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Urban Gardens in Ethiopia Help HIV-Affected Women

USAID supports Urban Gardens

USAID supports an Urban Gardens program in Ethiopia to provide vulnerable and HIV-affected women with the tools, land and knowledge to plant vegetable gardens, feed their families, and sell the produce to increase household income. The program trains women in nutrition, composting, vegetable growing, irrigation, proper hygiene and HIV/AIDS issues. USAID works with the local government to secure sites in the city to establish garden plots with reliable access to a water source. Workers with degrees in agriculture help the women plant seeds, care for seedlings, prepare and use compost and install and maintain the simple drip irrigation systems that feed the garden plants.

USAID also provides the plastic tubs and drip irrigation tubes that eliminate the daily backbreaking work of carrying water to the rows of vegetables.

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HIV and Aids in Ethiopia: urban gardening project turning lives around

More than 1 million people are living with HIV and Aids in Ethiopia. An innovative project run by a local NGO is part of the government’s national plan for prevention, treatment and care

By Mark Tran
Dec 1, 2011


In her front garden, Belaynesh shows off her crop of Swiss chard, green pepper, sugar cane, green tomatoes and false banana, a plant unique to Ethiopia.

The plants in Belaynesh’s small garden would be any allotment owner’s delight. Fourteen growbags are lined neatly against the corrugated-iron fence, sprouting green shoots. Her “urban gardening” has allowed her and her husband to not only feed their seven children, but also make enough cash to build a small barn where four cows are sheltering from the noonday sun.

Yet a year ago Belaynesh, a strong, healthy looking 37-year-old, and Dabe, her husband, were very sick. They were both HIV positive and Dabe was near death. “Thank God we are alive,” she said.

The turnaround in the couple’s lives has come through an innovative project run by an Ethiopian NGO, Ratson, founded by a former scientific researcher, turned community organiser, Moges Gorfe.

Read the complete article here.