U.N. Agencies Launch Manual To Teach AIDS Orphans in Africa Farming Skills
The U.N. World Food Programme and U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization recently launched a manual that aims to teach AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa about farming and other skills, BuaNews/AllAfrica.com reports. There are about 40 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, 11.4 million of whom have lost their parents to AIDS-related illnesses. The manual provides information on how to establish farming schools where orphans can learn how to create sustainable livelihoods and long-term food security.
The program aims to teach children practical skills, such as local agricultural methods, as well as how to protect themselves from HIV transmission and other diseases, BuaNews/AllAfrica.com reports. Since 2004, the program has targeted more than 7,000 children in 11 African countries: Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As part of the program, WFP also provides essential food support to children attending classes. Robin Jackson, chief of the WFP's HIV/AIDS service, said, "Providing a nutritional meal to children in the schools is both an incentive for them to attend lessons and gives them an energy boost to participate actively."
Marcela Villarreal -- FAO's focal point for HIV/AIDS and director of the organization's Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division -- said, "Children and youth bear the heaviest burden of the AIDS crisis." She added that the "schools are an attempt to give orphans the means and confidence to survive in an often difficult environment" (BuaNews/AllAfrica.com, 12/11).