Cause Profile

What is Hlokomela?

Hlokomela is an award winning HIV and AIDS educational and treatment programme targeting workers and communities in the Kruger to Canyons Area, Limpopo & Mpumalanga Provinces.  The programme aims to reduce the HIV vulnerability through peer education, awareness raising, prevention and treatment.  The project has been running successfully for the past 6 years and is currently rolled out on 70 sub project sites. An estimated 12 000 people are reached through the activities of the programme.

Hlokomela’s key governmental and international partners include, Right to Care, the Republic of South Africa Department of Health, the Limpopo Department of Health, the South African Police Service, the European Union, The Global Fund and Maruleng Municipality.

Where does Hlokomela work?

Hlokomela’s anchor geographical focus is the Hoedspruit and surrounding communities in the Mopani District of Maruleng Municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The Mopani District, adjacent to Kruger National Park, is predominantly a fruit and game farming area with a large population of seasonal and migrant workers.

How serious is the local HIV epidemic?

Research conducted in January 2008 on 10 farms in the Hoedspruit found that there is a serious HIV epidemic in the area and that workers are highly vulnerable to HIV infection. Researchers found that 29% of workers in the community are infected with HIV, a rate of HIV prevalence that is considerably higher than that for the general population of Limpopo Province. The study found that young farm workers and farm workers, especially unmarried women, young women, women who live away from the farms on which they work, are especially vulnerable to HIV infection. Moreover, 60% of all employees and 53% of HIV positive employees do not know their HIV status, while a high proportion of employees report never using a condom. This research builds on earlier studies that also revealed alarming levels of unsafe sexual behaviour among farm workers.

What does Hlokomela do?

Hlokomela seeks to contribute to the reduction of HIV prevalence and the impact of AIDS among farm workers and their families in part by:

·         Working with farm management to assist in developing a healthier work environment, and to develop and implement workplace HIV and AIDS policies and programmes;

·         Providing peer education;

·         Providing Primary Health Care by training and mentoring workers as caregivers (Nompilos);

·         Sensitizing, training, and mentoring male role models with the aim of addressing issues such as Gender Based Violence, transactional sex, and poor health-seeking behaviour in men;

·         Developing and implementing an integrated Social Change Communication programme, such as billboards and pamphlets and other materials, to promote behaviour changes to reduce high-risk behaviour;

·         Organizing and implementing recreational programmes to increase social participation and improve the quality of workers’ and their families’ lives;

·         Establishing and running wellness clinics to provide information, condoms, and health care services and referrals, including VCT and ART, to workers and their families;

·         Improving the nutrition of sick workers by providing them with food donated by farmers; and

Growing and selling herbs and running a charity second hand clothing shop for income generation.
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