This paper reviewed literature on the role of family chickens in poverty alleviation, food security and HIV/AIDS mitigation with particular reference to Botswana Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (BONEPWA+). Family chickens play an important role in the nutrition and income generation of households in Botswana. Secondary sources of data collected from the family chicken project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and currently implemented by BONEPWA+ were evaluated. The project supports vulnerable and disadvantaged groups such as home-based care patients and volunteers, out-of-school youths, widows/widowers, orphans and vulnerable children, female-headed households, people living with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS. Thirty-one project groups have been supported countrywide. This review highlights the contribution of family chickens to the livelihoods of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). A total of 750 PLWHA directly benefitted from the project while 4500 indirectly benefited. Family chickens were consumed and sold to meet immediate family needs (e.g. the purchase of food and clothing), as well as to purchase other livestock (mainly goats) and building material. From October 2005 to September 2010, 6000 chickens were sold while 250 goats were purchased from the chicken proceeds. Money from chicken sales was also used to fund transport to health facilities for medical treatment, to pay school fees and to purchase school requisites for children. These data indicate that family chickens play an important role in food security, nutrition security, poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS mitigation and economic empowerment of the vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the communities.
Key words: Family chickens, HIV/AIDS, moringa, PLWHA, selenium, small livestock.
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