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WorldFish’s anti-HIV/AIDS and rainforest ornamental fish culture projects win World Bank awards

WorldFish scientists in Malawi and Cameroon have won the World Bank's Global Development Marketplace awards for projects that offer cutting-edge solutions to some of the most pressing social and economic concerns of our time

The competition is a World Bank initiative to identify and fund the best and most innovative ideas in development. It promotes innovation through early stage seed funding for projects around the world.

In Malawi, Daniel Jamu's “Adapting Aquaculture to HIV/AIDS-affected Households” project aims to make fish farming a new weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It aims to help households in Malawi combat HIV/Aids through simple and affordable aquaculture. Developed in collaboration with World Vision, Malawi, it is a new approach in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The project targets poor orphans and widow-headed households struggling with the disease. The project will develop farming methods that can be used by these households to raise fish as a source of nutrition. The households often lack the skills, labor and capital needed for conventional aquaculture. They are also isolated and lack access to producer organizations and markets.

As fish is a rich source of protein, lipids, calcium, vitamin A and micro-nutrients, it will improve the health and well-being of households and hence increase the effectiveness anti-retroviral drugs.

The fish can also be sold to provide a steady cash income to meet medical and nutritional needs, and the fishpond used as bank to raise larger sums to meet emergencies.

The one-year project targets o ne thousand resource-poor households in Chingale, Zomba West, Malawi, and aims to raise their fish production and consumption and income by at least 25 per cent.

“ Beyond the lifetime of the project, these activities will also contribute to the development of cross-sectoral rural investment strategies aimed at strengthening the economic base of HIV/AIDS-affected populations,” says Daniel Jamu.

The award, worth US$20,000, recognizes that HIV/AIDS is not only a health issue but also a developmental and social issue, and that aquaculture can make an important contribution to supporting the needs and strengths of HIV/AIDS-stricken households.

Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries. Tens of thousands Malawians die of AIDS every year. Limited resources and low fertility of farms are serious problems.

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In Cameroon, Randy Brummett was awarded US$150,000 to implement a project that will help establish sustainable aquaculture of ornamental fish in the Lower Guinean rainforest rivers and sustain and empower rainforest communities.

“Some 8 million inhabitants of the Lower Guinean rainforest depend upon river ecosystems for their livelihoods,” says Randy Brummett. “Increasing population, poverty, and governance arrangements that falsely value biodiversity and disenfranchise local people have led to habitat destruction and over-exploitation, threatening both livelihoods and biodiversity alike.”

His “Sustainable Use of African Rainforest Rivers” project aims to develop community-based business models to raise and sell ornamental fish through a multi-stage capacity building program. It will be established in three communities representing about 4,000 to 4,500 inhabitants. It expects to develop commercial aquaculture skills for at least 150 fishers and increase returns to local communities by at least 500 percent.

WorldFish studies have indicated that there is a great diversity of ornamental fish –over 200 species – in African rivers, but low in abundance. The trade in these ornamental fishes is currently dominated by a few middlemen using unsustainable practices that lead to average ornamental fish mortalities of 85 percent. Ornamental fish is valued at some US$1.8 million per tonne in international markets.

WorldFish's Malawi and Cameroon projects are meant as pilots providing demonstration of future opportunities to scale up and replicate in other African countries.

KEY CONTACTS:

Daniel M Jamu
PIJO House 
Opposite Malawi Police Service-Eastern Division HeadQuarters
P.O. Box 229, Zomba, MALAWI
Tel: (+265-1) 527 151, (+265-1) 527 337, (+265-1) 527 195
Fax: (+265-1) 1527 344
E-mail: worldfish-malawi@cgiar.org / d.jamu@cgiar.org