02 January 2003,
This deadly combination "is threatening the backbone of Africa – the women who keep African societies going and whose work makes up the economic foundation of rural communities", Annan wrote in an opinion piece that was published in the International Herald Tribune on Monday.
In famines before the AIDS crisis, women proved more resilient than men. Their survival rate was higher, and their coping skills were stronger.
"Women were the ones that found alternative foods that could sustain their children in times of drought," Annan said. "As droughts happened once a decade or so, women who had experienced previous droughts were able to pass on survival techniques to younger women. Women are the ones that nurture social networks that can help spread the burden in times of famine."
But as AIDS eroded the health of
"We can and must build on those successes and replicate them elsewhere," Annan said. "For that, we need leadership, partnership and imagination from the international community and African governments. If we want to save