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WorldFishs Anti-HIV/AIDS Projects Wins World Bank Award

MALAWI - WorldFish Center scientists in Malawi and Cameroon have won the World Bank's Global Development Marketplace awards for projects that offer cutting-edge solutions to pressing social and economic concerns.

The World Bank initiative helps to identify and fund the best and most innovative ideas in development. It promotes innovation through early stage seed funding for projects around the world.

In Malawi, Daniel Jamu's "Adapting Aquaculture to HIV/AIDS-affected Households" project aims to make fish farming a new weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

It aims to help households in Malawi combat HIV/Aids through simple and affordable aquaculture. Developed in collaboration with World Vision, Malawi, it is a new approach in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The project targets poor orphans and widow-headed households struggling with the disease. The project will develop farming methods that can be used by these households to raise fish as a source of nutrition. The households often lack the skills, labor and capital needed for conventional aquaculture. They are also isolated and lack access to producer organizations and markets.

As fish is a rich source of protein, lipids, calcium, vitamin A and micro-nutrients, it will improve the health and well-being of households and hence increase the effectiveness anti-retroviral drugs.

The fish can also be sold to provide a steady cash income to meet medical and nutritional needs, and the fishpond used as bank to raise larger sums to meet emergencies.

The one-year project targets o ne thousand resource-poor households in Chingale, Zomba West, Malawi, and aims to raise their fish production and consumption and income by at least 25 per cent.

"Beyond the lifetime of the project, these activities will also contribute to the development of cross-sectoral rural investment strategies aimed at strengthening the economic base of HIV/AIDS-affected populations," said Daniel Jamu.

The award, worth US$20,000, recognises that HIV/AIDS is not only a health issue but also a developmental and social issue, and that aquaculture can make an important contribution to supporting the needs and strengths of HIV/AIDS-stricken households.

Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries. Tens of thousands Malawians die of AIDS every year. Limited resources and low fertility of farms are serious problems.