Bheki Maseko

Bheki Maseko

Date: March 28, 2011
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When the project started in 2005 I had high expectations on the impact MAP was going to make in raising awareness on the role played by the media to sensitize the people on HIV and AIDS. When it was time to get started on the project a number challenges emanated and some proved to be strong enough to bring the whole exercise to a halt.

I had to exercise a high degree of professionalism when doing this work as a number of media houses and journalists were misinformed about the initiative. Focus, determination and integrity was the main drive to see the project through and achieving its objectives.

Five media houses committed to the process that involved working closely with media managers and executives who had to give a buy- in as policy decisions are made at the highest level of any organisation and role down to other relevant departments and professionals who also have to engaged.

Management then identified focal persons in each media houses who also acted heads of committees set up to develop policies. In some media houses there already Wellness Committees which made easy to tap in them and get them on board as they would also make inputs based on existing programs in the workplace to fit in the policy.

Some media houses did not have Wellness Committees, but Committees were set up by management to see to it that work was done in a more organized fashion. These committees worked in collaboration with Human Resources Managers who were tasked to head them as they are people also part of the management of media houses.

It was humbling to note some Chief Executive Officers displaying trust and confidence to staff members and giving them the independence to work on such a prominent document to influence the direction and operations of the institutions they head. It was also a fulfilling moment to see some policies implemented before they were even adopted by the board. This evidenced that media houses were hungry for policies to assist them conduct their business.

High staff turnover posed challenges. Many Wellness Committees had to be dispersed due to personal frustrations. But MAP has brought a lot of value in positioning the media to respond to the fight against HIV and AIDS. The media now realise that they have a collective responsibility to fight HIV and AIDS in the workplace and through editorial outputs.

At a personal level, the gender training I have received through GL has made me realise the value of understanding the needs of my own partner.

Bheki Maseko, Swaziland


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