Paul Stuart, SAC CEO (crop, small)Our latest appeal is about Kakrao, western Kenya, a place where almost half the population lives below the poverty line and HIV/Aids is twice the national average. Send a Cow is running a project there, training local people to farm productively. Given the knowledge and support to make the most of their land, they will be able to eat well, earn an income, and stay as healthy as possible.

Here, Paul Stuart, CEO of Send a Cow, explains how crucial good nutrition is for people with HIV/Aids:

"In 2010, Caren Adhiambo from Kenya became very ill. She was admitted to hospital where she was diagnosed with HIV. Poverty and hunger were already part of her everyday life, and now she was faced with this devastating news.

Hunger means ARVs can't be effective

Various government and charity initiatives provide HIV medication to infected families for free or at a heavily discounted price. However, in order for these antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to be effective, individuals need to have a healthy and nutritious diet. And this is something most of the families we work with in Africa - including Caren’s - don’t have.

To make matters worse, if ARVs are taken on an empty stomach they can actually exacerbate hunger, causing crippling pains as well as fatigue and nausea. For Caren, the hunger pains were so severe she temporarily stopped taking her medication. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she ended up back in hospital.

This isn’t uncommon. Many people experiencing poverty and hunger decide to give up their medication. This leaves them in a highly vulnerable situation that could lead to their condition worsening, potentially progressing to AIDS, or even an early death.

HIV is a major issue in western Kenya

Caren Adhiambo and grandchildren, Kakrao Appeal, KenyaIn Caren’s community of Kakrao, western Kenya, many people face the same dilemma. HIV prevalence is more than double the national average and almost half the local population lives below the poverty line.

It’s clear that if we want people to be able to manage their HIV whilst leading healthier lives, we need to start addressing the issues of poverty and malnutrition head on. Medication alone is not the answer – we must start focusing on nutrition.

Our work in Kakrao will focus on nutrition

We will be providing the community with the training and resources to grow their own nutritious food. As a result, they will be able to feed their families and increase the effectiveness of their HIV medication. We’ll also be helping them triple their daily income, so that families like Caren’s can lift themselves out of poverty permanently.

With your help, we know we can give families in Kakrao the chance to live healthier, more productive lives."

Find out how you can help today