|The Business Response to HIV/AIDS: Innovation & Partnership (UNAIDS, 1997, 60 p.)|
|Examples of Company Actions on HIV/AIDS|
A. THE COMPANY
The Anglo American Corporation and its associate companies comprise the largest business group in South Africa. They are involved in mining, steel and engineering, pulp and paper, chemicals, electronics, agriculture, construction, financial services and property.
Through the Anglo American and De Beers Chairman's Fund, companies within the Group support a wide range of community projects with a particular focus on education, healthcare and social development.
B. REASONS FOR ACTION ON HIV/AIDS
In the late 1980s, the Corporation recognised the problems that AIDS would eventually give rise to, and encouraged all companies within the Group to establish AIDS awareness programmes in an attempt to prevent the spread of HIV infection among their employees.
Most recently, the appointment of a full-time AIDS Education Officer indicates the level of the Corporation's ongoing commitment to HIV/AIDS work. The AIDS Education Officer ensures that all companies within the Group are kept up to date with HIV/AIDS issues through newsletters, reports, workshops and seminars; recommends appropriate prevention programmes for individual companies; and advises them on how to manage the impact that AIDS is likely to have on their workplaces.
C. EXAMPLE ACTIONS
The mining companies are the biggest employers within the Group and have been the most active in AIDS prevention work. In the early 1990s, they realised that if prevention activities were to be successful, they would have to be extended to the wider community in which their employees live. Target areas are education for young people, programmes for women and general support for local communities.
Education for Youth
Youth is seen as a priority area for AIDS education, and many mines have recognised this by providing AIDS awareness programmes for schools in their areas. In particular, some mines have:
· Engaged the services of an NGO to develop and implement a comprehensive life skills programme in a number of schools.
· Purchased reading books specifically developed to address the social issues around HIV/AIDS and made them available to the schools.
· Trained teachers and schoolchildren as peer educators. Mine peer educators have encouraged youth groups to develop AIDS plays, which they have then performed in the community.
· Run poster competitions for schoolchildren and debating competitions on life skills issues for youth groups.
Assistance for Women
Many mines have recognised the vulnerability of women for HIV infection and have developed AIDS programmes for wives living at the mines, wives visiting migrant workers and women in the communities close to the mines.
Because of the large sex worker industry in mining communities, a number of mines have endeavoured to reach out to sex workers with AIDS education. These efforts have met with little success to date. One mine has now established a sex worker peer educator programme in partnership with the local department of health and the other two major employers in the area. The community-based programme is expected to be more successful in reaching the sex workers.
Another mine has established a small business initiative for women in the community, to provide them with financial independence and an alternative to sex work. Businesses include bread making, brick making and pre-cast fencing. This same mine has also established a primary healthcare clinic run by the community, where women can obtain treatment for STDs and testing and counselling for HIV. Many mines do offer STD treatment for the partners of infected employees, but only limited use has been made of this service in the past. The hope is that better community-based HIV/AIDS education will increase the use of the service.
General Community Support
A number of mines have assisted local communities in other ways:
· Trained traditional healers as peer educators, or facilitated their training through a traditional doctor association. Traditional healers continue to play an important role in the life of many mine workers and are therefore a valuable resource in AIDS education and prevention.
· Provided HIV/AIDS information and education for community leaders and healthcare workers.
· Arranged for plays and industrial theatre to be performed in the community and for videos to be made available.
· Sold red ribbons on World AIDS Day and donated the proceeds to care homes for people with AIDS.
In addition to the work done by individual companies, the Anglo American and De Beers Chairman's Fund has provided financial support for a number of community-based organisations for HIV/AIDS education and for the care and support of those living with HIV and AIDS.
Contact: Jenny Crisp
AIDS Education Advisor
Anglo American Corporation
44 Main Street
Tel: 27 11 638 3112
Fax: 27 11 638 3673