In response to the growing number of children orphaned by AIDS, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Programme and other partners have implemented Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools in some African countries. These are designed to empower orphans and other vulnerable children aged 12 to 18 years who live in communities where HIV/AIDS has had a strong impact on food security. A JFFLS seeks to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable boys and girls and provide them with opportunities for the future, while minimizing the risk of adopting negative coping behaviours. To increase these children's selfesteem and livelihood prospects, a JFFLS imparts agricultural knowledge and life skills to orphaned and other vulnerable girls and boys. The knowledge and skills not only empower the children economically, but also help them to become responsible citizens with positive values regarding gender and human rights. This training manual was developed by FAO and WFP, with input from people working for agricultural ministries and non-governmental organizations that are involved in JFFLS. The manual was written for the staff of government ministries, NGOs and faith-based organizations (FBOs) working with rural communities in developing countries. It is intended to support their response to the AIDS and orphan crisis by empowering orphaned and vulnerable children through JFFLS. The manual provides details on how to set up, operate and sustain a JFFLS. This manual incorporates experience from people working with orphaned and vulnerable children living in areas with high HIV prevalence levels in Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The manual is generic and is meant to be used in different regions of the world. It can be adapted for use in areas where HIV prevalence is still very low but children are made vulnerable by extreme poverty, trafficking and conflict.This Getting started! manual comprises two parts. The first part provides background information on the JFFLS approach, its origins and guiding principles. The second part describes how to initiate and manage a JFFLS. This part is divided into nine chapters, each representing a step that needs to be taken to implement a school.
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