Scaling Up Managing HIV in the Workplace

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) scaled up the pilot programme Managing HIV in the Workplace to ten countries, to further spread the benefits of supporting civil society organisations to manage HIV.

Five pillars

In 2011, Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!), its partners and their counterparts started to scale up Managing HIV and AIDS in the Workplace, of which the successful pilot first ran in Ethiopia, India and Uganda. We wanted to spread the benefits of supporting civil society organisations to manage HIV further. The GNP+ Stigma Index research in 2010/2011 shows that managing HIV in the workplace is still very much needed. The findings reveal that the workplace is one of the places where HIV-related stigma is highest.

The programme aimed to prevent organisational loss and staff absenteeism and reduce costs related to HIV and AIDS. The following five pillars were developed to realise this :

  1. Functional workplace policy at civil society organisations.
  2. Reduced stigma and discrimination.
  3. Access to HIV and AIDS services, including voluntary counselling, testing, and treatment.
  4. Linking and learning within and between countries and globally.
  5. Lobbying within and between countries and globally.

Scaling up to ten countries

The programme intended to support around 500 civil society organisations, targeting directly tens of thousands of beneficiaries, in ten countries: Burundi, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  The seven lead organisations that coordinate and implement the programme are: Agency for Co-operation and Research in Development (ACORD) Burundi, ACORD Tanzania, ACORD Uganda, International Services Association (INSA India), Institute for Promotion of Civil Society (IPCS) South Sudan, Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA/PKBI) Indonesia, and Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS). 

During the first year, baseline studies were conducted among 265 organisations and 2,805 staff members, to explore the state of affairs in all ten countries. Subsequently, implementation of context-specific activities at country level started which led to some real successes in The Southern African, The Eastern African and the Asian region. The strong focus on linking and learning, lobby, and training of partners contributed to these. For instance, the ten lead organisations and a number of collaborating civil society organisations attended three regional train of trainers sessions, two in Africa and one in Asia, on the use of the tool Managing HIV in the Workplace: A Guide for CSOs. Also, two lead organizations were assessed on their limitations and strengths as a lead organization which was followed by customized training to build the capacities they lacked. STOP AIDS NOW! and the project’s 3 regional lead organisations are now a member of the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Workplace Programmes and the Private Sector led by the International Labour Organization (ILO). We also strengthened existing and established new private sector relations, such as with Levi Strauss & Co and Heineken International.

Unfortunately, despite the positive impact of the past years, funding could only be secured for 6 out of the 10 countries. The good news is that those six countries are successfully implementing their activities. The others are still searching for possibilities for continuation. Currently, next to implementation, we are working on sustainability of the programme:

  1. A global E-knowledge and Expert network is being developed so that others worldwide can learn from our local organisations’ gained experiences, knowledge and expertise.
  2. We are trying to encourage international donors to follow our example of ‘being a good donor’ by supporting work place initiatives of the organisations that they financially support.
  3. We are strengthening our collaboration with the private sector and building the capacity of our local partners in this area. Our aim: to help private companies being employers that take good care of the health and wellbeing of their employees, and thereby their companies’ financial health.  

Please contact Bianca Simons, Senior Advisor Workplace Policies in case of a request for consultancy work or any other question.

A link to the  global E-knowledge and Expert network on health and wellbeing work place policies and programmes, including SRHR and HIV and AIDS, will follow end of June 2014 .