A major AIDS epidemic in Nepal can only be prevented through a strategic response targeting those population groups who are particularly at risk and vulnerable to HIV. In line with the priorities set out in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for 2006-2011, it is therefore crucially important to enhance HIV prevention efforts among migrant workers.
While various organizations such as Family Health International (FHI) and other local NGOs have worked with migrant workers in India, not much has been done to address the HIV-related needs of migrants leaving to find work in other countries. Since hardly any organizations have been working on HIV/AIDS and abroad migrant workers, ILO, initially conducted a 2 month pilot project from November to December 2007, addressing migrant workers going through formal channel to abroad destinations. This pilot project addressed issues around reducing the vulnerability of outgoing migrant workers. It also provided a basis for more comprehensive interventions targeting all prospective migrant workers (female and male) and identified other possible interventions at other stages of the migration cycle. The activities under this project included a rapid assessment of existing literature and activities on HIV/AIDS and migrant workers, the development of a training manual and the training of trainers. Altogether, 85 trainers were trained from the Department of Labour, trade unions, different recruitment agencies and training institutions.
Based on the experience with the interaction and trainings conducted during this pilot project, a more comprehensive project (July 2008-October 2009) is now being implemented by the ILO under the UNDP/DFID support.
- To integrate HIV/AIDS/STI awareness activities in the basic orientation package for aboard migrant;
- To compile information on migration pattern, characteristics of migrants going abroad for employment;
- To develop core trainers who can conduct training on HIV/AIDS for the migrant workers;
- To raise awareness on HIV/AIDS of migrant workers at source districts;
- To organize a series of sensitization, and advocacy workshop to inform policy makers about HIV/AIDS, encourage dialogue and generate their support in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts; and
- To mobilize trade unions to dispatch HIV education to potential migrant workers.
The project envisages delivering information and counseling, HIV testing and STI referral services for abroad migrants. More specifically, the desired outcome of this project includes the following:
- Increased HIV risk knowledge and attitude among aboard migrants;
- Adoption of safer sexual and health care seeking behaviors; and
- Increased utilization of HIV prevention and care services.
- Integrated the HIV/AIDS in the orientation packages for abroad migrants;
- Developed a software to keep record of migrant workers through the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE);
- Developed two short movies on HIV/AIDS and safe migration;
- Trained 101 trainers on HIV/AIDS and safe migration;
- Supervised the orientation programmes for abroad migrant workers and trained 657 migrant workers on HIV/AIDS;
- Developed Behaviour Change Communication materials (Brochure, Notebook, Towel and Pre-departure kit) for abroad migrant workers;
- Produced ten hoarding boards and ten information boards on HIV/AIDS and safe migration and installed in District Administration Offices of programme districts, Foreign Employment Promotion Board and Department of Foreign Employment;
- Integrated the HIV/AIDS education in Trade Union’s worker education; and
- Developed and aired 17 half hour episodes and five Public Service Announcement (PSA) of the radio programme on HIV/AIDS and safe migration. Altogether ten Listener Groups have formed in Dhanusha, Mahottari and Kapilbastu districts.