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Civil-society organisation

Depending on livestock

by Vétérinaires Sans Frontières

In depth

Thanks to support from VSFG, Siciido Samatar, a Somalian milk vendor, was able to buy a refrigerator.

Thanks to support from VSFG, Siciido Samatar, a Somalian milk vendor, was able to buy a refrigerator.

Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Germany (VSFG) is a non-governmental organisation that strives to improve the livelihoods of east African people who depend on animal husbandry. Some 24 million people in the region depend on cattle, camels, sheep, goats and chicken.

Milk, eggs and meat are important basic food. Animals, moreover, provide raw materials such as leather, hair and wool. They are used to carry loads and pull carts, and their cultural relevance is great. Many people have no other source of monetary income than the trade in animals and animal products.

In many areas of east Africa, however, even basic veterinarian services are unavailable. Violent conflict, climate change and population growth are exacerbating problems. VSFG projects are designed to allow people to use natural resources sustainably and to resolve conflicts by peaceful means.

VSFG experts teach herders in animal-health issues for example. Relevant topics include how to apply vaccinations and how to treat the most common diseases. Other projects provide farmers with agricultural tools and seed. The idea is to safeguard people’s livelihoods and food security.

The organisation is also involved in short-term disaster relief. Its approach goes beyond merely providing food and includes cash-for-work schemes in reconstruction, improving the economic situation of the families concerned and boosting the local economy in general. VSFG thus does not focus on animal health in a narrow sense. Its mission is to promote integrated rural development.

VSFG has been active in east Africa for more than 20 years. The head office is in Nairobi. The organisation was initially founded by students in Hanover in 1991. It is a member of the umbrella organisations VSF Europe.

 

Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Europe:
http://www.vsfe.org/