Objective: HIV/AIDS is one of the key sustainable priorities of SABMiller worldwide. Contributing to the reduction of HIV/AIDS is important for SABMiller's operations across countries/regions where it is an emerging epidemic. SABMiller India recognizes the relevance of imparting education among their workforce, supply chain (truckers) as well as having an impact on the economic development and stability of the communities in which they operate.
India Story: India is experiencing a period of high economic growth and rapid social and demographic change. There is increasing concern about the manner in which this transformation may be impacted by HIV/AIDS epidemic. The government of India has taken significant measures to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS
but there is still much that can be done. The private sector, alongside other stakeholders, can play an important part not only by contributing to the efforts for HIV/AIDS prevention and the reduction of Stigma and discrimination, but also care, support and treatment of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA).
HIV/AIDS truckers' programme 'HUMSAFAR'
About the initiative: In 2007, SABMiller India launched an innovative HIV/AIDS truckers' programme 'HUMSAFAR' to spread awareness & educate truckers about HIV/AIDS. 'Humsafar' was first launched at one of SABMiller India's biggest breweries 'Rochees Breweries' (RBL) in Rajasthan in partnership with Humana People To People, a Rajasthan-based NGO and Rajasthan State Aids Control Society. It was later extended to other locations – SICA Breweries in Pondicherry; Mysore Breweries in Karnataka;
Charminar Breweries in Andhra Pradesh and more recently to Haryana Breweries in Sonipat.
As part of the project, interventions are carried out at the breweries and at other locations where truck drivers halt frequently for sufficient duration, for instance food joints along the highway. Since literacy rates amongst truckers are low,
mass media tools such as movies, videos, games etc. are widely used to effectively take the message to truckers. The programme also has a very strong referral component where the target populations are encouraged to avail of the free counselling and testing services made available by the government and local NGOs at the nearby ICTC (Integrated counseling and testing centre).
These interventions are conducted by local partner NGOs (Humana in Rajasthan and Haryana; SONIC in Puducherry; Bhoruka Charitable Trust in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) and supported by State AIDS Control Societies and SABMiller India HIV/AIDs master trainers. To ensure optimum and effective outreach of the messages, peer creation from within the target groups is given special emphasis. In the truckers programme, special emphasis is laid on promoting correct usage of condoms with an ensured on-site availability through condom vending machines.
- The programme has been able to create mass awareness through various outreach activities in its breweries in high prevalence states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Pondicherry, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
- The programme so far has reached over 76,192 truckers reached through one-on-one and group discussions, referred 12,054 truckers to civil hospitals and nearby Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres, reached 17,140 truckers through
mass media tools such as street plays, films etc. and distributed 2,33,664 condoms through social marketing.
Challenges faced: The issues around HIV /AIDS continue to be taboo; In India there are still huge barriers in terms of talking about sexual behavior and practices especially to colleagues and in front of fellow workers. The fear of testing still persists. Finally while awareness levels go up behaviour change and acceptance do not come simultaneously.
Recognition: SABMiller India has been recognized by the ILO as a corporate partner that has made valuable contributions to the National AIDS Control Programme. The company has also received endorsements from the local governments appreciating and recognizing the company's efforts.