The Regional Network on HIV/AIDS, Rural Livelihoods, and Food Security (RENEWAL) was launched in 2001. Facilitated by IFPRI, RENEWAL is a growing regional network-of-networks. Currently active in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia, RENEWAL comprises national networks of food- and nutrition-relevant organizations (public, private, and nongovernmental) together with partners in AIDS and public health. RENEWAL aims to enhance understanding of the worsening interactions between HIV/AIDS and food and nutrition security and to facilitate a comprehensive response to these interactions. The core pillars are locally prioritized action research, capacity strengthening, and policy communications. RENEWAL is operated on the idea that the process of developing networks is both a means and an end. Impact can be enhanced and sustained when locally prioritized research is linked with capacity strengthening and policy communications.
RENEWAL’s work has helped raise awareness among government agencies in South Africa of the importance of incorporating AIDS for their core business. The South African government established a Social Cluster Information Expert Working Group intended to advise departments on HIV/AIDS and food security using evidence, and the Departments of Social Development and Health have engaged with RENEWAL on a number of policy and technical initiatives.
RENEWAL was also directly involved in drafting a nutrition strategy for the U.S. Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The strategy, entitled “Report on Food and Nutrition for People Living with HIV/AIDS,” was produced in May 2006. And IFPRI was cited as a source in the World Health Organization Assembly resolution WHA57.14, which calls for an “integration of nutrition into a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS.