ON THE GROUND: VETAID

Scheme: Three projects which provide veterinary support to livestock farmers in Somaliland, east Africa, a country recovering from civil war and affected by drought.

Funding: Around £700,000 over three years, comprising £372,907 from the Community Fund, £264,0000 from Comic Relief and £67,995 from the British Council and UNHCR.

Objectives: To improve the food security and livelihoods of the impoverished and predominantly pastoral population of Somaliland.

With a legacy of civil war and scant resources, livestock is the mainstay of the Somaliland economy. There are also refugees continuing to stream back from Ethiopia who are completely destitute and the government does not have the resources to provide support services.

VETAID's Pastoral Project works in parts of the worst affected areas of Somaliland where farmers raise sheep, goats, camels and some cattle. The NGO provides training and a start-up kit of veterinary drugs and equipment to community animal health workers. It also provides herder information and has established animal treatment days. Under the project, private veterinary associations receive training to encourage them to provide advice and drug sales services to community animal health workers.

The Agro Pastoral Development Project operates in areas of the country where arable farming is carried out. The project is similar to the Pastoral Project but also involves agricultural initiatives such as training farmers to use camels to pull ploughs and introducing the growing of fodder for animals and other crops to feed the community. Local women are also trained in dairy hygiene.

The Advocacy and Networking project involves collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock and local and international NGOs. VETAID has influenced the drafting of legislation which is intended to legitimise the role of community animal health workers and vet associations.

It has also run workshops between the Ministry of Agriculture and vet associations, designed to establish a licensing system for selling drugs and to draw up guidelines to help solve the problem of land enclosure - where people illegally enclose land to grow crops, which stops livestock farmers from grazing their animals.

As part of the scheme, local communities select people for training as animal health workers and provide training for them in partnership with vet groups. The project is also carrying out field studies on the subject, including the role of women in livestock development and land degradation and resource use. The results will be shared with all partner organisations.

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