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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  • Trade

    In sub-Saharan Africa, 80% of the population lives off livestock farming. It is the principal engine of the local economy. By improving livestock production and access to markets, we fight hunger and poverty. We raise the awareness of livestock keepers to improve hygiene during milking and we support local cooperatives that market dairy products. We encourage agro-pastoralists to use the manure of their animals for their land in order to increase their production of fruit and vegetables. We also support villages in the creation of community banks that grant microcredits to their members for income generating activities.

  • Animal health

    Veterinary care in remote rural areas of Africa is often inadequate to ensure the optimum health of the herds. It is therefore essential for livestock keepers to create integrated veterinary networks. We encourage private veterinarians to set up a practice in rural areas, we train livestock keepers to become community animal health workers and we support national and local authorities responsible for livestock. This network looks after the health of the animals and raises the farmers' awareness of, in particular, the need for preventive and curative care and the quality and storage of feed.

  • Environment

    Climate change is increasingly responsible for damage on the African continent with prolonged droughts and devastating rains. Water and pastures are scarce. We support local water and pasture management committees which build and maintain water points above and below ground and assure compliance with respect to pasture agreements. The communities also create firebreaks to prevent fires destroying hundreds of hectares of grassland. They also build livestock 'corridors' to prevent transhumance from damaging forest and agricultural areas.

  • Training

    Thanks to participative and practical training where traditional knowledge is complemented with new insights, the African livestock keepers can better organize their future. They learn how to recognize and treat diseases; they learn how to read, write, and count; they learn how to negotiate, to keep accounting records; they learn the best way to nourish their animals; they learn how to increase their animal production…

  • Peace

    Peace is essential to the sustainable development of the local communities, livestock trade and the economy. In regions where water and grasslands are scarce, rival communities fight over feed and water for their animals. Armed cattle raids are not uncommon. We encourage representatives of opposing communities to reach agreements on the areas in which the various herds can graze and water.

  • Emergency

    Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium implements mainly sustainable development programs but also provides emergency aid when necessary. We distribute livestock feed or sell it at a considerably reduced price, but we also give cereals as food aid to the population. We pay the livestock keepers for work that benefits the whole community, like repairs of water points, schools, hospitals and roads. Thus they receive money immediately to purchase food. We also buy weakened animals from the livestock keepers and we pay the villagers for processing the meat which we later distribute, as food aid, to the most disadvantaged families.

  • Women

    Women play an important role in the local economy and the family, but in a number of African countries, they do not have the chance to fully develop themselves. The roles of men and women are strictly defined, including within livestock keeping. For certain animals, women have a right of ownership, for others, only a right of use. We support women by increasing their dignity and their economic independence via livestock keeping with, among other things, microcredit, training, and the distribution of small livestock.

  • Animals

    Large animals (cows, camels and donkeys) and small animals (goats, sheep, pigs, poultry, guinea-pigs and rabbits) are a source of food and income. They play a predominant role in food security and the local economy, and have an important social role, among others, in religious dowries and celebrations. Large animals are used for transport and constitute a ploughing force. Animals provide manure for growing crops in the fields. When people lose their herd, they lose their pride, their culture, their savings, and their food. By caring for the cattle and by increasing their production, together with the local population, we fight hunger and poverty.

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