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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid