Capacity Building of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) for Workplace Advocacy - Experiences from India

Article | 01 August 2008


India – August 2008

Issues

The involvement of PLHIV in the response to the epidemic is imperative. Several organizations train them as positive speakers. However, efforts to build their capacity for sector specific advocacy are limited. International Labour Organization (ILO) has taken the lead in doing so for workplace advocacy in India.

Description

The ILO partnered with the Indian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+), and built their capacity for workplace advocacy based on two principles:

  • A person should be allowed to work/earn a living as long as he/she is fit to work; and
  • The right to work is as important as right to treatment for PLHIV

The ILO designed the training curriculum and developed materials involving PLHIV, and conducted three-day training programmes. The training included: an overview of the concept of workplace advocacy, the development of messages for specific audiences, video recording and discussions on mock advocacy sessions, and practical advocacy sessions with employers, trade unions and government officials in the Ministry of Labour.

A total of 120 PLHIV (40 women & 80 men) were trained in 2006-2007. After training, PLHIV were involved in consultations for the development of workplace policy and programmes.

Lessons Learned

Audience specific messages made an impact. “If you take away my job, you will kill us faster than the virus”, moved audiences. Messages like “We can work just like anyone else”, backed by personal examples convinced employers that PLHIV won’t be a burden to the company. Stakeholders included principles of non-discrimination and continued employment of PLHIV in their workplace polices.

PLHIV engagement helped in the development of joint statements of commitments on HIV/AIDS by the Indian employers (signed by seven employers’ organizations) and trade unions (signed by five central trade unions).

Next Steps

Scaling up training for PLHIV for their continued engagement in workplace advocacy at national and state levels.

A. Syed Mohammed, ILO, HIV and AIDS Senior Technical Officer, ILO, afsar@ilo.org

More about the Indian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+): http://www.inpplus.net/