News / Africa

Agriculture and Healthcare Come Together to Fight HIV/AIDS

Ethiopia Africa Food ProductionEthiopia Africa Food Production
x
Ethiopia Africa Food Production
Ethiopia Africa Food Production

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
An international company that processes agricultural products and food ingredients, and who also has a presence in Africa, teamed up with NGO partners in a drive connected to World HIV/AIDS Day, which occurs every year on December first.  The drive—in line with the World Aids Day strategy of getting to zero in terms of new infections, deaths from HIV/AIDS, and discrimination—was met with widespread participation.

This year, the London based global agri-business company, Olam International, mobilized its supply chain network to get vital education and healthcare support out to people across rural Africa in a unique fashion, by combining agriculture with healthcare. 

Chris Brett is the senior vice-president of Olam International.  He said that while the company is heading into its fifth year of addressing the AIDS epidemic as a global issue, this year the company reached a record 234,000 people in Africa who were able to benefit from the campaign.

“Olam has an outreach of 28 countries in Africa, and we work as you say with small-scale farmer supply chains.  But importantly as well, with our own processing units which are based in the rural areas,” explained Brett, who said his company has that connection with local communities for food processing.  Then, on a second level, there is the interest in reaching these communities regarding HIV/AIDs awareness.

“HIV/AIDS is very important at the level of our employees, and then of course at the levels of the communities, and the farmers we work [with] and support.  Over the last few years, we have been developing programs which started off as basic awareness, and have been evolving from there,” stated Brett.

Because Olam is based in communities, it gives local NGO’s the opportunity to link into the Olam systems, where they can reach farmers and employees. 

Brett pointed out one interesting aspect of the partnering with NGO’s is that they were able to reach many women. “We have a huge number of women that work in our processing units,” said Brett.  He explained that Olam, in collaboration with NGO’s such as GIZ, a German corporation unit, and USAID, was able not only to bring AIDS awareness to employees, but also to let them know, through testing, their actual HIV status.

“So we ran a theme from our second, third year of support of HIV/AIDS, to basically get people to understand their status, which was a big barrier to cross.  And this was given a lot of support through the NGO’s outreach and community workers.  And we gave the opportunity for people then to be tested, and obviously as the result comes out, how we go forward with that in terms of counseling, and then the supply of retro-viral drugs and so on.”

Brett said the program is not a one-day program, but rather a long term campaign that will continue with the support of the community and local NGO’s.  He said it is important for people to understand the link between agriculture and healthcare in preventing and living with HIV/AIDS.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs