Mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS on rural livelihoods in Southern Africa
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Southern Africa Office, Lusaka, Zambia; UNECA, Sustainable Development Division, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A variety of interventions to mitigate the increasing impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic on smallholder agricultural production and food security are currently implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. However, documentation and dissemination of such interventions is limited and patchy. Building on emerging experiences from the field, this article seeks to move beyond charting the impacts of HIV and AIDS on rural livelihoods to review existing mitigation policies and programmes, identify the challenges to mitigation, and provide suggestions for future mitigation strategies and policy priorities. The experiences cited in the article are mainly drawn from the hardest-hit regions in Southern and Eastern Africa, but they provide useful lessons for AIDS-affected rural communities in other contexts. The main conclusion is that, as current initiatives are to a large extent ad hoc and localised, there is a need for documentation, dissemination, and scaling up of existing interventions, as well as greater coherence and co-ordination in policies and programmes to extend their reach and make the most of limited resources.
acquired immune deficiency syndrome; civil society; epidemic; food security; health impact; human immunodeficiency virus; policy implementation; rural society; strategic approach; Africa; Southern Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa