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.
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.
Livelihood Based Drought Emergency Response in Hamer, Dasenech and Nyagatom Woredas of South Omo Zone, SNNPR
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.
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:
VSF Germany supports healthcare management of livestock to improve production and productivity. Livestock provides labour and income, builds social capital, provides resources to maintain and improve livelihoods, increases financial capital, serves as a liquid assets and savings account and is a buffer against sudden disasters. Over decades, the involvement of VSF Germany in eradicating rinderpest and in the on-going peste des petits ruminants (PPR) eradication campaign has contributed significantly towards protecting livestock assets of the rural poor in Africa.
VSF Germany works to prevent and control zoonotic diseases to improve the safety of food of animal origin through better hygiene and raising awareness to protect the public health, and in particular children and the poor. Many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are linked to animals. Animal production also contributes to growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is of major concern worldwide. VSF Germany has embraced the One Health concept as an integrated programming approach in collaboration with human health and environmental actors to contribute to this goal.
Regular consumption of animal source foods improves children’s cognitive and physical development. Income from livestock can cover the costs of education. VSF Germany also contributes to capacity building for farmers and pastoralists to improve production/husbandry techniques/skills.
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.
He derives his motivation from the positive impact the Ethiopian Programme has on the lives of vulnerable communities. In 2018, he was delighted by the positive changes in the political environment that are opening up space for humanitarian and development assistance. Genene looks forward to a more robust partnership among the VSFs in the Greater Horn of Africa in order to expand the scale of our joint operations and coverage of the needs of the vulnerable communities in the region.