Business is playing an increasingly important role in the fight against HIV/Aids in South Africa.The SA Business Coalition on HIV/Aids (Sabcoha) lobbies and partners with the government, spearheads research and pilots best practice in Aids workplace programmes, and empowers companies to respond effectively to the epidemic.With a membership base of over 40 corporates, around 10 large companies and more than 50 small companies and service providers, Sabcoha responds to the needs of South African business in its responses to the epidemic.Aids and the bottom lineHIV/Aids has a significant impact on business, not only causing costs to escalate and markets to contract, but also damaging the societal wellbeing essential for a healthy economy.While many would argue that business has a moral responsibility to help tackle the worst health crisis the world has seen since the Black Plague, there is also the matter of the bottom line.For anyone doing business in South Africa, 10-40% of the workforce is likely to be infected with HIV. But the impact and potential impact of HIV/Aids varies greatly from one company to the next. Labour and capital-intensive industries, as well as those with high labour mobility, are most affected.Research shows that if companies invest in prevention and treatment programmes, the savings outweigh the costs. Providing care and treatment for HIV-positive employees can reduce the financial burden of HIV/Aids by as much as 40%.In South Africa the mining, metals processing, agribusiness and transport sectors are most affected by the pandemic, with more than 23% of employees infected with HIV/Aids. Prevalence rates are also higher among skilled and unskilled workers than among supervisors and managers.SA companies lead the wayMany companies in the sectors most affected – mining, transport, energy and manufacturing – have for obvious reasons become the most proactive in tackling the problem. As a result they have become world leaders in their responses to HIV/Aids in the workplace.“Some of the most comprehensive and successful HIV workplace programmes are being developed in the [South African] private sector,” says Sabcoha CEO Brad Mears. “These can be used as a blueprint by those countries which have yet to feel the impact of the disease.”SAB, Anglo American and Volkswagen are among those companies that have developed world-class programmes now being used elsewhere.Sabcoha showcases many of these workplace programmes as best practice examples for other companies to emulate or learn from on its website. The organisation also offers a toolkit that gives step-by-step guidance on how to tailor-make a programme to suit the needs and budgets of individual companies. Sabcoha: Case studiesSabcoha: Toolkits Broader health and wellness servicesDue to ongoing stigma around Aids and the demand for other health services, many companies now offer broader health and wellness services rather than narrowly defined HIV/Aids programmes.“What is encouraging to see is not only the growing strength of workplace programmes, but – due to the fact that HIV is both in the workplace and the broader community – employers are increasingly embarking on community-wide initiatives,” says Mears.However, “there are also industries that are poorly resourced and unable to respond meaningfully without the support of government – these are the informal sector, the SMME and textile sector.”In partnership with Sabcoha, big players such as Eskom and Volkswagen, are piloting “supply chain” workplace programmes, offering services such as voluntary testing and counselling, provision of antiretrovirals and broader health and wellness services to employees in their small, less well-resourced supplier companies. Sabcoha: Supply chain projects Aids risk survival guideSabcoha also offers BizAIDS, a “risk survival guide” for very small businesses. A toolkit of practical action plans and guidelines, BizAIDS helps very small business owners prepare for HIV/Aids and related emergencies. A partnership with the International Executive Services Council, a US-based non-profit organisation, BizAIDS trains hundreds of small business entrepreneurs every year. BizAIDS Organised business is playing a pivotal role in the SA National Aids Council (Sanac), a high-level organisation made up of government, business, labour and civil sector representatives.Sanac has developed a national strategic plan to curb the impact of HIV/Aids in the country. Targets of the plan include halving the rate of new infections and getting treatment to 80% of those who need it by 2011.Business, government partnershipsAs well as lobbying government to respond effectively to the HIV crisis, the business sector is also perfectly positioned to partner government in its many HIV/Aids-related endeavours. “In the corporate sector there is considerable capacity, infrastructure and technical skill that business is able to share with government and other sectors regarding HIV/Aids programmes and activities,” says Mears.“There is also a great deal of capacity to complement what government is already doing, especially in the area of systems and data management, sharing of expertise and increasing capacity – particularly in the areas of medical aids and general practitioners.”Some industries, such as the road freight industry and the contract cleaning industry, are ideally positioned to support and extend the government’s activities. One of Sabcoha’s partnership programmes with the government, Project Promote, sees contract cleaners distributing millions of government-supplied condoms to public toilets around the country. Project Promote SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Scientists are racing to preserve Madagascar’s trove of unique flora and fauna as deforestation threatens the African island’s diverse plant and animal wealth. And these riches keep growing as researches discover more and more endemic species in its rainforests. Extinction of Madagascar’s lemurs would cause a ‘extinction cascade’ event scientists warn. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew)Sulaiman PhilipEcological researchers continue to discover new plant and animal species in Madagascar’s forests. In the last 15 years they have discovered 600 new species. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, 385 plants, 42 invertebrates, 17 fish, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles and 41 mammals have been discovered on Madagascar.These species are found nowhere else on Earth and now they are under threat as farmers clear-cut the forests to make way for agriculture – or to sell the timber. In a country where most live on less than a dollar a day, the country’s biodiversity comes second to the need to earn a living and feed your family.Saving the island nation’s plant kingdom has become the enterprise of a team of botanists from the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, England. The team, led by Solofo Eric Rakotoarisoa, trek into the forests, clamber up limestone cliffs and cross submerged roads to collect seeds to be stored in the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens. Seeds harvested in Madagascar are flown to the temperature controlled seed bank in Kew, England. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew) The project is a race against extinction. Once the seeds are collected, they are sorted and labelled, and then flown to the UK for safeguarding. In the freezer botanists have already stored 1 800 seeds from Madagascar’s 13 000 plant species.Since 2009, poverty, logging, mining and climate change have speeded up deforestation as the nation became poorer after former president Marc Ravalomanana was deposed and donor funding was suspended. Since the 1950s tavy, a slash and burn technique that clears forests for farming, charcoal production, and illegal logging, has led to four-fifths of the island’s forests being cleared.Rakotoarisoa has sounded the alarm. “It’s getting to the point where it’s really obvious the forests are disappearing. It’s getting worse and worse [the slash and burn clearances]; the poverty in Madagascar is increasing.”The aim of the Kew Gardens botanists is to create a storehouse of seeds that can be used to replace extinct plants. To head off that Armageddon, Madagascar’s population will need to understand the value of protecting the island’s biodiversity.As Mark Wright, a conservation adviser at WWF-UK, points out: “If they have no practical way of making a living, of course they are going to turn to the natural resources sector and see what they can get from that, and who wouldn’t do it?”Discoveries like the new species of wild coffee plant can be cultivated as a cash crop. Coffee, the most traded commodity after oil, would require protection of the remaining habitats while allowing families to earn a living.Love lemurs? Go see them nowKing Julien: “Don’t be alarmed, giant freaks! While you were asleep, we simply took you to our little corner of heaven. Welcome to Madagascar.” ‘Lemur’ means ghost in Latin, with wide-eyed, eerie stares and night time activity, it is easy to see how these spectre-like figures of Madagascar’s forests got their name. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew) Unlike the lemurs in the movie, Madagascar’s long-tailed primates are in danger of losing their habitat and becoming extinct. The suspension of donor funding after the 2009 coup has sped up the destruction of the country’s forests and the habitats of the fabled wildlife.After the coup, donors and lending agencies suspended or ended all non-humanitarian aid. Madagascar’s national park system received 80% of its budget from donors, and these sanctions devastated their ability to protect the island’s wildlife and plant life.Or, as lemur expert and president of Conservation International Russell A Mittermaier explained: “Madagascar’s real brand, the real competitive advantage, is this unique biodiversity. By cutting the funding, we’re not just hurting Madagascar, we’re hurting the world as a whole.”Lemurs represent Brand Madagascar. They offer the promise of observing rare species in their natural habitat, and experience in Africa – Rwanda and Uganda’s mountain gorilla programmes – show that eco-tourists are prepared to pay a premium for the privilege.Extinction of the lemur population would lead to what primatologist Christoph Schwitzer refers to as an extinction cascade. “Lemurs have important ecological and economic roles, and are essential to maintaining Madagascar’s unique forests through seed dispersal and attracting income through ecotourism.”Co-ordinated conservation is the best solution for Madagascar going forward Schwitzer believes. This would involve engagement with local communities, eco-tourism and long term-field research.Madagascar’s Maromizaha Forest is a model for the preservation of the island’s eco-system. Members of the local community have been trained to be guides for tourists eager to see one of the 13 species of lemur that make the forest home.Researchers have gone into local schools to teach children about the unique environment around them. And they have brought new, less destructive, methods of agriculture to local farmers. In the four years to 2011, the number of visitors to the Maromizaha Forest went from 200 to close to 3 000.The increase in visitors brings with it risks. Schwitzer says: “There’s always a trade-off between the destruction caused by too many tourists and the money they bring to the country that can be used for wildlife conservation. This balance for Madagascar is still very positive for conservation and it’s a long way until it may tip over.” Scientist predict 60% of 57 species unique to Madagascar are likely to find suitable habitat reduced by an average of 59.6% over the next 70 years, entirely due to climate change. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew)Madagascar, the paradise on EarthOne hundred and sixty million years ago, or thereabouts, Madagascar broke off from continental Africa. Over time the island nation has developed a distinct natural eco-system. Today 95% of its reptiles, 89% of its plant life and 92% of its mammal population exist nowhere else. This diversity has ecologists referring to Madagascar as the eighth continent.This unique menagerie includes more than 700 species of reptiles and amphibians. In Madagascar’s threatened rain forests visitors can find neon green geckos and tiny tree frogs that secrete toxins through their skin. Half of the world’s chameleon varieties have evolved on this speck – Madagascar is less than 0.5% of the Earth’s landmass, in the middle of the Indian Ocean.Mark Wright explained in a 2011 report: “It is a very odd island. In terms of its geography, it helps speciation. There’s a mountain ridge down the middle, so on the east of the island you’ve got rainforest, but everything on the west is a rain shadow. So you get an enormous variety of environments from the very wet to the very dry. It’s a fantastic range of environments into which species can adapt.”
Arrived slightly squashed in packaging but bounced back fine. Arrived slightly squashed in packaging but bounced back fine. It fits nicely and feels great on. This is made really well, it fits nicely and feels great on. Nice but the headband is thicker than in the pic but for the price can’t moan. Colour i needed and just the right size really pleased with my purchase. Got this for a wedding in august exactly the colour i needed and just the right size really pleased with my purchase. It was nice but more on whiter colour than cream. Lovely was delighted with it thanks. Lovely was delighted with it thanks. Colour i needed and just the right size really pleased with my purchase. Got this for a wedding in august exactly the colour i needed and just the right size really pleased with my purchase. It was nice but more on whiter colour than cream. The headband/fascinator is of decent quality and more than reflects the price paid. The headband/fascinator is of decent quality and more than reflects the price paid. Beautiful piece fast delivery. Not a hat person so was looking for something not. Not a hat person so was looking for something not expensive but looked ok and not to big this did the trick for the wedding i was attending. Good quality and excellent value for money. Good quality and excellent value for money. A very nice and fast service and well worth the money looks. A very nice and fast service and well worth the money looks great. SummaryReviewer Nathalie DuboisReview Date2018-02-18 13:29:08Reviewed Item Ivory cream and off white silk flower and feather hair fascinator mounted on a bandRating 5.0 / 5 stars, based on 57 reviewsPrice£2.94 It looked really nice with my outfit and was comfortable to wear. Very impressed with the quality of this fascinator just what i was looking for, it looked really nice with my outfit and was comfortable to wear. Excellent value for the money. It looked really nice with my outfit and was comfortable to wear. Very impressed with the quality of this fascinator just what i was looking for, it looked really nice with my outfit and was comfortable to wear. Excellent value for the money. Really pleased with the product. A very nice and fast service and well worth the money looks. A very nice and fast service and well worth the money looks great. Not a hat person so was looking for something not it looked really nice with my outfit and was comfortable to wearIt fits nicely and feels great onIvory cream and off white silk flower and feather hair fascinator mounted on a bandIvory cream and white fascinator headbandSilk Flower and featherMounted on an elegant band in professional finishElegant style for Special Events
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The 115th episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, includes host Matt Reese and Kolt Buchenroth. On today’s episode, the podcast is at the Ohio State Fair and we have a special guest. Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Cathann A. Kress stopped by to talk about the Dean’s Charity Steer Show. Dale and Joel got interviews from the Grand and Reserve Champion of the market lamb show, Paige Pence and Grant Johnson. Matt also speaks with Brooke Beam about the Germinate International Film Fest in Highland County. Finally, Joel gets a chance to talk with the Superintendent of the sheep barn at the Ohio State Fair, Tim Barnes.