Economic empowerment and HIV vulnerability reduction along transport corridors in Southern Africa

Building effective responses to HIV and AIDS, mainly for vulnerable populations along major transport corridors and cross-border areas in Tanzania.


The International Labour Organisation has been supporting economic empowerment initiative in Tanzania since 2011 through ILO-Sida HIV&AIDS programme commonly known as the Corridor Economic Empowerment Program (CEEP).

This is a regional programme and is implemented along transport corridors in six countries of the Southern Africa: including Tanzania. In Tanzania, the program is implemented in the six selected hot spot corridors of Chalinze, Ilula, Mafinga, Makambako, Tunduma and Kyela.

The initiatives encompass mobilization of the constituents (Government, Trade Unions, Employers) and to contribute to the reduction and mitigation of the impact of HIV and AIDS. The program systematically contributes to gender economic empowerment and gender equality.

The effects of this economic advancement have been recorded across many of the economic indicators including an increase in net profits and spending on health, household decision making by women and condom use, education and nutrition.

The economic empowerment and gender equality approach provides skills and re-sources (through the Innovation Fund) to start or improve their business, form groups and cooperatives to improve their livelihood thereby reducing their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.

Brief background

The ILO-Sida HIV&AIDS programme is a regional programme implemented in six countries of the Southern Africa: Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The programme focuses on economic empowerment of men and women working in the informal economy in order to reduce their vulnerability to HIV.

The programme aims at building a more effective response to HIV and AIDS by addressing prevention and impact mitigation needs through tailored interventions towards vulnerable populations, including mobile and migrant populations along major transport corridors and cross border areas.

The project is engaging social economy organizations (cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, burial societies, producer and trade associations, foundations) to facilitate economic empowerment of affected populations, particularly women.

It aims at contributing to universal access by reducing HIV vulnerabilities and mitigating the negative economic impact of AIDS thereby utilizing the capacity of ILO constituents and other groups, such as People Living with HIV associations and associations of social economy enterprises to effectively respond to the epidemic.

Within CEEP the project is implementing a Corridor Economic Empowerment Innovative Fund (CEEIF) which is run by the Savings and Credit Cooperative Union League of Tanzania (1992) Limited (SCCULT).

The CEEIF project component seeks to stimulate economic opportunities through promoting decent work for populations located along selected transport corridors in order to provide viable and complementary alternative to HIV prevention.

To achieve this goal the CEEIF seeks to provide business related services to vulnerable groups of men, women and young girls by promoting a culture of self-reliance, entrepreneurship, enterprise development and creating high awareness of the existence of less risky alternatives while preventing HIV related risky behaviour and mitigating the impact of the epidemic among infected households and workers alike. Beneficiaries are linked to access these funds after successful assessment of their developed business plans.


Policy makers and promoters make evidence-based decisions to mainstream the economic empowerment model into HIV and AIDS regional and national agendas;

Increased availability of social and economic services to prevent and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in selected transport corridors; and

Increased access to effective HIV and AIDS prevention and impact mitigation services provided by targeted operators (members organizations such as cooperatives, informal associations, MSMEs) along selected transport corridors.

Main activities/Implementation strategy

The programme builds on the ILO’s previous work on HIV and AIDS in the sub-region.

This includes the programme funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) RAF/05/M08/SID (2006-2009) on HIV and AIDS Prevention and Impact Mitigation in the World of Work in Sub-Saharan Africa which was implemented in fourteen countries across Africa.

However, the new programme focuses more on a regional approach, through stronger support to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the response to HIV and AIDS by building the competency of enterprises, employers’ and workers’ organizations, informal economy associations, cooperatives and their apexes in mitigating the impact of the HIV epidemic at workplaces as well as supporting informal economy workers - especially women - to increase their economic power by improving their business skills and establishing enterprises associations, cooperatives and the like.

Outcomes/Expected Deliverables

  • Awareness campaigns on HIV prevention for informal economy workers and their organizations (business associations, cooperatives, women’s groups);
  • Access to microcredit for vulnerable young women and men and their organizations;
  • Set-up of social safety nets measures for vulnerable women and men in areas highly affected by HIV and AIDS (solidarity funds, credit facilities);and
  • Empowerment of young women entrepreneurs in the informal economy through the creation of collective enterprise initiatives (cooperatives, associations).