Olam Commits US$240,000 To HIV/AIDS Initiatives In Its Sixth Year Of Support For World AIDS Day
Investment will support short and long-term programmes to improve awareness, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS across Africa
As part of the UN’s 2016 goal of ‘Getting to Zero’, global agri-business Olam International is harnessing its supply chain networks in support of World AIDS Day initiatives to increase vital education and healthcare among communities in rural Africa.
Olam has committed to invest US$240,000 in HIV/AIDS and other health related initiatives this year, comprising US$93,000 for activities on World AIDS Day on December 1, 2013 and US$147,000 for longer-term programmes. The investment will support 14 World AIDS Day initiatives in eight countries and reach over 163,000 people, including 108,000 through World AIDS Day events and a further 55,000 through longer-term programmes.
Chris Brett, Head of Sustainability at Olam International commented: “In order to achieve the goal of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, we have a shared responsibility with partners and governments to channel resources to eliminate this disease. Olam’s broad African footprint and well-established networks in rural areas mean that we can play our part in this journey, helping to improve the health of our employees, farmer suppliers and communities, which in turn helps to future-proof our business.”
With sourcing and processing operations in 25 African countries, Olam works with nearly three million smallholders, including cocoa, coffee, cashew, cotton and sesame farmers. This year Olam has also established AIDS initiatives in the company-managed plantations where a growing number of workers are being employed, often in remote locations. For the sixth consecutive year, Olam is leveraging its extensive networks and partnership collaborations with GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and EngenderHealth to disseminate sexual health information, voluntary testing and counselling for communities, as well as providing training for healthcare professionals to help reduce new HIV infections, improve treatment and combat discrimination. On World AIDS Day 2013, events will be held in Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Congo, Ghana, Gabon and Cameroon.
World AIDS Day events 2013, Côte d’Ivoire
One such example of events marking World AIDS Day is the two-day HIV awareness raising, voluntary testing and counselling in Olam’s cashew factory and satellite processing units in Bouaké and Dimbokro, Côte d’Ivoire. Activities include movie screenings, presentations by doctors from the government hospital, distribution of condoms and leaflets on HIV to Olam workers and local communities, and specially developed quizzes held in five local schools to educate and raise awareness among children.
HIV/AIDS long-term prevention and training, Republic of Congo
In addition to events on World AIDS Day, Olam works on longer-term initiatives in Africa. For example, in the Republic of Congo, Olam supports the network of community health workers who are equipped with skills and knowledge to motivate behaviour change and educate communities about sexual health and family planning.
Furthermore, medical professionals are trained in laboratory analysis, prescribing antiretroviral drugs and supporting patients with HIV and Olam’s networks also enable the procurement and distribution of antiretroviral drugs and related materials in outlying states where there are currently major supply issues. This is underpinned by a preventative programme, which includes supplying workers with condoms and delivering HIV/AIDS sensitisation messages through engaging relevant community channels, such as peer educators, television, radio, community theatre and community centres.
Olam is committed to long-term HIV and healthcare initiatives to support employees and local communities