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  • For these women entrepreneurs of Malawi, it’s the start of another business trip. They are

  • heading across the border into neighboring Tanzania to buy goods to sell in their shops.

  • But this trip is different. They are about to learn how to protect themselves, and their

  • families, from HIV.

  • Sellah Chikoya Chiume is an entrepreneur and a member of Malawi’s National Association

  • of Business Women calledNab-We”. She’s also a peer educator, trained to share vital

  • knowledge that many of these women are hearing for the first time; that they have the power

  • to protect themselves.

  • Having arrived in Tanzania, the women waste no time buying their goods in order to return

  • to the border post. There’s usually a long wait to return to the Malawi side.

  • Sellah Chiume keeps herself busy spreading the word about HIV prevention. She and other

  • Nab-Wemembers were trained to be peer educators at workshops facilitated by the

  • International Labour Organization.

  • Peer education becomes an important tool at the workplace because people talk on equal

  • terms and they are able to express themselves better.

  • The approach is one of the key components of Malawi’s draft national workplace HIV/AIDS

  • policy, which is being developed in collaboration with Malawi’s government, workers, and employers

  • organizations.

  • ILO has helped build the capacity of the Ministry of Labour in terms of how they can look at

  • HIV & AIDS as a workplace issue, but also how they can look at HIV&AIDS as a labour

  • issue.

  • It’s night-time before the border officer inspects businesswoman Cecilia Mambo’s purchases.

  • It can take hours to get across the border, sometimes overnight. That’s when some of

  • the business women can put themselves at risk, or be put at risk for HIV.

  • When going to buy our goods we don’t face any problems but often when coming back we

  • are treated unkindly at the customs post. They even delay us unnecessarily. The other

  • problem is that the places we spend our night are not safe.

  • Thanks to the peer education, business women like Cecilia Mambo and Sellah Chiume are better

  • equipped to face these situations.

  • When it comes to protecting themselves against HIV, the message is clear: women can make

  • the decision, not just the men.

For these women entrepreneurs of Malawi, it’s the start of another business trip. They are

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