Siyakhana Health Trust launched its flagship project to provide HIV and AIDS prevention, care, treatment, support and impact mitigation to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Buffalo City (Eastern Cape, South Africa) in 2006/7. Generally referred to as the “Siyakhana SME Project”, it was established as a partnership between Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), the Border-Kei Chamber of Business and German development agency, Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungestellscaft (DEG).

Siyakhana was established at a time when the South African Government’s response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic was incoherent and highly contested. During the first year of operation, the project was active in 17 SMEs, reaching ± 6,700 employees and an estimated 26,000 family members.