Latest News & Events


National aerobathon challenge6-10 July was the Corporate Wellness week which had more focus on the promotion of staff wellness. The weekend of the 11 July 2015 the Swaziland Business Coalition on Health & AIDS (SWABCHA) hosted the first National Corporate Aerobathon challenge. The event was held at Mavuso Sports Hall, and was attended by over 20 companies which included SWAKI, Municipal Council of Manzini, Municipal council of Mbabane, SEC, CONCO, PSPF, Inyatsi, Central bank of Swaziland, Montigny, Sebenta National Institution, Exams Council of Swaziland, SSA, Nedbank, Illovo, Standard Bank, FNB, Premier Swazi bakery, SRIC, SWSC, Body Fitness Gym, and RSSC. Over 300 employees from different companies attended the function get themselves to burn down some fats thus ensuring a healthy body. Some of the employees confessed that they were participating in the aerobics sport for the first time. The event was partly sponsored by the SIPA, National Maize Corporation, Central bank of Swaziland, Total Swaziland, Coca Cola Swaziland, and Nedbank.

SWABCHA is the private sectors coordinating body in the response to HIV & TB in the country, they further coordinate and promote employees wellness. As part of the 7 wellness components, physical wellness was the major focus of the day. About 11 different aerobics instructors who are employed by the corporate companies were engaged to lead the HILO, step, and Kata-Box aerobics showcase moves. The participants’ worked out for 5 hours nonstop. There was then a crowning of the champions which was done by SWABCHA board members Lungile Dlamini (Municipal Council of Manzini’s CEO) and Edwin Mbingo (Inyatsi Construction HR Manager).

Step Challenge Company Teams: 1. Body Fitness Gym 2. CONCO 3. SEC Individuals: 1. Bhanyaza Jele (Body Fitness) 2. Sakhile Zwane (SRIC) 3. Chris Sangweni (Central Bank of Swaziland) HILO Challenge: Company teams: 1. Premier Bakery 2. Body Fitness 3. CONCO Individuals: 1. Nolwazi Nxumalo (Illovo) 2. Gabsile Ngcwane (Illovo) 3. Winile Dlamini (RSSC) KATA-BOX Challenge Company teams: 1. Premier Swazi Bakeries 2. Inyatsi Construction 3. Illovo Individuals: 1. Sithembile Khumalo (Premier Swazi Bakeries) 2. Chris Sangweni (Central bank of Swaziland)

Nedbank’s Best Athlete award: Chris Sangweni (Central bank of Swaziland) Overall team winner: Premier Swazi Bakeries The event will also be held in 2016, 10 July. Companies who wish to encourage physical fitness amongst their staff members are encouraged to take part.

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November 2014 - Men in the workplace march against Gender Based Violence

Swaziland Men in the workplace march against Gender Based ViolenceMost men in Swaziland are part of the labour force hence the need to make sure that men at work understand their roles of protecting women and children as they look after them was visibly clear, which led to the call for men in the workplace to stand against gender based violence. This concept of a march by male workers was conceived in July 2014 when the Swaziland Business Coalition on Health and AIDS (SWABCHA) hosted a national Peer Educators day for the private sector where experience sharing by different companies was done and further a lecture on GBV was presented.SWABCHA is the national coordinating body of Wellness and Disease Management programmes in the private sector workplaces and businesses. During the Peer educators’ day, the lecture conducted articulated the recent media reporting on Gender Based Violence and implored men to do something in particular non abusive men. The participants then resolved to stage a march to add their voice on this national threat. SWABCHA was then tasked with organizing and securing funds for the event. The proposal from the peer educators was approved by the governing board of SWABCHA. The march was conducted under the theme, ‘From peace in the home, to peace in world; Swazi men taking the lead’.

The march was building a national sensitization for men in the country to start engaging on issues of Gender Based Violence, whilst at the same time challenging other men to open up on Gender abuse issues. The streets of Manzini a city in the hub of the Kingdom of Swaziland was rightfully targeted as it becomes a place which many people converge in particular on weekend hence they would be able to get the information and take it back to their homes.The march was targeting men in the workplace. It was able to get men from the public sector, private sector, the forces (Army, Police, and Correctional services officers). About 956 people attended the function with 143 women attending which saw a great number of men taking part in this march. Private sector managers and directors, senior government officials inclusive of the Deputy Prime minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland attended the march from the starting point.

The march was successfully held by SWABCHA in partnership with the Government of Swaziland, United Nations family, USA PEPFAR program, and the International Labour Organisation. Other local non-governmental organisations also participated in the event displaying their services and products; these included the Men Engage Network, Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse, Population Service International (PSI) Men’s Health program, and the Young Women’s NetworkThe march started at a high note from Moneni, Matata Shopping Complex, and 3km outside the city of Manzini. It took to the main road with man carrying placards written ‘SIKHUTA LOMOYA WEKUHLUKUBETANA’ (We condemn the spirit of abusing each other), ‘VIOLENCE IS NOT AN OPTION’, ‘MY STRENGTH IS NOT FOR HURTING YOU’, and ‘I ADVOCATE FOR A GBV FREE WORKPLACE’. There were also banners from different SWABCHA members (companies in the private sector) speaking on the theme thus encouraging peace in the home, workplace, and to the world. The march as it approached the final destination went through the Manzini Bus rank still encouraging men to speak against gender based violence and the reporting of any form of abuse thus discouraging perpetrators from continuing with the abuse of both males and females. The march as earlier stated, was joined by the Deputy Prime Minister Paul Dlamini who as he marched encouraged men to take the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence serious. Black t-shirts with the message; ‘violence is not an option’, ‘I advocate for a GBV free workplace’, and ‘I value women and children’, were distributed before the start of the march to the participants.

When the marched reached its final destination which was in the centre of the city, Millennium Park, there were speeches from various parts of the Swazi economy including local government politicians. Entertainment was given by male artists, and song’s lyrics were all speaking to the effect that there should be no abuse in the homes and households. The speakers from the program director who is a national radio personality and journalist (Mr. SenzoMalaza) all spoke in one voice discouraging the act of violence against women and children by male workers. Speaker after speaker applauded the initiative as it was the first of its kind, targeting males to change their perceptions on gender-based violence issues. The speakers were quoted as follows: Deputy Mayor of the Manzini Municipality Mr. Khethokuhle Dlamini expressed gratitude to SWABCHA for sensitising men against gender-based violence and making men realise their own abuse. “Gender-based violence is of key interest to us and we have noticed that male abuse cases are now becoming common, but that should come to an end, in particular if men stand up against it.”He also commended males for participating in the event as the norm usually had more females participate in such initiatives. Speaking on behalf of the Men Engaged Network was Mr. SamoraMakama, who shared the importance of their organisation. “This is a coalition of non-governmental organisations that addresses men issues. This include issues of gender equality, abuse and health issues. We also tackle gender-based violence in a broad scope; it’s not just about males abusing women but it’s gender-based and looks at both genders,” He further stated that men were overlooked in issues relating to gender based violence yet they are also involved as either perpetrators or victims of it. He further highlighted that Swazi culture and principles of communication or dialogues, especially between couples were encouraged in times of difficulty within families as compared to abusing of the partner. Mr. Majahonkhe Dlamini, who represented the Manzini regional administrator, emphasised the importance of the gathering and how it would assist in eradicating gender based violence. He encouraged men to stop abusing women as they were more vulnerable and warned women from killing their own children. He also commended SWABCHA’s ‘Healthy worker, Healthy business’ tagline as a good initiative. Mr. SifisoNyembe speaking on behalf of SWABCHA’s governance board explained why SWABCHA, an organisation that is business oriented, had an interest in tackling gender based violence. He stated that SWABCHA was very much bothered by media reports which suggest that most cases of GBV happened at home and how such affects the life of the worker when he/she is not in the workplace. He said that for business to progress and contribute to the country’s economic growth-mental, physical, and financial life of the employees had to be well so as to ensure that business grows. He emphasized that SWABCHA now focused on the total wellness of the employees and employers, for which wellness included social, emotional, occupational, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, physical, and financial wellness. He stated that SWABCHA continues to strive in seeing healthy workers in making sure there business are productive and developing. Mr. Lassie VirimaiDombojena, an Industrial Psychologist and the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Transitions Mental Health and Psycho Wellness Organisation hit the nail on the head when he addressed giving a lecture on the Psychology of abuse, and further talking about the types of abuse men were subjected to at homes. The psychologist made it clear that having healthy families would curb a dysfunctional country and also the world at large. He firstly stated that men had to acknowledge that in most cases they were indeed violence perpetrators, but wanted to also address men as victims of violence and women as the perpetrators. “Men are abused in the hands of their spouses and by employers also at the workplace. Men are attacked physically, sexually and emotionally; we have to embrace the reality so we can correct it,” he said to an agreeing audience. Lassie also stated that whatever that constitutes of violence for women was the same for men hence the word GBV. Explaining the seriousness of men abuse, he said, “As men, we are told that we are weak, jobless and won’t amount to anything by our spouses and all that constitutes of abuse.” He further counted obsessive compulsive disorder by spouses as a form of abuse. “Overly obsessive spouses who page the phone, limit your moves and control wherever you go and threaten you by daring you, are all abuse,” he said to loud approval by the audience. “Refusal of conjugal rights or the part where the spouse comes with conditions before conjugal rights is another serious form of abuse.” He also shared that people had emotional banks and warned against it as

Through the support of the International Labour Organisation and Manzini City council the event had testing sites in which 114 men participated in the testing of Blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, HIV testing, and TB screening. Most of those who participated preferred going through all the test. Most of those services could not be completed as the event had few hours, and most men asked that such service be brought to their work station in which SWABCHA promised to do so. Information on men’s health services and condom usage for both males and females was given in the information stalls. The Municipal Council of Manzini, and the Municipal Council of Mbabane also showcased what they provide for their dwellers on counselling and health services. Gender Based violence in Swaziland can still be brought to be under control. Most men, picking up from the talks and conversations held during the march noted that there was a need for a change of mind set to most of them to be able to avoid being victims and perpetrators of violence and abuse. It was noted that for most men, the term gender was not clear what it meant as they continue to have an assumption that it’s a talk about women rather than it being an inclusive term. Engaging of men on this subject will and still proves to be a win-win situation for all in this endeavour of fighting gender based violence. Furthermore, mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS, wellness issues, and Gender issues was picked up as something that would assist most people especially workers to have a buy in on the subject matter of GBV.

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June 2013 - 5th Annual Peer Educators Day

Peer Educators MarchEach year SWABCHA celebrates Peer Educators Day with our Partners from different companies, through the Songa Umcebo Project, this year, we celebrated the 5th annual Peer Educators Day on the 14th June 2013. We had about 200 Peer Educators joining in the event. As a norm for the day and to further encourage the importance of health, the day started with a March from the Jubilee Park in Manzini to the Mavuso Trade Centre. The walk was led by the band of St Paul’s Primary School.

The day aims to thank all the Peer Educators for their invaluable support at their workplaces. The Guest speaker for the event was Dr. S. Zwane (Director of Health, MOH). He mainly thanked and motivated the Peer Educators for their work they do in their work place, he further mentioned that being a Peer Educator is a calling, not everyone can do it and succeed in it. He encouraged the Peer Educators to continue working with the employees and support their health needs, as this contributes to the work the Ministry of Health does each to try reduce the health risk of the Nation.

The event was made possible through the funding from the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Company participation was high at the event with Peer Educators motivating each other using their wellness experiences, and reciting Poems to further motivate each other. Companies present were: Giant Clothing, Inyatsi Construction, Swaziland Beverages, SAPPI, First National Bank, ILLOVO, Texray, Palfridge, Swazican, Afrox, Ngwane Mills, AG Thomas, Quazi Design, SBL, Imvelo Eswatini, Black Mamba, Imphumelelo Perway, Swaziland Poultry Processors, Swazi Candles, Swaziland Fair Trade, Goldern Hands, Umbuluzi Farm, Ngwenya Glass, VIP Security and Ingwe Foods.

We are grateful to Swazican for sponsoring the event with a van full of their company products, the support contributed in the wonderful turnout of the whole event.

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November 2012 - Three of the best awards (Best of the Best awards)

dec2012Most Innovative Wellness Program – RSSC The wellness program at RSSC is used to establish, maintain and improve an HIV and AIDS management system and other chronic diseases. To assist to eliminate /minimizes risk to employees and communities from HIV exposure. To increase conformance with RSSC HIV and AIDS management policy and addresses HIV and AIDS related impacts to the company, employees and immediate communities. The wellness strategies include the following; • Openness (acknowledgment) that HIV and AIDS exists • Support for RSSC HIV and AIDS management policy to address HIV and AIDS issues at the workplace for the betterment of productivity. • Moral and financial resource support • Promoting access to confidential HIV counseling and testing, treatment, care and support among employees, employee dependants and members of the community • Encourage employees to avoid infection through accidental blood contact. RSSC wellness initiatives include prevention through education and awareness, treatment, care and support, health screening, testing and counseling services as well as collaboration and networking. In the past year one outstanding initiative was the MD’s Couples dinner which targets both parties in sexual activity at the same time. This could increase actual behavior change, reduce gender based violence perpetrated by introduction of prevention methodologies by female counterparts and servers the gender communication barrier blamed on traditions and culture.

Star Performing CEO and Focal Person of the Year – Inyatsi Inyatsi Construction Limited is leading road Construction Company in Swaziland. Inyatsi was registered and started operating in 1982 and has for years been operating under the name Inyatsi Superfos. Today, Inyatsi Construction is wholly owned by 3 Swazi shareholders something that makes Inyatsi a 100 percent Swazi Company. An HIV and AIDS workplace program was initiated in 2003 and the wellness policy adopted the same year, but the program only became effective in 2004. Inyatsi realized the need of a workplace program as a result of the threats posed by HIV and AIDS to its workforce. The pandemic posed negative effects/ impact on productivity and profitability. The wellness policy has since been reviewed to be in line with the national wellness policy to be launched in April 2013. This policy will also have far reaching impact as it will be the group policy governing any other countries where the company operates including Zambia and Mozambique.

The success of the program is greatly attributed to the support and commitment of top management, as well as the other segments of work groups. Indeed, the process of creating awareness started with top management where the executive and senior management were educated about HIV and AIDS. The next step was voluntary counseling and testing, whereby all members of management took a public test and the Managing Director was first in line. It was a case of demonstrating that “Yindzaba yetfu sonkhe”. It was indeed a dreary yet worthy step taken by the Executive Committee. Inyatsi has for the past 5 years worked with Swaziland Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS (SWABCHA), who have assisted in designing, implementation of awareness programs including the drafting and adoption of the policy. Quarterly SWABCHA counselors would bring Voluntary Counseling and Testing services which are conducted at company premises. Following that, a substantial number of employees now boast of knowing their status. Pre and Post Counseling are always ensured. SWABCHA has also assisted by facilitating a peer educators training. For the peer educators program to be effective, management allocated them 1 hour a month to create awareness amongst fellow employees. Inyatsi recognizes the need to create awareness within communities and has successfully created awareness at Nhlangano and Siteki. The company also believes that treatment care and support are the vital elements of an effective response. Inyatsi Construction is a member of Swazimed and Swazicare medical aid schemes where the company contributes 100% towards the cost. Through these schemes employees have easy access to ART.

Best New Wellness Program in the Textile and Apparel Industry – Giant Clothing Giant Clothing one of the textile and apparel companies in Matsapha has been part of the Songa Umcebo project from the beginning. SWABCHA had already started working with the company before the project at a small scale but has made tremendous improvements and achieved a lot in the past financial year. It was the first to endorse a wellness policy and establish a Support group of PLHIV with an income generating project supported by the company management.

Since the beginning of the project, 13 peer educators have been trained, the focal person, Mr. Elliot Magongo participates actively in advocacy for the project within his company and motivating other textile companies. Last year, 2011, during the Private Sector Best of the Best Awards at the World AIDS Day Commemoration Dinner, Giant Clothing was awarded the Best Upcoming Workplace Response Program award. This year Giant Clothing won the best Wellness Program and the Focal person was runner-up for the Most Enthusiastic Program Manager among the Textile and Apparel Industries. The peer educators program has established a health committee which also conducts home visits in addition to dialogues at the workplace. The management has assisted the committee to start a revolving fund for affected employees; every employee contributes a certain amount monthly towards this fund.

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August 2012 - Peer Educators Day

The MarchWe celebrated our annual Peer Educators Day as part of the Songa Umcebo Project on the 17th of August, with over 250 Peer Educators joining in the event. The day started with a March through Matsapha led by St. Paul’s Primary Brass Band, to His Majesty’s Correctional Services Auditorium where the event was held. In its fourth year, the day aims to thank Peer Educators for their invaluable contribution to the private sector response, which undoubtedly results in healthier and more supportive workplaces.

Guest speakers at the event included Ms Lungile Fakudze of EGPAF running all through the latest developments in PMTCT, Ms. Gugu Mchunu of NTCP speaking of Tuberculosis infection control and Mr. Khanya Mabuza of NERCHA outlining the importance of reporting activities for a coordinated national response, and on the effectiveness of Peer Education Programs.

The event was made possible through funding from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

We are grateful to have been presented a cheque from SHEQ Consultancy for E2000 and one from SIPA for nearly E6000 on the day as contributions to allow us to continue facilitating Peer Education in the Private Sector.

Company participation was high at the event with Peer Educators performing skits on their wellness experiences. The following companies were present: Exams Council, Fashion International, Giant Clothing, ILO, Inyatsi, Juris Manufacturing, Kraft Foods, Ngwane Mills, Palfridge, PSHACC, Swazican, RSSC, SAPPI, SHEQ, SNHB, Spintex, SPTC, SWASA, Swaziland Breweries, Tambankulu, Texray, Ubombo Sugar and Unitrans.

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May 2012 - Seasonal Employee Outreach Project Launched

Mobile Wellness Clinic reaching employees of Tamboti EstateThis month we launched our Seasonal Employee HIV Outreach Project, reaching workers during their orientation period in the areas of Simunye, Mhlume, Tambankulu and Big Bend.

Seasonal cane cutters and fruit pickers are highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS for multiple reasons, including that the informal settlements they dwell in during the season lack health infrastructure and are known to be “hot spots” for risky behaviours.

Through combining prevention education, motivation and social behaviour change communication activities with HTC service provision, the project works to reduce the HIV/AIDS vulnerability of this most at risk population. By completion it is projected 800 employees will have been reached with Awareness Sessions covering HIV/AIDS, myths and misconceptions and the danger of embarking in Multiple Concurrent Partnerships. 800 employees will also have accessed HTC Services.

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March 2012 - Stakeholders Dialogue

Our Stakeholders and PartnersOn the 5th of March at Royal Villas, Ezulwini we assembled our Stakeholders and Partners for a dialogue to assess the Private Sector Response and the Workplace Wellness Services we provide. Over 20 Private Sector Executives attended with RSSC, Tambankulu, Nedbank, Central Bank, FNB and Inyatsi Construction among other businesses represented. Partner NGO’s Elizabeth Glazier Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and Swaziland Breast Cancer Network (SBCN) were also present.

The number of Workplace Wellness Programs being implemented in the sector was identified as a strength, in addition to the noticeable effect the programs are having in the workplace. Reduced rates of absenteeism, a decrease in the staff mortality rate and less stigma surrounding HIV and TB in the workplace, were reported by stakeholders as a result of Workplace Wellness Programming. A need for an increased number of Management Awareness Dialogues on the dynamics and benefits of Workplace Wellness Programming was brought to attention from the Dialogue. Attendees expressed how once there was management participation in the program, employees tended to follow and the uptake of services and hence effectiveness of the program increased. Management support was also thought to be vital to ensuring the program is adequately financed participants voiced.

Including the family and dependents of employees in Workplace Wellness Programming is an additional area in the Response that has much room for growth, the group decided. Ndumiso Sihlongonyane, SWABCHA M&E Officer who facilitated the dialogue stressed the importance of reaching the partner of an employee as it often fast tracks positive behavior change. The Introduction of Family Health Day’s into the program is one way to tackle this issue Sihlongonyane says, as the event allows the family unit to access information together, however he comments that this is only a start as including family members in programming should ideally mainstreamed through all activities.

Also discussed in the meeting was the experienced shift in Workplace Wellness Programming from a focus on HIV/AIDS to overall wellness. “TB, Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer and Stress, are other health issues now requiring much attention” said Alice Tembe, SWABCHA Programs Director. Ms Tembe goes on to say that SWABCHA is committed to ensuring its programming is current and speaks directly to the needs of employees however she urges Private Sector Wellness Program Focal People to keep the coalition up to date on requests from employees, or health trends they are witnessing as to make sure their programming remains comprehensive.

We intend to use the feedback and knowledge gained to steer the future strategic direction of the organisation and its operations and advocacy activities, as to strengthen the Private Sector Response.

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January 2012 - MaxART Project Partners

We are pleased to announce a partnership with the Southern Africa HIV & AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) on the implementation of their MaxART: Program (Towards Better Health & Zero New Infections).

The MaxART Program envisages that treatment is a form of HIV Prevention, with the project aim being to complement Government efforts to scale up community preparedness for rapid HIV Test and the National Treatment Program. SWABCHA will collaborate with SAfAIDS through to 2014 to reach groups in the Private Sector with HTC services and HIV/AIDS and ART Education through a Peer Educator Program.

Often the 24-49 year old working group is missed by community service operations; SAfAIDS has recognized this and ensured that their program reaches through to this high risk audience which is great news for the Private Sector.

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December 2011 - RSSC Win Big at Awards Ceremony

The RSSC team with their awardsThe Royal Swazi Sugar Corporation (RSSC) was awarded Best Program at our Best of the Best Awards Ceremony and World AIDS Day Commemoration Dinner on December 2nd at Royal Swazi Sun Convention Centre, while RSSC Managing Director Nick Jackson received the Star Performing CEO/MD Award.

For the Best Program category our Minimum Workplace Package Components were the Selection Criteria with nominee company Programs assessed on the efficiency and effectiveness of their: Workplace Policy; Focal Person; Peer Educator Program; Condom Distribution; and access to HTC & ART services.

During the selection process we found the RSSC program to be well planned, comprehensive and have a strong focus on reaching both the employee and community in which the organisation interacts. “While performing exceptionally well in all of the Minimum Package Components, the Peer Educator Program at RSSC is a standout” says Thobile Dlamini, SWABCHA CEO.

Where it is recommended at minimum there be 1 Peer Educator for 50 employees, RSSC boasts 400 Peer Educators for a staff complement of 6000, equalling 1 Peer Educator to 15 Employees. Not only is the ratio impressive, all Peer Educators are tracked and maintained, with reporting structures in place, refresher trainings conducted and group forums/such as the Annual Peer Educators Day facilitated which is excellent programming.

Nick Jackson, MD of RSSC was commended for the high visibility of his participation in Workplace Wellness Programming, such as being the Chairperson of the HIV/AIDS Tripartite Committee and attending and giving a motivational talk at the annual RSSC Peer Educators Day.

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November 2011 - IOM-SWABCHA HPSD Workshop

Participants at the workshopIn striving to achieve our strategic objective to improve workplace programs, late 2011 saw a partnership form between SWABCHA and the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) which aims to integrate IOM’s Health Promotion Service Delivery (HPSD) Model into all aspects of workplace wellness programming in the country.

The HPSD model works to strengthen Health Programs through capacity building, peer-led communication, evidence based planning, relevant partnerships and active local participation, while taking into account all contextual influences including barriers to social behaviour change.

As part of the project SWABCHA and IOM co-facilitated a workshop for 17 Private Sector HIV/AIDS Program Focal Persons in November to illustrate how the model can be used in different social contexts and industries, as well as in addressing different health challenges. Experience-sharing and active participation in developing programs for specific case studies gave participants insight into how the model can be adopted into their programming. A site visit to Swazican also allowed participants to observe the implementation of their Wellness Program, where practical ideas were then shared on how it could be strengthened using the HPSD model.

Since the workshop participants have been engaged in reviewing the SWABCHA Workplace Peer Education Manual to align with the HPSD Model. The resulting manual will focus on a wider range of health issues, and is expected to be finalised by the end of March 2012 following which, IOM sponsored trainings.

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October 2011 - Songa Umcebo Launch

Senator Mashwama launching the projectHonourable Senator J. Mashwama, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Trade launched our Songa Umcebo Project at Breakfast Ceremony held at the Royal Villas Ezulwini on the 7th of October 2011.

Dr. Derek von Wissell, Director of NERCHA opened the proceedings of the event remarking that Swaziland has made excellent progress in the fight against HIV, with OVC programming and a high knowledge level on HIV in the population, however much he believes still needs to be done on behavior change.

Gugulethu Malindzisa of the Swaziland Federation of Labour (SFL) gave an employees perspective on the need for such a project expressing how it will result in more workers being at work all of the time, thus ensuring that the country’s economy is strong. Going on to say she hopes the project will expand and result in the regulation of employee wellness programs in all companies.

Jay Hall from the Swaziland Textile and Apparel Association (STATA) also spoke, conveying how their industry was a labour intensive one and therefore the health of their workers was paramount. Mr Hall continued communicated that considering HI/AIDS is rife in Africa particularly Swaziland, it is naive to the think the threat that HIV/AIDS brings to the industry will pass with time.

Minister Mashwama then officially launched the program, saying she is optimistic through the project many lives would be saved and therefore endorses the name “Songa” meaning “Preserving” and “Umcebo” meaning “Treasure”.

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September 2011 - Swaziland International Trade Fair

Project Officer Letsiwe Seyama (right) presenting the raffle prizeWe exhibited at the Swaziland International Trade Fair held at Mavuso Trade Centre from August 26th to September 5th. Our presence at the fair allowed us to reach the private sector community with messages on why a workplace wellness policy is essential to business success, while enlightening on the steps one must take to create a program in the workplace or enhance an existing one.

To ensure we reached not only the business community with information, a raffle was held for all with shopping vouchers and SWABCHA merchandise as prizes. Entry into the raffle was validated with a correct answer to a question related to HIV, TB or SWABCHA.

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July 2011 - Sector Management Dialogue

Private Sector Management at the Dialogue“HIV/AIDS Workplace Programs are shifting from Training and Education Models to include Dialogue Sessions as to encourage the behavior change necessary to overcome the pandemic” Ms Alice Tembe, SWABCHA Program Director shared this sentiment at the Sector Management Dialogue we hosted on Thursday the 14th July, at Royal Villas Ezulwini Valley.

Attended by over 30 private executives from 21 businesses the event allowed for open discussion on the current strengths and shortfalls in the private sector response at an individual and company level.

Presentations from experts in the field aimed to inform attendees with knowledge and current practices that they can integrate into their workplace programming, with Mr. Khisimusi Sibandze from University Research Council speaking on TB and Soka Uncobe Representative Dr Russell Ray outlining the benefits of Male Circumcision.

The dialogue to follow was lively, with many successes and challenges shared, such as Ms Menzie Shongwe of Manzini City Council giving an account of how their workplace program allowed employees up to a seven day recovery period after undergoing the circumcision procedure which was not to be taken out of annual leave and from this a positive rate of employees undergoing the procedure was reported.

Following the success of this event we endeavor to host additional Management Dialogues in the near future as to ensure that the Private Sector Response remains, current, comprehensive and robust.

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May 2011 - Annual Peer Educators Day

Peer Educators enjoying the dayOn Friday the 15th of July we hosted our annual Peer Educators Day at the Mavuso Trade Centre. In its third year, the event is a celebration of the invaluable contribution of Peer Educators in Workplace Wellness Programming, which undoubtedly results in improved health and support systems for fellow employees. As well as a commemoration the event attended by just under two hundred peer educators, from twenty seven organizations, gave an opportunity for all to share their successes and hardships with fellow Peer Educators as to enhance and motivate the continuation of their great work.

Through guest speaker presentations such as Ms Alice Tembe Program Director of SWABCHA highlighting the relationship between Gender and HIV and Soka Uncobe Representative Dr Russell Ray outlining the benefits of Male Circumcision in HIV Prevention, attendees were given information to inform their future activities. Feedback was also obtained from Peer Educators at the day on what employees were talking about which will inform future SWABCHA programming.

Company participation was high at the event with Peer Educators from Swaziland National Housing Board, Inyatsi Construction, the Exams Council of Swaziland and Swaziland Water Services Corporation conveying information and performing skits on their program and individual experiences.

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