Support to the HIV/AIDS Response in Zambia (SHARe Zambia)

Category 2

SHARe Zambia program worked to address HIV/AIDS in the workplace in both the public and private sectors. This nomination focuses on the public sector work. SHARe Zambia worked closely with 4 government line ministries to strengthen HIV/AIDS workplace programs and develop workplace policies and guidelines.

More specifically SHARe:
1) provided technical assistance to line ministries to manage workplace HIV/AIDS programs;
2) Built competence of service providers and managers to offer comprehensive HIV/AIDS services through training, skills development and support;
3) Fostered linkages between workplace programs and treatment, care and support programs;
4) Facilitated formulation of workplace support groups.

SHARe developed a training curriculum to help build capacity of so that peer educators would provide their colleagues with accurate and up-to-date information about HIV/AIDS. Some members were also trained as peer supporters and learnt how to provide basic information on care and support, effective referrals to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, and trained them on basic approaches to individual behavior change to support HIV prevention. The training included a session on self awareness to help people stand up to discrimination in the workplace.

The integrated approach to gender, sexuality, culture and HIV/AIDS (GESHA) provided a forum for public sector workers and their spouses could discuss issues of sex and sexuality and HIV/AIDS. The Positive Action by Workers (PAW) approach recruited staff and spouses living with HIV to create self-support groups and act as peer educators/role models in the workplace.

Core Components
  • The gender, sexuality, culture and HIV/AIDS (GESHA) approach created teams of facilitators who organized discussion between workers and their spouses to openly and comprehensively address gender, culture and sexuality, and HIV/AIDS. The project also targeted younger workers with sex and sexuality education and marital counseling, conducted by older members of the facilitation teams and in collaboration with traditional marriage counselors.
  • Positive Action by Workers (PAW) recruited staff and spouses living with HIV to create and manage self-support groups, and provide HIV education and referral to services from in the workplace. PAW engaged high-level ministry officials to actively and openly support the approach, combating stigma in the workplace and creating a friendly environment for PLWHA.
Noteworthy Results
  • All four ministries established workplace policies for HIV and AIDS, representing a workforce of more than 26,800 workers.
  • PAW and GESHA approaches have been scaled up in other MHA departments and districts
  • Training curriculum built the capacities of PAW members to act as peer educators, providing their colleagues with accurate and information about HIV/AIDS
  • 1,418 employees in two government ministries reached with prevention messages
  • 715 individuals linked to ART services through their workplaces
  • 128 providers trained in workplace counseling & testing services, and 93 trained in ART
  • A total of 819 peer educators trained as HIV/AIDS educators
  • HIV/AIDS committees formed in all the ministries to strengthen Peer activities and to link with focal point person on the activities of the Peer educators
  • GESHA facilitators formed a Facilitation and Training Team to assist with the roll-out, training and formation of regional GESHA support teams – creating a sustainable structure within the MHA to continue the program.
  • Work with the MHA prompted a review of the Zambia Prison Service’s approach to HIV/AIDS
Lessons Learned
  • Support to workplace programs is threefold: 1. training support to both increase the skills of existing peer educators and to increase the numbers of peer educators at each site; 2. provide technical advice on innovative strategies to provide information and support behavior change; 3. provide suggestions or actual materials to support the work of the peer educators, including videos and written materials.
  • Having a dedicated staff person (Ministry AIDS Coordinating Associate) demonstrates ministerial commitment and facilitates coordination of disparate and disbursed activities.
  • Training about HIV alone is usually not sufficient in helping workplaces address stigma, however, existing off-the-shelf toolkits can be adapted for the workplace and in the community to address issues of stigma
  • On-going dialogue with all partners allowed for adequate planning and proactive troubleshooting
  • Developing individual managerial capacity develops champions for workplace programming.
  • Working with ministries can be slow to start. Engagement of high-level staff is key, but not sufficient to get buy-in from lower-level workers. Persistent and diligent engagement of government staff is important to overcome resistance and increase buy-in.
  • Activities and policy development can happen simultaneously. A policy does not need to be formally in place before starting workplace-based programming.
  • Discussing sexuality and cultural influences on people’s socialization has increased participants interest in discussion HIV/AIDS and its related problems.
Focus Areas
Implemented By
John Snow, Incorporated
Participating Organization
Target Population
> 50000
Implementation Years
08/2004 - 09/2010