Like any other business enterprise in Africa, the development of the cooperative movement has been seriously affected by the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. HIV and AIDS have caused huge loss of income for members and reduced membership, loss of working hours, loss of knowledgeable and skilled staff, reduced productivity and raised the cost of living. Generally the epidemic is negatively impacting the capacity of cooperatives in Africa to be economically and socially effective organizations.
To mitigate and minimize the impact of HIV and AIDS in the cooperative movement in Africa, ILO under the CoopAFRICA programme is implementing a project that mobilizes cooperatives and CBOs to address HIV and AIDS at their work places. The project aims to improve the living conditions and status of women and men infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS who work in the sectors of the informal economy. The project strengthens the capacity of cooperatives to play both roles, as a channel for HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives, and as a tool for impact mitigation.
The project has had tremendous success in Tanzania for its work at all levels of cooperative organizations, both primary cooperative societies and cooperative umbrella organizations (Unions and Federations). In Tanzania the project has collaborated with the Tanzania Federation of Cooperatives (TFC) to carry out educational and Voluntary Counselling and Testing campaign during the long Cooperative Week, organized by TFC towards the celebration of International Cooperative Day (ICD) in Mtwara region, south of Tanzania’s mainland.
About 414 people at the grounds and in the surrounding communities went through counseling and testing for HIV. Among the 414 people who visited the VCT at the ground 16 (3.8%) tested HIV positive where women counted 10 (6.2%) and 6 (2%) were men). Those who tested positive were given post-testing counselling and necessary support for the CD4 testing and other information deemed important for the new HIV/AIDS cases. Brochures and other HIV/STI/TB educational materials were distributed at the VCT tents, emphasizing the importance of referring STI/HIV positive persons to clinics/hospitals for follow-up and staging.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037