U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Establishes 34 Farming Schools for AIDS Orphans in Four African Countries
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on Monday announced that it has established 34 farming schools for AIDS orphans in Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia that aim to teach the children agricultural knowledge and business and life skills, the SAPA/News24.com reports. The Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools are targeting about 1,000 children ages 12 to 18 who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes. The schools cover traditional and modern agriculture, and children learn about field preparation, sowing and transplanting, weeding, irrigation, pest control, use and conservation of resources, food crop processing, harvesting, storage and marketing skills. In addition, the schools offer lessons in HIV/AIDS prevention education, gender sensitivity, child protection and sexual health, according to the SAPA/News24.com (SAPA/News24.com, 5/9). The program is funded by Finland, Norway, FAO and the World Food Programme (FAO release, 5/9). "The objective of the schools is to empower the orphans through knowledge and self-esteem and to give them essential elements for their long-term food security," Marcela Villarreal, director of FAO's gender and population division, said, adding, "These training courses are an important starting point to get AIDS orphans out of hunger and poverty" (U.N. News Service, 5/9). Gabriel Rugalema, FAO's senior officer on HIV/AIDS and food security, said the number of AIDS orphans attending the schools is "small" compared with the total number of AIDS orphans in the region, but he added that the project only began last year and he expects it to grow, VOA News reports (De Capua, VOA News, 5/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.