Hosted by the Lesotho Textile Exporters’ Association, the Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) is a coalition of apparel manufacturers, retailers, workers, international clothing brands, international organisations, and the Lesotho government. The largest and most productive employment sector in Lesotho, the apparel industry employs 46, 000 mostly women workers who are poorly skilled, 43% of whom are estimated to be HIV positive. Clearly outstanding is its innovative sector wide public-private-community partnership that is showing how possible it is to protect key productive economic sectors from the ravages of HIV and AIDS in poor countries by bringing together the key interest groups in a partnership. With this initiative, more than 32,000 workers are part of the HIV and AIDS prevention programme and it is estimated that 25, 000 workers now have access to care and treatment.
“Through this project, many individuals have been enabled to maintain dignity and self-respect, irrespective of their HIV status. The added benefit of sustained employment creates a platform for financial independence and an improved quality of life which is most encouraging” said the judges.