205514 Integrating agriculture in OVC programming for improved food security in OVC households

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:00 AM

Carl Stecker, RN, MPH, EdD, CH , Catholic Relief Services, York, PA
David Roth , Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, MD
Stephen Gichuki , Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, MD
Issues: Orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) households are facing food insecurity in Kenya. In response, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Kenya, in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Malindi, is integrating agriculture into its OVC project. The project provides skills and knowledge on farming and nutrition through Junior Farmer Field Schools (JFFS) in primary schools. Participants and Community Health Workers (CHW) are trained to grow and sell agricultural produce. Description: Each JFFS records income, expenditures, membership and activities. Since April 2008, Malindi Diocese has mobilized 20 JFFS's, with 216 OVC (75 male; 136 female) directly benefitting. The project trained 29 school patrons and 25 CHWs to supervise JFFS activities. Social workers and Life skills Trainers discuss HIV prevention through life skills sessions. Lessons Learned: OVC have produced vegetables for use and income and replicate these skills at home. All the JFFS's keep records to monitor performance of their ventures. JFFS provide knowledge on agriculture, nutrition and prevention of HIV infections among youth. OVC with ailing parents or caregivers have established kitchen gardens to supplement their household's food needs. OVC have also used earnings to support needier OVC. Recommendations: JFFS have been effective in teaching OVC about nutrition, farming as a business and life skills. More importantly, the potential of sustaining the nutritional and economic needs of OVC when the project phases out is gradually being built. Further support to the JFFS's by improving clubs' access to water for irrigation and exploring new market opportunities would go along way in ensuring sustainability.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the practice of addressing food insecurity among Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Keywords: Food Security, Adolescents, International

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working on International Health and HIV for over 25 years. Currently as Senior Technical Advisor for HIV, I help staff and colleagues design and carry-out operations research, and monitoring and evaluation studies in all domains of HIV intervention including work in home-based care, adherence counseling and treatment monitoring, palliative care, support of orphans and vulnerable children, support of PLHIV, and wrap-around support in areas of microfinance. agriculture, and others. I have presented at large international conferences and have served as moderator or respondent on many different occasions.
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.