Lesotho—Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight Aids (ALAFA) Project

Client: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Duration: 2005-2007

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Lesotho

Solutions: Global Health Economic Growth

The apparel industry is Lesotho’s largest private sector employer with approximately 46,000 people employed. In 2005, it was estimated that one-third, or 15,000, of these workers were HIV positive. Most apparel industry employees are young women, and it is this gender and age group whose risk of HIV infection is greatest. The Association of Lesotho Employers identified HIV/AIDS as one of the major issues threatening the sector, and The ComMark Trust—funded by the former U.K. Department for International Development (now called Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) to make commodity and service markets work for the poor in Southern Africa—identified the textile and apparel industry as one of its focal points. The Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) project was born out of that process. A research team tasked with designing a strategy to address HIV/AIDS in the industry found not only that an intervention was feasible, but also that it was vital to the sustainability of the apparel industry, to save an estimated 1,850 lives per year in the industry and increase productivity. It also found that the industry was confronted by two of the key long-term drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: poverty and gender inequity. Both the business and human cases for a long-term intervention were strong.

Sample Activities

  • Bring together government, service providers, industrialists, labor, brands and retailers, funders, donors, and multinational organizations to focus on the HIV/AIDS issue.
  • Provide HIV/AIDS education and prevention, voluntary testing, and counseling.
  • Support the management of AIDS through the roll-out of antiretroviral drugs.

Select Results

  • Workers reached with prevention: 24,000.
  • Workers tested: 2,170.
  • Workers who have access to treatment: 11,000.
  • Workers on antiretroviral drugs: 104.


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