Mainstreaming into Capital Projects

The government is committed to large-scale infrastructure projects as part of its plans to improve socio-economic growth for the country. It also recognises that without careful planning, such projects can fuel the HIV epidemic. National infrastructure projects such as the Link Zambia 8,000; construction of 2,000 kilometres of township roads using labour intensive paving blocks and cobblestone technology in Lusaka; and other infrastructure development projects both in the public and private sector are contributing to unprecedented labour migration around the country. Whilst they provide economic opportunities for migrants and businesses and improve communication and movement of goods and people, they can also increase risk of exposure to HIV through unprotected sex thus fuelling the spread of HIV and AIDS and can substantially alter the pattern of prevalence if not well mitigated (JMTR, 2013). 

Transportation of goods of which about 80% is done by road, also contributes to frequent movement of people especially truck drivers (Transport TWG, 2014). Consequently HIV and AIDS is concentrated along the line of rail, major truck routes, border towns, construction camp sites and transit towns such as Chirundu, Livingstone, Kapiri Mposhi, Chipata and Nakonde. There has also been an influx of migrant workers in Solwezi, the provincial capital of North-western Province.   Until 2001, Solwezi was an isolated and sparsely populated town but has since witnessed the influx of migrant workers from within Zambia, the region and oversees, leading to rapid population increase against limited social services such as housing and other amenities (IOM, 2010). The Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (MTWSC) is implementing a number of HIV and AIDS interventions to address adverse effect on mobile populations in the transport and construction sector. 

HIV& AIDS activities are being coordinated by the Technical Working Group which consists of National Drivers Association, Truck Drivers of Zambia, Cross-Border Traders Association, ILO, NAC and other stakeholders. The major challenge the Ministry is facing is lack of coordination between the construction and the transport sector and that the HIV and AIDS programmes consist of the traditional activities of prevention such as condom distribution and HTC. The impact of these activities has not yet been assessed (MTWSC internal report, 2013). 

The R-NASF will seek to implement a two-pronged strategy to address the potential adverse effects of mobile populations involved in large infrastructure development projects and truck drivers. These interventions will also take into account the local populations such as women and girls who may engage in risky activities exchanging sex for material gain. Interventions will be implemented in order to reduce HIV risks especially for vulnerable populations such as women, girls and boys. R-NASF proposes the development and strengthening of strategic partnerships between relevant institutions in order to mitigate health, social and developmental impacts associated with large scale infrastructure development projects.

Using the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes, the Zambian Government provides 5-8% of the project funds for all road and large capital projects towards environmental impact assessments, mitigation for HIV and gender mainstreaming. Examples of such projects include: the Link Zambia 8000 Roads Development Project, the Pave Zambia 2000 and township roads, built through the Local Government and the Constituency Development Funds. The rural electrification projects under the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), the mines and other businesses in the private sector also provide similar funds for HIV and AIDS services for their workers and the surrounding communities in their project areas. Part of these funds go towards providing services for contract workers on these projects (internal mainstreaming) and other towards financing the overall AIDS response in communities in the surrounding areas of the project vicinity. These services include health education and promotion, demand creation of all high-impact programmes and response coordination and management.