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border.gif (1K) Strategies for action

HIV/AIDS and agricultural mitigation strategies

On this page you will find the strategies for action related to 1) livelihood diversification, 2) alternative labour-saving technologies, 3) self-help groups and community mobilisation, 4) transmission of knowledge and youth mobilization, 5) improved nutrition for people living with HIV/AIDS, 6) legal assistance and training to prevent asset stripping, 7) capacity-building and sensitization, and other cross-cutting issues.

See also the country specific pilot activities in Uganda, Namibia and Zambia.

Promote livelihood diversification
To overcome the problems related to competing cash needs over limited income, which result in increased food insecurity and unsafe coping strategies, the following activities have been identified:

    i) Promotion of micro-enterprise development:

  • Investigate locally appropriate, less input demanding enterprises (e.g. bee-keeping, bull fattening, fruit trees, home-gardens) and conduct a market assessment of opportunities, risks and possible action;
  • Develop training material for promoting livelihood diversification options in the context of HIV/
  • Encourage and support micro-enterprise development.
    ii) Improved access to rural finance schemes:
  • Analyze the constraints vulnerable households have in accessing micro-credit;
  • Develop and implement strategies for micro-credit programmes adapted to meet these challenges.

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Promote alternative labour technologies
Existing technologies are often inappropriate or unavailable for households vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. It is therefore necessary to analyse the problems vulnerable households face in accessing and adopting alternative technologies. Subsequently, a strategy can be developed and activities can be implemented to:
  • Enhance farmers' skills to develop/absorb appropriate alternative technologies;
  • Reorient extension messages to reach/assist vulnerable groups (youth, elderly and widows);
  • Lobby for increased (immediate and long term) national and donor inputs to enhance agricultural technologies.
      Alternative labour saving technologies can include:
      - lighter ploughs/ tools
      - conservation agriculture
      - minimum tillage
      - improved seed varieties

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Self-help groups and community mobilisation
Labour-shortages result in reduced production and income, post-harvest losses, less time and access to extension services and increase in school drop-out. Other related problems are the collapse of social and economic safety-nets. Solutions can be found within the communities themselves, by mobilizing labour-pooling groups, funeral banks, community counsellors and community health insurance. Proposed actions are:

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Promote preservation and transmission of knowledge
The increasing number of orphans and the collapse of extended family networks lead to inadequate transmission and preservation of knowledge. To counteract this trend, the following strategies for action have been suggested:

    i) Promote agricultural training and school gardens:

  • Develop practical school gardens at selected pilot schools to build agricultural skills and transmit knowledge;
  • Develop and test training material as input for curriculum development in schools from primary to university level.
    ii) Promotion of youth organizations:
  • Adapt and test existing training material to support youth clubs. Training material will include leadership skills, organisational development, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, vegetable gardening and business skills;
  • Conduct training and Training-of-Trainers of youth;
  • Involve the elderly and grandparents in training of youth;
  • Organize apprenticeships and exchange visits.

    iii) Encourage farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing

    iv) Documentation of traditional indigenous knowledge

    v) Develop village based business modules focusing on indigenous products:

  • Conduct a local participatory assessment of indigenous products with a market niche that could be grown in home/school gardens;
  • Conduct a market assessment of opportunities, risks and their respective possible strategies;
  • Develop a strategy for marketing these products;
  • Conduct training for women's/youth's/self-help groups focusing on indigenous knowledge of crops and wild plants, processing skills of indigenous products, business skills and marketing;
  • Document knowledge associated with the development of these products.

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Improve nutrition
Insufficient availability of food and inadequate knowledge of nutritional needs of PLWHA are widespread. A response could be improved home gardening comprising nutritious and medicinal crops and nutrition education through the following activities:

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Provide legal assistance and training to prevent asset stripping
Loss of land and property (such as livestock and farm equipment) to close relatives, can be addressed through the following:

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Capacity-building and sensitization
Inadequate knowledge and awareness related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in government and extension services can be counteracted through the following action:

    i) Equip extension staff with skills to address different needs of emerging vulnerable groups:

    ii) Increase the awareness of staff in district development committees of the linkages between HIV/AIDS, food security and rural livelihoods:

  • Develop and/or adapt existing training and background material on HIV/AIDS, food security, gender and poverty interlinkages;
  • Organise and facilitate a training workshops;
  • Organise short sensitisation sessions for staff on HIV/AIDS and its implication for their work.

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Other essential activities

Analyse existing policies and mechanisms
Many countries (including Namibia, Uganda and Zambia) have mechanisms to coordinate the efforts and initiatives among government ministries (nationally/decentralized), NGOs, UN system and donors when addressing HIV/AIDS. A closes analysis of these mechanisms will be necessary in order to identify and better understand how to play an effective and proactive role at national level, as well as to add value to existing programmes and policies.

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Comments or questions? Please contact webmaster at integrated-programme@fao.org
Updated September 2003

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this site do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.