Nepal was one of the countries chosen to be part of the global HIV/AIDS workplace education programme supported by the U.S. Department of Labor and implemented by the International Labour Organization. This programme was implemented from May 2004 to December 2007 and aimed to contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the world of work, the enhancement of workplace protection and the reduction of its adverse consequences on social, labour, and economic development. The HIV/AIDS workplace education programme covered ten enterprises, in three selected districts.
The project introduced the concept of intervention in the workplace in Nepal. In spite of political strife and a disorganized labour market situation the project was able to raise the profile of the issue, win commitment of the constituents, set up a functional institutional mechanism for tripartite collaboration, act as a catalyst to develop and receive support for a national policy and demonstrate the feasibility of project strategies. However, in order to scale up and sustain its achievements, the project will need to continue with some interventions and initiate a few more activities. These include rectifying some of the project strategies, support to developing the national work plan and handholding of constituents when they plan and implement programmes independently. Available evidence indicates that HIV has not impacted the industrial sector so far. Nepal needs to take measures to ensure that this is maintained.
During its project period, the National HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme secured formal commitment from all constituents to protect the work force and their families from HIV/AIDS. A National Policy on HIV/AIDS in the Workplace, based on ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work, was endorsed by the cabinet on October 8th, 2007. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy includes workplace interventions as one of its focus areas.
The programme has added capacity in the tripartite constituents and played a catalytic role in bringing private sector, trade unions and Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) together with other players in the HIV/AIDS sector. The final impact assessment survey shows that there has been marked improvement in all key knowledge, attitude and behaviour indicators related to HIV/AIDS.
The challenge of internalizing and priority of HIV/AIDS as workplace issue still prevails and will need continued support to sustain the process.
Following the recommendation of the Final Evaluation, few activities to advocate workplace education on HIV/AIDS in collaboration with Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), follow-up activities with partner enterprises and dissemination of National Policy on HIV/AIDS in the Workplace has been continuing.