As a consequence of employment and the significant community relations fostered as a result of contracting out-growers, RVC's extensive social footprint includes programmes and facilities that impact the health and objective wellbeing of thousands of families.
A fundamental objective behind RVC's Wellness program has been the focus on preventative healthcare. Data to illustrate the impact of awareness initiatives within remote communities is not always possible to compile, however an independent analysis of the Northern Tobacco Wellness program in 2011 (by NEDICO consultants) illustrated that we were indeed improving the lives of many thousands of people. Given the success of these specific preventative initiatives, our intention is to extend the principle of
'prevention better than cure' to all RVC communities, especially Tea estates and Matanuska Bananas, in order to reduce absenteeism and the high cost of treatment through Wellness awareness principles.
Northern Tobacco's Wellness program continues to be RVC's flagship social project, impacting over 70,000 people in Zimbabwe with a focus on HIV/AIDS. This awardwinning initiative continues to combine with effective NGO's and all Government Health departments to deliver consistent impact.
It remains the case that our resource allocation and subsequent impact on health and wellbeing should be designed for maximum impact on employee, grower or community resilience. The holistic principles of good health and an understanding of what it takes to maintain it, combines with an individual's skills and workplace capacity to allow for optimum productivity - a cornerstone for continued socio-economic success in the region.
HIV/ AIDS awareness and prevention activation in Guruve
In 2008, Northern Tobacco (NT) launched its HIV and AIDS programme. At the same time, Sara Saidi was in desperate need of medical assistance. After attending the launch of NT's initiative and accessing the Voluntary Counselling and Testing services, one of Sara's friends went to visit her and helped ferry her to Camsasa Clinic to be tested. Upon being tested she was found to be living positively and had a critical CD4 reading of 29. With assistance from her friend and children she agreed to commence treatment immediately and was admitted as an in-patient at the clinic for four months until she was able to walk and help herself.
Today, Sara is NT Wellness poster girl. Not only is she the lead peer educator in Guruve, she is now a renowned motivational speaker, sharing her testimonial with the public at local gatherings and at conferences. Sara also attended an awards ceremony hosted by USAID as a beneficiary of the NT program. At this ceremony NT received the Auxillia Chimsoro award for outstanding work in HIV/AIDS.
ADOLESCENT OUTREACH PROGRAMME
As part of its ongoing efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS Northern Tobacco ran an outreach campaign in 2015 for adolescents in the Guruve area.
Lifeskills through music – Adolescents Program Guruve
This program is designed for adolescents and guided by adolescents. The program was developed after we learnt the following lessons through outreach awareness within communities where our Wellness campaigns operate:
• Adolescents are not aware of their HIV status
• Adolescents are subjected to abuse physically, psychologically and socially
• Adolescents are not aware of their sexual rights and responsibility
• Adolescents are subjected to role confusion and identity
• High increase in school drop outs due to teenage pregnancy (47%) and substance abuse
• Lack of dissemination of information from adults to adolescents pertaining to sexual behaviour and HIV results of their children
• Adolescents practising illegal abortions due to lack of access to family planning services Since its implementation in February 2015, through peer education training of students, teachers and parents, outreach testing, quiz competitions, research competitions, community sensitization discussions and creation of “youth zones“ at our partner clinics, we have successfully managed to accomplish the following:
• To empower adolescents with enough knowledge
• To allow for behaviour change
• To promote survival skills
• To promote increase in HIV testing amongst adolescents
• To reduce teenage pregnancies and school drop outs
• To promote economic growth
• To make schools a safer place
Guruve adolescents programme – best
drama group Teen Day November 2015