KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
THE United States (US) government will next year provide over US$400 million towards HIV/AIDS programmes in Zambia through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), says US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz.
And acting President Inonge Wina has acknowledged the support the American government is providing to Zambia under PEPFAR.
Mr Schultz said the amount is in addition to the over US$3 billion already given to Zambia in the past 12 years through PEPFAR.
He said this during the swearing- in ceremony for Rural Aquaculture Promotion and Linking Income, Food, and Environment projects Peace Corps volunteers in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Schultz urged the 70 Peace Corps volunteers to help promote food security through their agriculture technologies, and help community members in villages to fight poverty through transfer of knowledge.
“You will be complementing the efforts of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and improving livelihoods of households, improving fish ponds management, teach people harvesting techniques, integrating aquaculture, and promoting small-scale businesses by organising farmer groups,” he said.
He said Zambia has a problem of malnutrition due to lack of protein, especially among rural residents because they depend on nshima, whose nutritional value lacks protein.
And Mrs Wina acknowledged the support the American government has provided to Zambia.
Mrs Wina, in a speech read for her by Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Sylvia Chalikosa, said the American government has also supported Zambia through the Centre for Disease Control and United States Agency for International Development.
She said the support through Peace Corps volunteers extends the much-needed human resources to complement the staffing levels in the ministries of Fisheries and Livestock, and Lands and Natural Resources, especially in rural areas.
“Peace Corps volunteers working under the forestry department in the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources strive to improve food security and nutrition, thereby improving the livelihood and resilience of rural communities in ways that both conserve the environment and forest resources,” she said.
Mrs Wina said forest resources like the mukula tree are under siege from illegal loggers and traders and that their involvement will be to help keep this “scourge” in check.