HIV/AIDS prevention and impact mitigation in the world of work in Sub-Saharan Africa

Donors/funding mechanisms

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

The programme covers 15 countries in the sub-region but the main programme countries are Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The over-arching objective of this programme is to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa by addressing the world of work vulnerabilities and strengthening the application of the policy and legal frameworks for the protection of infected and affected men and women workers. The specific objectives are:

  • Increased knowledge on HIV/AIDS and more responsible attitudes to risk behaviours of men and women workers and their families, help limit the spread of HIV/AIDS;
  • Improved working conditions and status of affected women and men working in targeted informal settings;
  • Enhanced compliance with the legal and policy framework by ILO constituents.

According to the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic there have been significant gains in preventing new HIV infections in a number of heavily affected countries. The combined will and efforts of governments, donors, civil society and affected communities made a difference. One of the main messages from the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic is that, while HIV has reduced life expectancy, slowed economic growth and deepened household poverty, it has also increased global consciousness of health disparities, and pooled action to confront it.

However, if the global epidemic has stabilized in terms of the percentage of people infected (prevalence), the total number of people living with HIV has increased to 33 million people globally with nearly 7,500 new infections each day. According to the Report, although some countries will be able to meet the 2010 targets in the 2001 UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, many countries will still fall behind in the achievement of universal access also noting that there is a tremendous diversity across the African subcontinent in the levels and trends of HIV infection. Southern Africa is still the worst affected region.

In this context, the project in Ethiopia seeks to improve the working conditions and status of affected women and men working in informal settings. It aims therefore to increase the number of cooperatives developing and implementing programmes on HIV/AIDS in rural and urban areas. It seeks to increase the number of small businesses developed and sustained to mitigate HIV/AIDS impact in the informal economy and also to improve support services and people’s health care access through cooperative apex and community-based organizations and through micro and small business and Informal Sector Associations.