Nepal – July 2010
Poverty and access to health care are two key challenges facing PLHIV. Their efforts to improve their situation are blocked by the lack of employment opportunities and widespread stigma and discrimination, on the basis of gender as well as of HIV status.
A training centre in Kailali province and the Nepal National Social Welfare Association (NNSWA) in Kanchanpur initiated a one-year pilot project in 2008-2009 with support from the ILO. Four local enterprises as well as business development service providers collaborated in this initiative to hire PLHIV or assist them to establish their own small businesses. Out of 80 PLHIV enrolled for training (61% women), 70 have since then been employed or set up their own business (62% women). A Resource Centre for Employment and Entrepreneurship has been established and a sustainability plan has been developed in collaboration with local banks, the Kailali Chamber of Commerce and the AIDS Committee.
Capacity building to improve employment opportunities for PLHIV is a direct means to empower PLHIV and address their needs. The project also proved successful in countering stigma and discrimination and reducing gender inequality. Women’s lack of land ownership, limiting their economic independence, requires legal reform and improved civil rights, support networks, and educating local officials. Initiatives for PLHIV should include nutrition support as an integral component of interventions to ensure maintenance of their health status.
The ILO will mobilize support, including through public-private partnerships, to help ensure the continuation of present activities and to enable scale-up to meet the demand in other districts. The ILO strategy includes forming cooperatives to improve self-sufficiency and sustainability.
Lee-Nah Hsu, HIV and AIDS Technical Specialist, ILO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archana Singh, HIV and AIDS Focal Point for Nepal, ILO