Cultural, Food and Health Festival 2011


The third fair – Cultural, Food and Health Festival was held on the 29th July 2011 from 1600 hrs – 1800hrs in Jumhoree Maidhan. This half day event was held for migrants, so they can explore information and participate in activities that could improve their ability to protect themselves from HIV and STIs, subsequently, to create a platform for migrant workers to exchange ideas clear misconceptions through the migrant peer educators.Furthemore, to create the opportunity for migrants from different natives, to come together and enjoy a festive environment.

According to the year 4 work plan of the Global Fund project with Society for Health Education (SHE), a total of 4 migrant fairs are to be held by the end of quarter 16.

The event attracted a large number of migrant population and all were very enthusiastic. The participants strongly endorsed the event, and migrant peer educators expressed further interest in serving as a core group to assist in future events. Following feedback from participants, migrant peer educators, employees and volunteers who supported this event, the event hours should be extended, with opportunities for more participants.


A situation assessment of HIV/AIDS in the Maldives found that within the Maldives; there is a very mobile population. Increasing economic prosperity, development and growth over the last decade have resulted in increased levels of migration both within and out of the country. Large infrastructure    and development projects in tourism and construction industry encouraged expatriate workers and young people from all over the country to move to major locations.

However, in areas of rapid economic development and increasing internal migration, factors such as separation from family and communities and poor working conditions contribute to an increased vulnerability of migrants and mobile populations to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as they engage in unsafe behaviours such as unprotected sex and injecting drug use. Additionally, as HIV prevention and health care services are not specifically targeted towards migrants and mobile populations these groups tend to have poorer access to such services. This is especially true for migrants and mobile people who are often not registered as residents in the area where they work.

The First Biological and Behavioral survey conducted in 2008 on HIV/AIDS looked at male migrant workers in Male’ who might be at risk of HIV. The mapping estimated a total of 7,524 migrant construction workers in Male’ alone, but there are many more migrant laborers in the Maldives. The Ministry of Human Resources, Youth and Sports reported a total of 80, 839 expatriates working in the Maldives as of 31st Dec 2008.Migrant workers are required to have HIV tests in order to work in the Maldives. Till 30th September, the Maldives has deported 265 migrants who were found to be HIV+. In other words, in theory HIV prevalence among migrants is 0. However there is no accounting for the “window period”– a period of 1 to 6 months (depending on the test given) after infection with HIV but before sufficient antibodies are   present to register in an HIV test. Some migrants have surely entered the Maldives during their “window period.” Others may have been infected while in the Maldives.

To protect themselves against this possibility, Expatriate population urgently need skills and information related to HIV.

Developing the event Plan:

The half daylong event was organized by the SHE, Global Fund Programme Management team in collaboration and support from UNDP Maldives and, National AIDS programme under Center for Community Health Disease control through a series of meetings and email contacts with government, embassies and private sector enterprises.

Dento Medical Solutions and Eyecare Opticals collaborated as associate partners in this festival. An event plan was developed, including a number of activities with new materials to attract the migrant population.

10 tents were placed with the support from Asaree services Pvt.Ltd in the location for free HIV testing,Dento Medical Solutions,Eyecare Opticals,Nepal Assocition,India Club, High Commission of Bangladesh,HIV Information with distribution of BCC Materials, General Health Checkup and Jumble sales. Furthermore, Banners and flags with strong HIV messages were placed in the location for visibility.

Description of the Event

Ms.Ivana Lohar, Programme Manager for HIV/AIDS Programme Management unit of UNDP Maldives delivered the opening remarks. She highlighted the significance of HIV in the Maldives and the importance of creating a platform for the migrant workers to seek the information and skills required to protect themselves from the danger.

Followed by the opening remarks, the Chief Guest, High Commissioner of Bangladesh, H.E Rear Admiral Abu Saed Mohamed Abdul Awal highlighted the importance of such event and showed his gratitude for initiating a grand scale event for migrant workers.

Subsequent to by the chief guest speech, Ms. Zaha Waheed, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of Society for Health thanked all the stakeholders for their support and immense contribution for the festival.

After the inauguration ceremony, stage items were perfomed by migrant peer educators and Nepal Association.

The event was conducted in participatory mode where migrant workers from different natives to came together and enjoyed a festive environment.

Evaluation of the Event

In the debriefing team meeting held immediately after the event, the team noted the following achievements and constraints.


  • Delegates from all embassies represented and expressed their gratitude and showed interest in such collaborations.
  • The organizing team and the migrant population all enjoyed the event.
  • All activities succeeded in meeting the event objectives.
  • The organizing team worked well together.
  • Referrals were made to VCT centers
  • The venue was well equipped.
  • Reached  more than  2000 migrants


  • Last  minute site set up changes


  1. Increase the hours of the event in providing opportunities for more expatriate population to gain information.
  2. To have a backup plan for unexpected weather condition.
  3. To gain interest of private sector enterprises as associate partners in order to attract more migrant population.





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 Photo Gallery of Event

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