Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Africa. For more than a decade before 2016, Ethiopia’s economy grew at annual rates between 8% and 11%, making the country one of the fastest-growing economies among the 188 International Monetary Fund (IMF) member countries. This growth was driven by government investment in infrastructure, as well as sustained progress in the agricultural and service sectors. More than 70% of Ethiopia’s population is still employed in the agricultural sector, but services have surpassed agriculture as the principal source of GDP.

VSF Germany is one of the humanitarian and development actors operating in the country to support development initiatives and humanitarian needs of the people living in the regions where we operate in the country. The work of VSF Germany in the country has contributed to reducing the impact of livestock diseases with severe impact and improves animal health through a viable local community-based animal health delivery system.

VSF Germany is also active in addressing risks of zoonotic diseases by implementing project activities according to the One Health approach by improving access to quality drugs and vaccines, and linking community-based animal health delivery systems with government veterinary services and institutions.

VSF Germany has also worked to:

  • improve access to safe water and sanitation, proper nutrition, and health services for vulnerable communities;
  • improve livestock productivity as well as crop yields and diversity among small-holder and subsistence farmers, pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and other communities in need;
  • increase communities’ resilience to drought and other environmental challenges;
  • enhance economic opportunities for women and youths; and
  • develop the capacity of communities and government institutions in initiating peace and conflict resolution mechanisms.

Project in the Spotlight

Pursuing Pastoral Resilience through Improved Animal Health Services in Pastoral Areas of Afar Region

Small ruminants are the main source of livelihood for the poor pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. They are important assets of the livestock owners in the lowlands and highlands of Ethiopia. Over the last two decades, the viral livestock disease peste des petits ruminantes (PPR) has spread from the lowland pastoral communities to many districts in the highlands of Ethiopia. PPR, together with sheep and goat pox (SGP), has caused and is still causing severe asset loss for the poor livestock owners.

In order to address this issue, VSF Germany implemented the project entitled “Pursuing Pastoral Resilience through improved animal health services in pastoral areas of Ethiopia” funded by the EU through FAO. The project aims to progressively control PPR to its eventual eradication, to contribute to the control of SGP and to the control of other trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs) through improved disease surveillance. The project has a total budget of EUR 245,000. The project was implemented in the 32 Woredas of Afar Regional State from January 2018 to November 2018.

The project significantly contributed to the control of small ruminant diseases, and specifically PPR, in Afar. A total of 2,410,519 sheep and goats (96.4% of the target) were vaccinated against PPR, benefitting a total of 18,689 households of which 3,228 are headed by women. Moreover, a lot of capacity building and material support was provided by the project in the target Woredas. A total of 243 (incl. 34 female) technical staff (veterinarian, animal health assistants and technicians) benefitted from the training.

In addition to this, on-the-job practical training was provided to a total of 390 CAHWs (incl. 29 women) in the target Woredas of Afar, as well as other regions, as FAO and VSF Germany supported the PPR Branch Coordination Office (BCOs) based in Amhara and Tigray Regions in providing training on Participatory Disease Surveillance.

The project enabled VSF Germany to get additional new funding from FAO for a follow-on project and continued implementing the project to achieve the long-term objective of the project and the country target to eliminate PPR by 2027.

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Beneficiary - trained as Community Animal Health Worker

Livelihood Based Drought Emergency Response in Hamer, Dasenech and Nyagatom Woredas of South Omo Zone, SNNPR

Mamo Lophere Losiyaw

I was trained and supported with all the necessary veterinary equipment which qualifies me as CAHW. I would like to thank VSF Germany for giving me such an opportunity. Now, I am serving my community in providing animal health services. Even though the project is being phased out, I will continue to do my job. Dasenech Woreda Livestock and Fishery Resource Office is supporting me in providing medicines required for my jobs. My life is being changed by my employment as a CAHW.

VSF Germany‘s Contribution to SDG Outcomes

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations calls for urgent action to end poverty and other deprivations. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our Project in the Spotlight contributes to achieving the following SDGs:

Country Director

Genene Regassa is a senior livestock specialist with in-depth experience and knowledge of pastoral livelihood systems in Ethiopia. As a veterinarian and development practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in the private sector, government, national and international NGOs and academia, Genene joined VSF Germany in 2011 as a senior livestock advisor before moving on to become Country Programme Manager and the main representative of VSF Germany in Ethiopia. Since 2014, he has been serving as the Country Director for the Ethiopia Programme.

genene(at)vsfg.org