Saturday, March 25, 2023

Nutrition critical to HIV and AIDS intervention strategy

Botswana Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (BONEPWA+) continues to contribute to existing initiatives at reducing the adverse effects of HIV and AIDS through food security for people living with HIV and AIDS and this has resulted in increased hope for positive living among the affected families.

It is in that light, that BONEPWA is scheduled to hold a Food Security Field day in Bobonong, in conjunction with a local support group called Kabelano Lerato Support Group on 16 September 2010, with a view to showcasing their achievements.

David Ngele, Executive Director of BONEPWA, told the Sunday Standard that the core business of the event will be to raise awareness on some of the possible technologies that could be harnessed to help in poverty reduction at household level.

“The Field Day initiative is part of BONEPWA+ Food Security Programme (BFSP) which is aimed at strengthening HIV and AIDS and food security mitigating mechanisms amongst small holders in Botswana,” explained Ngele.

He indicated that the project was run at the cost of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and that the programme is coordinated by Gold Valley Agriculture Research Trust of Zambia (GART).

Central to the desired outcomes of the programme is a drastic improvement to household nutrition and farm incomes.

Thus, through BFSP a national network of support groups consisting of people who have opened up about their HIV positive status, under the overall stewardship of BONEPWA is supplied with a few Tswana chickens and seeds of various horticulture produce especially vegetables for own yard production.

Ngele further pointed out that his organization was made proud by the fact that, 28 support groups have so far benefitted from the initiative.

As part of motivating those who have only just started and encourage each other, the practice is for the different groups to traverse the country and converge at a designated venue for interaction and first hand witnessing of projects which so far succeeded.

In this case, Kabelano Lerato (the local support group), will be expected to showcase village poultry production, back yard gardening, small stock production and promotion of Moringa tree planting as well as beads made from recycled paper.

“That is to say, each individual household will be showing what they have achieved and prizes will accordingly be awarded to those deemed to have somewhat excelled. This therefore implies that delegates will be required to visit each household to appreciate their efforts in achieving food security at household level,” the BONEPWA CEO intimated.

Dr. John Moreki, an expert and Head of the Non Ruminants Division of the Department of Animal Production in the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), hailed BONEPWA+ food security programme as a microcosm of what could actually be adopted by a whole population at little cost.
“The impact of this initiative is so far calculably pleasing as we have witnessed a drastic and positive change of lifestyle on the part of some of the people living with HIV and AIDS who were almost left for the dead,” Moreki posited.

Moreki, who also serves as a technical advisor on food security for BONEPWA spoke passionately about the significance of network’s Bobonong field day, “This in my opinion is more than just an event, it is an opportunity for anyone to experience the difference and place of nutrition as a critical component in the broader strategy to control and ultimately stop the tide of the epidemic.”

In addition, the programme by virtue of the sense of collectivism that drives it creates a kind of continual regeneration and multiplication as individuals give others or new emerging groups in need of support. They eat part of their produce while at the same time tending for the remainder to multiply.

“That is what we mean by food security, or how do you differentiate it from self sufficiency,” Moreki said.


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