Farmers to be sensitized on AIDS and family planning

HUYE - A project working under the National University of Rwanda, named SPREAD, will this week begin a family planning and HIV awareness campaign among coffee and pyrethrum farmers across the country.

HUYE - A project working under the National University of Rwanda, named SPREAD, will this week begin a family planning and HIV awareness campaign among coffee and pyrethrum farmers across the country.

An official from the project said that the campaigns would also address maternal and child health problems.

SPREAD (Sustaining Partnerships to Enhance Rural Enterprise and Agribusiness Development) is a 5-year project under the National University of Rwanda (NUR) that among other things promotes health education for healthy living.

Started in 2006, the project’s activities are in the fields of agribusiness development, HIV/ AIDS prevention, family planning and maternal and child health promotion.

Its efforts mainly target coffee and pyrethrum growers across the country.

In an interview with The New Times, the Project Health Programme coordinator, Jeanne Nyirakamana, said that the campaign seeks to equip farmers with basic knowledge about HIV prevention while educating them on the importance of having small families.

“HIV/AIDS as well as the reluctance to embrace family planning methods are still the major challenges that farmers are facing. We want to help them access health information and services that can help to improve their livelihoods,” Nyirakamana said.

“Good health guarantees better production; you can only produce when you are healthy.”

The 9-month campaign will cover coffee and pyrethrum farmers in Huye and Nyamagabe districts in the south; Musanze in the north and Nyabihu and Rubavu in western Rwanda.

The campaign will be conducted in partnership with a group of students at the National University of Rwanda. The students, grouped under ‘Les Stars du Theatre’ Drama Troupe will promote the use of theatre to influence behaviour change. The trained farmers will then use drama to sensitize other fellow residents on health issues.

Nyirakamana stressed that the theatre is an ideal medium through which awareness messages can be spread to a wider population.

“We believe that theatre is so popular that farmers will be attracted,” she said.

“Coffee and pyrethrum farmers are our premier target but we hope that they will then take what they have learnt to the society, for the benefits of everyone.”

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