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VWB/VSF in Africa

A man in a blue jacket stands with a herd of goats in front of low lying brush.

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Map of VWB's work in Africa

What We're Working On

In Sub-Saharan Africa, investing in animal health is essential not just for the well-being of animals but also for the prosperity of the local communities that rely on them for their livelihoods. This region faces unique challenges due to climate change, which underscores the urgency of adopting sustainable and climate-smart agricultural practices to adapt to our ever-changing world.

At VWB/VSF, we are deeply committed to working hand-in-hand with local partners and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through a range of One Health projects. One initiative is the extensive Volunteers Engaged in Gender-Responsive Technical Solutions (VETS) program, generously funded by Global Affairs Canada. From 2020-2027, this program will deploy 190 dedicated Canadian volunteers on behalf of Veterinarians Without Borders North America/Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Amérique du Nord to Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal. The program's primary goal is to uplift the economic and social well-being of the world's most marginalized individuals, with a special focus on empowering women and girls, across six countries in Africa and Asia.

In South Sudan, VWB/VSF's local team is working to implement interventions that strengthen agricultural resilience, reduce vulnerabilities, and enhance the capacity of local communities to cope with challenges at the national level.

Similarly, our Community One Health Empowerment Rwanda and Senegal (COHERS) program is in close partnership with local organizations. Together, we are working to improve health outcomes in rural communities, with a specific emphasis on marginalized women and girls. This initiative is dedicated to advancing public health, veterinary care, and environmental policies under a single, inclusive umbrella. Our approach balances the well-being of humans, animals, and ecosystems throughout the region.

Current Projects in Africa

Keisha, a volunteer, chatting with a community animal health worker in Ghana

VETS Program in Ghana

PROGRAM DETAILS
PROJECT DATES: 2020 - 2027 
FUNDING PARTNERS:

Global Affairs Canada 

OVERVIEW:

Using a traditionally rooted, free-roaming livestock ownership model, animals in Ghana are susceptible to rampant disease transmission, which can lead to severe health challenges and mortality.

Not only do these diseases impact animals and their owners through reduced animal outputs, income, and nutrient potentials, but also through the spread of zoonotic disease (diseases that can pass from animals to humans).

Through our Volunteers Engaged in Gender-Responsive Technical Solutions (VETS) program in Ghana, VWB/VSF is working with local partners to improve climate-smart, resilient agricultural practices that specifically target women farmers. The program is also supporting existing SEND and GAPNET projects in the Northern, Southern Greater Accra, Upper West, and Upper East Regions of Ghana.

VETS is also working with existing women’s groups in Ghana to support women in their food production/farming.

In-country Partners: 

GAPNET, SEND

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VETS volunteers in Kenya

VETS Program in Kenya

PROGRAM DETAILS
PROJECT DATES: 2020 - 2027 
FUNDING PARTNERS:

Global Affairs Canada

OVERVIEW:

In Kenya, smallholder farmers dominate the dairy industry in; this means more households are involved in the Kenyan dairy value chain, as compared with other dairy farmers globally. For example, Canadian farmers may have hundreds of dairy cattle in one herd compared to the average smallholder Kenyan farmer’s 1-3 cattle. Because of this, the Kenyan dairy industry contributes to the livelihoods of many farmers, many of whom lack formal economic opportunities and are subsistence farming, wholly relying on livestock for income and nutrition.

Our Volunteers Engaged in Gender-Responsive Technical Solutions (VETS) program in Kenya works closely with two Kenyan dairies — Wakulima and Meru — to promote and support sustainable, inclusive economic development and enhanced employment opportunities for vulnerable groups, particularly women and youth.

This also includes integrated farming solutions, including training to encourage the use of sustainable fuel sources, (organic manure), the establishment of zero grazing units, the recycling of effluent water discharge and the planting of resilient fodder crops to improve soil fertility, minimizing deforestation and promote climate-smart agriculture.

In-country Partners: 

Wakulima, Meru

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Volunteer instructing environmental practices in Senegal

VETS Program in Senegal

PROGRAM DETAILS
PROJECT DATES: 2020 - 2027 
FUNDING PARTNERS:

Global Affairs Canada

OVERVIEW:

In Senegal, the Savannah landscape and climate lend themselves to livestock rearing as a core economic activity in rural areas, representing 5.5% of GDP and contributing to the livelihoods of 30% of households nationwide.

Health challenges related to high levels of human-animal interactions are compounded by human-caused environmental pressures. With the majority of the population in Senegal living in rural areas, the impacts of unsustainable farming practices and climate change are causing significant challenges.

With VWB/VSF's partner in Senegal, the Volunteers Engaged in Gender-Responsive Technical Solutions (VETS) program is aiming to improve partner capacity to deliver inclusive gender-equitable One Health programming at the community level.

We are providing training to farmers and other agricultural workers on herd health, flock management, and climate-smart agriculture practices. As well, we are supporting forest replenishment and better use of animal waste to improve soil fertility and increase crop production.

In-country Partners: 

AVSF

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Women in Rwanda smiling

COHERS (RWANDA & SENEGAL)

PROGRAM DETAILS
PROJECT DATES: 2023-2027
FUNDING PARTNERS:

Global Affairs Canada 

OVERVIEW:

Community One Health Empowerment in Rwanda and Senegal (COHERS) is an initiative dedicated to advancing One Health Empowerment in Rwanda and Senegal. This program represents a comprehensive approach, combining public health, animal welfare, and environmental stewardship. It embraces a holistic One Health Model, uniting public health, veterinary sciences, and environmental policies to ensure the well-being of humans, animals, and ecosystems. Operating with on-the-ground partners and local community members in both Rwanda and Senegal, COHERS is contributing to international public health and sustainable development objectives. 

In-country Partners: 

Agronomes et Veterinaires sans Frontieres, Water Aid, University of Global Health Equity, University of Guelph and Institute Of Health Economics

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SOUTH SUDAN

PROGRAM DETAILS
PROJECT DATES: 2022-2024
FUNDING PARTNERS:

USAID, Zoetis Foundation

OVERVIEW:

In South Sudan, VWB/VSF's on-the-ground team is working with local community members to enhance livestock farmers' food security and livelihood resilience, specifically in Torit County of Eastern Equatoria State (South Sudan). In these regions, traditional systems of producing livestock, such as goats, cows, and camels, and poultry (chicken), contribute significantly to local communities' socioeconomic well-being and food security. 

Currently, our team is training farmers in modern agricultural practices, helping to distribute farm animals, conducting training on the prevention of zoonotic disease transmission, (diseases that spread from animals to humans), providing vaccination campaigns, training in animal disease surveillance, and more.

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  • COHERS

    Community One Health Empowerment Rwanda & Senegal (COHERS) is a strategically designed initiative that aims to address One Health Empowerment in Rwanda and Senegal.
    Read more »
  • Ghana

    Since 2015, VWB/VSF has been working in Ghana to provide skilled volunteers to assist local partners in improving the nutrition and livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
    Read more »
  • Kenya

    The Kenyan dairy industry contributes to the livelihoods of many farmers who lack formal economic opportunities and are subsistence farmers, wholly relying on livestock for income and nutrition.
    Read more »
  • Senegal

    In Senegal, Veterinarians Without Borders provides training to pastoralists on herd health, flock management, and climate-smart agriculture practices.   
    Read more »
  • South Sudan

    South Sudan is facing a state of emergency around food security and livelihoods due to longstanding violent political conflicts and the effects of climate change.
    Read more »

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  • The most rewarding part of my placements was helping others and seeing the many lives that are impacted along the way.
    - Nikki Sheedy

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