199497 Expanding urban gardening to AIDS affected households: An innovative approach to improving nutritional status, food and economic security in Ethiopia

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:45 PM

Nancy Russell, MA , Global Health Sector, DAI, Bethesda, MD
Robert H. Salerno, BA , Global Health Science | School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Background: Roughly 4.5 million people in Ethiopia lack adequate food security to meet their basic nutritional needs, leading to micronutrient deficiencies, higher rates of chronic and acute malnutrition, and increased immunosuppression. From an economic strengthening perspective, 1 million HIV/AIDS-affected households are under additional economic stress caused by caring for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) as well as more than 5 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), weakening their already strained safety net.

Objective: Using low-cost, low-labor-intensive household nutrition gardens (HNGs): 1) provide income opportunities to OVCs and caretakers; 2) Improve nutritional status of HIV/AIDS infected and affected women and OVCs with provision of vegetables and the means to buy other food; 3) Improve support to PLWHAs and provide linkages to complimentary HIV/AIDS programs.

Methods: 1) Identify and train local implementing partners (IPs) working on existing HIV/AIDS interventions; 2) Through IPs, provide equipment, materials, and training to target beneficiaries; 3) Provide ongoing support for enhanced nutritional training; 4) Develop links to financial services; 5) Provide market linkages between vegetable producers and local consumers.

Results: 1) Improved access to water for irrigation and sanitation; 2) Increased income; 3) Improved access to nutrition information and ability to buy nutritious food; 4) Increased number of individuals reached with HIV/AIDS related prevention, care, and treatment services through a referral linkage system.

Recommendations: Creatively address land and water access issues; continue to work with local producers of micro drip irrigation technology kits and facilitate program integration through multisectoral partnerships.

Conclusion: With effective training and continued support, HNGs demonstrated that HIV/AIDS affected households have the capacity to access land, use water resources effectively, produce nutritious food for consumption and sale, and access health services. The program was able to get critical buy in at the local level from government (mayors) who granted communal land to the project. The availability of this land not only allowed for the use of technology and the growing of food in very limited spaces, it also empowered women gardeners who are least likely to control or use land.

Learning Objectives:
Explain how simple drip-kit irrigation technology contributes to substantial increases in nutritional status, food and economic security, and quality of life for HIV/AIDS affected and infected in Ethiopia.

Keywords: Food Security, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Nancy Russell has over 25 years of experience working to strengthen international and US-based organizations. She has extensive knowledge developing community based participatory approaches for HIV and AIDS, family planning, maternal health and services for people living with AIDS. Globally, Nancy has worked in Africa, Asia, and the US to build capacity of NGOs, faith based organizations, civil society organizations, and government agencies across various bilateral/multilateral donors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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