Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Business partners for social change


Aids Alliance

An innovative new programme launched last week, developed by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, is proving popular with large companies despite the recession.

In the uncertain business climate, the Executive Development Programme not only offers a way of motivating top staff but is also a cost-effective and appealing alternative to losing valued employees for good.

The programme sees leaders of non-profit organisations, working in the field of HIV/AIDS, partnered with a mentor from a corporate enterprise for one year, learning from their business experience. They also receive academic training at INSEAD, Europe’s leading business school.

Last week the senior managers from the corporate world gathered at INSEAD for their first academic module. There they met their non-profit organisational managers from Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Ukraine, Myanmar, Cambodia, Morocco and India.

“We are proud to see such a diverse and talented group of experienced managers from over 18 countries with the desire to make a difference,” commented Julie Saunders, Director of Corporate Services at the Alliance.

The 12-month Executive Development Programme, developed in partnership with INSEAD and funded by the Harafi Foundation, offers a unique opportunity to build management and leadership skills and the capacity of non-profit organisations to make an impact on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their country.

Individuals from the private sector can bring expertise in areas such as finance, marketing and business planning which, when combined with the skills and experience of non-profit managers, can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of organisations’ operations on the ground.

Josephine Lubwama, Deputy Chief of Party at Alliance Uganda, is partnering with two senior managers from Tibotec, a Belgium-based pharmaceutical company.

“It is important to learn new ways of thinking about how to address the issues in our community,” she said. “Hearing from experts in other sectors can help you to rethink your strategies and better address the challenges within the HIV and AIDS arena.”

For the twelve corporate participants, the programme will be a life-changing experience – not least as they work out how to adapt their corporate mindset to the very different realities of the developing world.

Participants will spend between one to twelve months overseas with their partner organisation, developing new skills in cross-cultural awareness, innovation and leadership, while increasing their understanding of the social sector.

Berkeley Vincent, a corporate participant from Johnson & Johnson, explained why his company had been so supportive: “At a certain level it is about retention but they also understand they need people within their organisation with a broader remit and understanding of the world. They believe this will help their employees to make better business decisions and create a deeper understanding of the industry. They also expect that when I come back I will be more committed and dedicated to the company.”

The Alliance is constantly seeking new ways to deliver effective global responses to HIV and believes that the business sector has much to offer the global partnership. The Executive Development Programme is just one of the programmes being developed by Pepal, the Alliance’s private sector team, to engage business and academia in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Find out more about how you can get involved with Pepal.