Originally published on November 10, 2014.
In 2010 across Ethiopia, there were an increasing number of programs providing people living with HIV (PLHIV) with prevention, treatment and care services. But, given the poverty and isolation that many face, there was also a tremendous need to expand training and opportunities that enabled them to enjoy more robust livelihoods, and a better quality of life.
By working through preexisting community-based organizations (CBOs) that care for PLHIV and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), Land O'Lakes targeted residents who could benefit from expanded livelihoods across the dairy value chain. One of these CBOs was the Hiwot HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support Association (HAPCSA), which provided assistance to more than 8,500 PLHIV and 5,200 OVC in and around Addis Ababa. They knew who is prepared to take the next step beyond antiretroviral therapy (ART), and get back to work. Demeke Feissa, HAPCSA program manager, stated, “Now is the time. People are healthy with ART. They need to work and have a way to engage in income generating activities.”
By partnering with CBOs such as HAPCSA, the USAID-funded Ethiopian Dairy Development Project (EDDP) helped to create livelihoods for PLHIV and OVC. Before teaming with Land O’Lakes, HAPCSA mostly focused on providing services such as prevention, home-based care, nutritional support and medical services. Sister Lanchisil Amare, a HAPCSA community nurse, emphasized, “Previously we were talking about prevention and ART [antiretroviral therapy] adherence. Now we are talking about income generation and dairy.”
In addition to training PLHIV and OVC, Land O’Lakes built the capacity of its partner organizations by transferring business and dairy technical skills, along with other support. From 2009-2010, EDDP helped strengthen the financial base for 34 staff at HAPCSA, along with 859 of their clients. Dawit Asseta, one of HAPCSA’s extension officers, noted, “We now understand how to link to markets. Before we knew about cows and milk, but we didn’t understand how it related to the market.”
Land O’Lakes enabled HAPCSA to expand their organizational scope to not only provide comprehensive care, but also support economic strengthening efforts.