ten companies established steering committees. Training for 15 steering committee members was conducted on 23 January building understanding on the impact of HIV and health-related issues at workplace level and on how to develop strategies for policies and programmes. The training session was opened by a representative of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) who recognised the efforts to prioritise HIV and AIDS responses amongst the private sector.

Raising Awareness at Verde Azul

Verde Azul Mozambique held an HIV awareness session for new office and field employees. About 25 employees participated in the session including the General Manager where discussions examined risky behaviours and promoted consistent, correct condom use. Information on HIV and AIDS was distributed to the participants as well as three boxes of male condoms and two boxes of female condoms.

A knowledge attitudes behaviour and practices survey conducted on SWHAP partners in Mozambique revealed that just over 50% of respondents obtained information on HIV and health from their workplace HIV and wellness committees – underscoring the importance of workplace awareness raising programmes.

International Women’s Day Commemorations

During March, various events were held throughout the SWHAP network to commemorate International Women’s Day and Women’s Month.

DRC

In the DRC, SWHAP brought together 30 women from the Confédération Syndicale du Congo (CSC) and the Association of Female Entrepreneurs of the DRC (ASSOFE) to build capacity on social dialogue for gender equity. Each participant was guided through a gender mainstreaming and evaluation tool in order to help them identify the gender gaps in their companies.

Mozambique

SWHAP marked International Women’s Day in Mozambique with a dialogue for 55 of its partners who included companies participating in the programme, ECoSIDA (a local business council on HIV) members and representatives from unions and the National AIDS Council. Held under the theme “Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives” the objective of the dialogue was to encourage the private sector to make greater strides in the empowerment of women towards gender equity and to encourage reflection amongst participants on the role they could play to empower both rural and urban women.

The dialogue also raised awareness on the importance of International Women’s Day as a platform for addressing women’s health and rights in the context of HIV and AIDS. The National AIDS Council reminded participants of the barriers to accessing health services faced by women, noting that in Mozambique HIV prevalence was higher in women than men and that only 45% of women successfully adhered to antiretroviral therapy.

Zambia

SKF and Epiroc participated in the district events in Kitwe. The companies celebrated the women in their workforce as well as the female spouses of employees, and in line with their annual tradition, purchased fabric for all the women to make outfits in their preferred styles.

Epiroc Zambia

Sandvik held a session on cervical cancer for women in their workforce and then treated them to a special lunch where the women celebrated their accomplishments.

Tanzania

Epiroc invited an external facilitator to talk to its employees about women’s empowerment.  The men at the office were invited to take part in the discussions as a way to inspire them to empower women in their workplaces, communities and families.

For the ladies at Sandvik, it was about giving back to the community. They made donations of food and general supplies to a local charity.

View more pictures on our International Women’s Day album on Facebook.