Employee Health & Wellbeing
Life changing programs making a real difference to employees, their families and communities.
The Rift Valley Group currently functions in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and employs over 10,000 people. Additionally, its’ contract farming and agricultural trading activities directly engage over 4000 farmers. Based on an average household of six family members, Rift Valley’s developmental impact in the region is substantial, influencing the prosperity, health and edification of over 200,000 people.
Our Employee Wellness Programmes (EWP), which address HIV and AIDS and other health conditions, are an integrated approach. We have an award winning Wellness campaign in Zimbabwe, which impacts over 40,000 people; employees, their families and outgrower farming communities in the Nyazura and Guruve areas of the country. Upon recognition of the relationship between employee well-being and day to day productivity at different levels of work, Rift Valley decided on the idea of developing a comprehensive Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) in 2011. The EWP is a follow on from a successful HIV and AIDS Programme, and is critical to the long term viability of businesses through reduced health care costs and absenteeism, leading to improved productivity. The overall goal of the EWP is “Promoting Employees’ health and facilitating employees’ and their families’ awareness of the importance of safe and healthy lifestyles”.
Our advanced Zimbabwean Wellness campaign has seen meaningful improvement to employee and community health. A recent Rift Valley World Cup Wellness Tour saw our award winning team from Zimbabwe travel to all Rift Valley operations in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, using World Cup Soccer games as a platform from which to launch group-wide Wellness objectives for employees, their families and communities. The events attracted great numbers and the team addressed over 4000 people. We continue to develop motivated Wellness dissemination teams to impact capacity within each region of Rift Valley’s operation.
Wellness Initiatives that continue within outgrower communities and our businesses include:
- Training workshops – Sending beneficiaries for workshop training incl Peer Education techniques, Conservation Farming Methods, Disability and HIV /AIDS and Home based and community care awareness.
- Sport – The supply and support of sporting initiatives for soccer, netball and volleyball in our project areas.
- Awareness – Facilitating awareness campaigns through partnering stakeholders and local support groups.
- Welfare fund – Provision of assistance for community members with personal problems through our Northern Tobacco welfare fund.
- Income generation and nutrition – Support for empowerment projects through providing resources for nutrition gardens and a number of other income generating projects.
- Child development – Support for Early Childhood Development initiatives including play centres, class material and other support.
- Local Clinics – Rift valley Forestry has made social investment in community health, with the construction of two complete and equipped local clinics that service thousands of people who previously had many miles to travel to reach healthcare services
- Monthly wellness open days – covering issues regarding hypertension, diabetes, HIV /AIDS, optometry, dental checkups, stress and financial management, bereavement management, nutrition management and more.
- Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) – Population Services International (PSI) offer VCT services on site for 8 months whilst the Northern Tobacco sales floors are open for ALL staff and farmers.
- Weekly road shows – To encourage farmers and staff to get tested and create more awareness.
- The success of our flagship Wellness Initiative at Northern Tobacco continues in 2014
- Peer education – Northern tobacco successfully implemented and conducted its training program for NT CSR management on its own Monitoring and Evaluation program framework. 65 Peer Educators have since been trained and are implementing the new M and E model for data and record collection.
- HIV rates dropping – Population Services International (PSI) which conducts Voluntary Counseling and Testing on site when the tobacco sales floors are open tested 2,336 clients – a record number and an increase of 1,200 clients from last year. We are also happy to announce that the overall HIV prevalence rate has dropped from 11% in 2011/2012 to 7 %, which we hope is testament to the effect the program has had in our areas, and extended communities.
- Best practice recognition – Northern Tobacco was nominated, as the first listed company to be documented for Best Practice with Zimbabwe Business Council of AIDS.
- Disability inclusiveness – Northern Tobacco is the first Private Zimbabwean Company to include DISABILITY INCLUSIVENESS in its EWP. NT has partnered with Disability HIV and AIDS Trust (DHAT) and in 2013, 30 Peer Educators were trained on Disability Inclusiveness covering topics such as disability, disability, whilst also receiving SIGN LANGUAGE training. Roll out of the training within communities commenced in October 2013.
- Refresher courses – for Peer Education, Farming methods, Home Based care and Adolescent counseling have all continued during the year.
- Sports days – Regional annual sports days will take place in all areas in the month of October.
- AWARDS – Northern Tobacco has received several awards in recognition of its Employee Wellness.
Rift Valley, through its own medical services and in Partnership with Donor agencies, has developed HIV/Aids programs throughout its business footprint, impacting staff families and surrounding villages as part of organized out-reach programs. These programs include health campaigning on farms, estates and villages, peer group training and HIV testing.
ARV’s are being supplied via mobile clinics in a partnership with Rift Valley and district health authorities. Care and Treatment Centres have been established at many busineses, complimented by Home Based Carers located within rural villages. The results have been very positive. People are coming forward to test willingly, resulting in more affected people taking ARV’s and allowing them to carry out active lives. There is also a greatly increased awareness of benefits of condom usage, resulting in safer sex practice.
Community health – As part of our contribution to community welfare, Rift Valley has developed clinics within our more remote and least serviced areas of operation, including:
Rift Valley Forestry in rural Mozambique – The company has made social investment in community health, with the construction of two complete and equipped local clinics that service thousands of people who previously had many miles to travel to reach healthcare services.
Our Tea Estates in Tanzania – Medical dispensaries are located at each estate, providing free medical care for all employed staff and their families in the local community. The dispensaries carry a full medical staff including a doctor, clinical officers and maternity nurses. They provide accident & emergency, inpatient facilities, diagnostic laboratories and carry a full medicine stock. They also deliver HIV testing and ant iretroviral treatment.
As part of community Wellness, Rift Valley supports a number of rural sporting initiatives, encouraging competitive exercise within a number of rural communities. Soccer, netball and volleyball teams are sponsored by the provision of equipment and clothing