In Africa, millions of people survive by their livestock. Yet veterinary care is often insufficiently available. When farmers lose their herds to disease, drought or conflict, they lose everything: their pride, their culture, their savings and their livelihood. By helping to care for livestock and improve production, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium supports local populations in their struggle against hunger and poverty.

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29 July 2015

Burundi: creating opportunities for the local population

On the Burundian countryside poverty prevails: 7 out of 10 inhabitants are hungry. Children are only eating a poor meal twice a day. Due to the high population density there is a shortage of fertile ground and thus food is scarce. Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium wants to do something to improve this situation. That’s why we started a development program in Burundi in 2014.

As in all the countries where we have projects, here too Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium invests in livestock keeping. That is because livestock is a source of proteins and provides the owners with revenues, and it improves agricultural productivity because of the manure. Last year we started some initiatives in Burundi together with UCODE-AMR, our partner organisation. Our goal is to improve the living conditions in the poor northern province of Ngozi.

Livestock for the disadvantaged

An important part of the new development program is to develop small livestock keeping in Ngozi. In order to do this, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium and our partner organisation will give 700 very disadvantaged families 4 goats each. Since we want to improve the situation for these families in a sustainable way, we support them in other ways as well: we provide them with goat pens, three months of free coaching and veterinary services from our animal health workers, a vegetable garden and seeds, and small plants in order to produce fodder themselves. In addition we provide them with training. They learn how to take care of their goats in the best possible way and how they can use the manure to fertilize their lands or make compost. We also advise the families about nutrition and well-balanced diets, family planning, health mutual funds and we learn them how to read and write – things they weren’t taught before as they are trying to survive in the margins of society. Within the first year these families are already helping another family by giving them two baby goats from the first litter.

Empower women

In Burundi, we also help 600 disadvantaged women (most of them are single mothers) to enhance their income in a sustainable way. At this moment we are supporting ten women’s groups to start up a chicken farm. Each group receives 10 hens and 2 roosters and gets assistance building a chicken shack, receives some poultry feed, a training about keeping chickens and gets support when they sell the raised animals. Like this, the women are able to look after their children and inspire and support other women in the community.

Healthy animals, a better life

Finally, we are setting up a network of community animal health workers. No less than 3,000 families keeping livestock are benefiting from this, because their herd stays healthy and grows steadily. Their capital and income increase. Like this, 16,800 children, women and men are getting enough to eat and have the chance of a better life.

Make a donation

Do you want to support our activities? The farmers and livestock keepers in Burundi need your help. Your donation of €40 is worth even more: with the help of subsidies of the Belgian government a donation of €40 has a worth of €100 (and it is tax deductible!)

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