The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is providing support for an ongoing multi-country programme on HIV/AIDS prevention and impact mitigation in the world of work in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme started in December 2005 and comprises three components:
Reaching the transport sector through a corridor approach aiming to increase knowledge on HIV/AIDS and minimize risk behaviours;
Working with the informal economy and cooperatives to mitigate impact of HIV/AIDS and improve working conditions in informal settings; and
Enhancing legal and policy compliance. The programme covers 15 countries: Lesotho, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Tanzania, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo. The transport and informal economy components operate in Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, which are the main programme counties.
This innovative programme addresses different dimensions of the HIV/AIDS response through a common strategy led by different ILO departments. The programme takes into account the socio- economic, cultural and gender-related factors that undermine prevention and impact mitigation efforts. It seeks to address the specific needs of men and women in project implementation and, in particular, women specific HIV/AIDS-vulnerabilities in the informal economy by using empowerment strategies. Small business development is encouraged as a way to reduce vulnerabilities. In Cameroon for instance, a number of innovative activities under the cooperatives and informal economy component of the programme have been undertaken. Specific interventions aiming at increasing financial resources and enhancing livelihoods and quality of life of women affected by the epidemic yet demonstrated interesting results.