14 oktober 2006
Dutch private sector on an AIDS-trip to Kenya
These companies have joined forces in what is called The Big Enterprise, a network that donates both funds and expertise for AIDS-projects in developing countries. Annemiek Louwers, interim-manager by profession, and board member of The Big Enterprise, will accompany Sjoera Dikkers on her visit to AIDS-projects for youth and women in Kenya.
Sjoera Dikkers: "It is important for the private sector to get a better idea of what development cooperation in the field of AIDS really consists of. It is much more than just service delivery, handing out pills or condoms. To fight AIDS you need awareness programs, you need an insight in the cultural aspects involved, and you need emancipation, especially of women, who presently are the majority of the victims."
STOP AIDS NOW!, a partnership of five Dutch AIDS organisations and development organisations, highly values the participation of the private sector in the combat against the global epidemic. Sjoera Dikkers: "There are companies that have a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS, and pay for medical treatment and counselling for employees and their relatives. This is something all companies should do. But companies can also put the topic on the agenda when meeting with government officials. They could make advocacy their business, and not only the business of NGOs."
Why choosing Kenya to confront the private sector with the daily practice of the fight against AIDS? Sjoera Dikkers: "Because it is a country where the AIDS-epidemic is raging, and the problem of stigma is huge. Also, we can show some really good programmes, aiming at improving the position of women, helping them to enforce the use of condoms and to diminish the risk of rape."
After the trip to Kenya, Annemiek Louwers will share her insights with the sixty companies of The Big Enterprise. Sjoera Dikkers: "We hope this way the private sector will have a better understanding of what combating AIDS is all about for development organisations."
P+ Webtip: Stop Aids Now!