Southern Africa is currently in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. Access to food is at the heart of it.
Observers have implicated several underlying and overlapping factors in exacerbating the impact of the climatic
stresses on food crisis - including deep and widespread poverty, insecurity around land, removal of price controls, resource degradation and erosion of agricultural diversity, poor governance, and HIV/AIDS.
There is some evidence and growing recognition that the spread of HIV/AIDS has increased the sensitivity of agrarian society so that small shocks can precipitate crises for many people. A recent SADC study suggests that the impacts of HIV/AIDS on food security in the context of the 2002 food emergency are strong and negative. It also suggests that these impacts are complex and require urgent and innovative responses in the short and longer terms.
RENEWAL (Regional Network on Rural Livelihoods and Food Security) is a network of national networks in Eastern and Southern Africa that aims at enabling agricultural, food and nutrition relevant organizations to contribute effectively to the prevention and mitigation of HIV/AIDS in collaboration with affected communities and other sectors. National networks have been established in Uganda and Malawi and the process is getting underway in Zambia and South Africa.
The challenge RENEWAL confronts is to enhance the understanding of the links between rural livelihoods and food security on one side and HIV infection and AIDS-linked illness and death on the other so that actions can be more conscious and targeted and their effects felt in years, not decades. Projects from a first round of proposals are now being developed or are getting underway, funded from national Action Research Funds.
The second phase of action research seeks to build on what RENEWAL has started, with the following specific objectives:
Action Research Priorities
- To foster a better understanding of the dynamic interactions between HIV/AIDS and other factors in the current food crises;
- To thus enable more effective responses to the crises, which are better integrated with longer term preventive measures;
- To promote convergence between humanitarian and development thinkers and practitioners with long-term benefits for communications, joint learning and effective action and
- To help link people and organizations in neighboring countries, those within and outside the current RENEWAL, facing similar challenges.
- Activities with short term benefits (1-2 years)
- Assessing existing policies and programs and testing modified versions
- Broad development and emergency response policies and programmes (developed with or without AIDS in mind)
- Role of food aid in increasing resistance to HIV and promoting resilience to AIDS impacts.
- Identifying and supporting innovation in HIV/AIDS-affected households and communities
- Activities with medium term benefits (2-5 years)
- Developing new options for and with HIV/AIDS-affected communities
- Exploring new social forms, including cooperative arrangements
- Assessing the contribution of enhanced livelihood and food security to
- HIV prevention and/or
- mitigation of AIDS' impacts
- Feasibility of targeting actions at the system level
- Identifying livelihood systems that make people (i) particularly vulnerable or resilient to AIDS impacts including food crises or (ii) particularly susceptible or resistant to HIV and food crises
- Impacts at the household and community levels
- Clarifying the effects of AIDS on labour availability and capital accumulation.
- Clarifying the effects of AIDS on off-farm economic activities and vice versa
- HIV/AIDS and access to and management of resources
- Long term and aggregate effects of AIDS on rural society and rural economy
- AIDS and knowledge related to livelihoods among the young and other vulnerable groups
- Proposed work should adhere to accepted ethical norms;
- The methods proposed should be rigorous and appropriate to the context and the issues;
- A clear link should be described between the work proposed and the impacts expected;
- Proposals should show how progress towards those impacts would be monitored and evaluated.
- Proposals must address one or more of the priority themes.
- Proposals must involve substantial contribution by at least one local institution from Malawi, Zambia and South Africa and should be submitted by such an institution. Partnerships are encouraged in order to access necessary skills and experience and to enhance local and national capacity. The involvement of local NGOs and CBOs is encouraged.
- Teams with multidisciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
- Proposals of up to $40,000 (South African Proposals) and of up to 2 years in duration can be supported. Larger initiatives can be considered but these should be presented in a phased fashion. Priority will be given to proposals with modest and realistic budgets. In general, RENEWAL seeks to add value to existing or recently concluded initiatives and co-funding of proposals is encouraged.
More information and a more detailed version of this Call and the criteria by which proposals will be assessed
can be obtained from
Interested parties should submit a concept
note by September 15, 2003 to one of the contacts listed below.
These should be of 2-3 pages and list the partners in the work, outline the problem to be addressed,
describe the methods that will be used, the outputs, the anticipated outcomes, the overall budget and the
amount requested from RENEWAL. Full proposals will then be invited from selected concept notes.
Southern African Regional Poverty Network
Human Sciences Research Council
Pretoria, South Africa, 0001
Tel: + 27 (0) 12 302 2334
Mr. Albert Chalabesa
Deputy director, SCRB
Mount Makulu, P/B7
Chilanga - Zambia
Tel: +260 (1) 278130 (land)
Mobile: +260 (0) 96767185
Dr Grace M. Malindi
Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation
P.O. Box 30134
Capital City, Lilongwe 1
Tel: +26501789265 (direct); +265 1525560
Mobile: +265 843743;
Fax: +265 1788168
Mrs. Esther Mede
P.O. Box 30301
Capital City, Lilongwe 3
Tel: +265 1795332