Last year we started working with farmers at Nasala, Lilongwe. We identified this group through NAPHAM, which is an organization that supports and advocates for people living with HIV and AIDS. One of our founding ideas at AWP is that people with AIDS need better nutrition to allow them to continue on powerful ARV medication, stay healthy, and support their families.
Our program last year at Nasala was a minimal training, a testing of the water so to speak. This year we ramped it up by including more members and training them a various locations closer to their homes. Being close to home is a big help for some members whose health would be effected by long walks.
On Friday last week we conducted nursery establishment trainings. Effective nursery establishment allows the farmers to 1) achieve high germination rates, 2) estimate seed population and scale the gardens appropriately, 3) share seedlings evenly among 5 or more farmers. Basically, we use good nursery practices to avoid wasting money on seeds and wasting labour on oversized gardens.
As the photos show, most of the farmers in this group are women, many of them widows. Men in the community are reluctant to participate in programs designed to support people with HIV and AIDS.