The private sector contribution to the national AIDS responses is not always well documented, especially as regards in-kind contributions. Most examples of public-private partnerships involve large companies and substantial amounts of funding dedicated to projects outside the workplace. These capture only part of what business does and often overlook the contribution of small and medium enterprises to HIV workplace policies and programmes.
The International Labour Organization SHARE Programme (Strategic HIV and AIDS Responses in Enterprises) worked with about 700 enterprises in 24 countries and helped them to:
- appoint and support an HIV and AIDS focal point;
- set up a HIV and AIDS workplace committee;
- develop and implement an HIV and AIDS policy and programme; and
- allow peer educators to conduct education during working hours.
SHARE built capacity in enterprises by training the focal point, the committee and the peer educators. Technical support was provided for the development of the policy and programme, including a limited number of tailor-made communication materials.
The activities took up employees’ working time and used enterprise facilities such as conference rooms and resource materials. These inputs are not easy to quantify and SHARE developed a questionnaire for a selection of partner enterprises to capture their contributions.
Preliminary findings show that in most cases the in-kind and financial contributions made by partner enterprises equal the funding required to ensure capacity building and provide technical assistance. What is more, the buy-in by the enterprise reduces dependence on outside funding and helps ensure sustainability.
The questionnaire and survey findings will be disseminated as a tool to support enterprises to document their contribution to the AIDS response as a basis for advocacy, resource mobilization and improved planning.