Farm schools for vulnerable rural youth on the rise in Africa

Farm schools for vulnerable rural youth on the rise in Africa

28/11/2007

New manual published by FAO and the World Food Programme - Farm schools for vulnerable children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic are playing an increasingly important role in sub-Saharan Africa, FAO said today. The schools are teaching orphans vital farming and life skills ensuring them sustainable livelihoods and long-term food security.

A new manual on how to set up a Junior Farmer Field and Life School (JFFLS) has just been published by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP). HIV and AIDS have a tremendous impact on rural communities in Africa, particularly on children.

“Children and youth are charged with the heaviest burden of the AIDS crisis,” said Marcela Villarreal, Director of FAO’s Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division. “Without their parents, they become more vulnerable to hunger and poverty, disease, conflict, sexual exploitation, forced migration and environmental degradation. The schools are an attempt to give orphans the means and the confidence to survive in an often very difficult environment,” she added.

The number of orphans and other vulnerable children is growing in sub-Saharan Africa as a serious consequence of the AIDS epidemic, conflicts and displacement. To date, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than 40 million orphans, with an estimated 11.4 million children orphaned by AIDS.