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Helping HIV/AIDS Survivors Find Health & Independence

Christopher Mbaiyu is one of the beneficiaries of the International Food Relief Program in  Ngoketunjia Division sponsored by USAID, and implemented by Nascent in Cameroon. “After being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2012, life became a nightmare for me. Battling with the illness and facing poverty and hunger at the same time left me totally devastated, with a constant fear of death.”

“Even with my love for gardening as a farmer, I was restricted by poor knowledge on improved gardening techniques and lack of improved seeds. My 10 square meters garden with ‘waterleaf’ and tomato never yielded enough profit for my feeding and other basic needs” Christopher lives in Bamuka village of Ngohketunjia Division in the North West Region of Cameroon with high food insecurity and HIV prevalence rates of up to 6.3%.

The Solution

The solution for Christopher was not to triple the size of his farm and plant more ‘water leaf’ and tomato, but to diversify his vegetable production to beet roots, carrots, green pepper, celery, etc.

Through the 2015 IFRP in Ngohketunjia, Christopher alongside some 1200 PLWHIV received training on gardening, nutrition and seeds to start up their individual/family gardens. “Thanks to the gardening training and seeds I received, which enabled me to diversify my crop production, I am able to make at least 15,000 FCFA from my garden harvest every month. I hope to expand my cultivation in the future.” Christopher also joined a People Living With Aids group which is coordinated as part of the program. This community has helped him cope and find purpose despite persisting social stigma.