How we help

1 Region – 12 Challenges

Over time, our commitment has grown beyond our initial focus on animal health. We pursue holistic development cooperation and humanitarian aid, and in response to the many challenges we face, we advocate for a wide range of issues that positively impact the lives of East Africa’s rural population.

  • Animal Welfare

    At the heart of our work is the welfare and protection of animals in our project countries. The pastoral livestock management we promote in our projects ensures a species-appropriate conditions for the farm animals.

  • Climate Change Adaptation

    Extreme weather events such as droughts and severe floods are not uncommon in East Africa. As climatic conditions change, they are becoming increasingly frequent and prolonged.

  • Food Hygiene

    For pastoralists, animal products are essential for their food- and income security. However, the conditions under which meat, milk and eggs are produced, processed and sold are unfortunately often not particularly hygienic. Foodborne infections are thus encouraged and shape a great threat to human health.

  • Food Security

    We support people in acute and chronic food insecurity. Conflicts, flight, natural disasters or animal diseases are often the cause of extreme poverty and malnutrition. Here we help the affected families by providing food or feed for their animals. After crisis, we are there to help with reconstruction.

  • Veterinary Medicine

    Veterinary services such as vaccinations, deworming, feed management as well as treatment of sick animals form the focus of our projects. To ensure these services, the education and training of animal health workers is an important pillar of our work.

  • Empowering Women

    In East Africa,  women are disadvantaged in many respects, because traditional role models and social structures limit their rights and freedoms. They often have no access to education or have learned only few basics and therefore have few opportunities to earn their own income and are thus dependent on male family members.

  • One Health

    Healthy people. Healthy animals. Healthy environment.

    One Health is a collaborative, multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach that addresses local, regional, national and global levels to achieve optimized outcomes of sustainable and holistic health and well-being for people, animals and their shared environment.

  • WASH

    The pastoral way of life is adapted to living in water-scarce areas. Water scarcity is nevertheless one of the main challenges. In addition, hygiene and inadequate sanitation are other issues that primarily affect the health of people in East Africa.

  • Peacebuilding

    Scarce natural resources, such as pasture and water as well as widespread poverty are major causes of violent conflict in East Africa. More frequent droughts and other climate-related disasters are increasingly worsening the situation for pastoralists. We are mitigating the potential for conflict.

  • Education

    Building up or expanding people’s skills is an essential approach of our work. The aim is to enable people as well as authorities to solve challenges themselves – even after the project has ended. Through training courses, people are taught skills that can be used to cover basic needs and provide (more) income for their own families in the long term.

  • Income Security

    Few people in East Africa have a secure income. However, especially in exceptional situations, such as those caused by drought or flood, but also conflict and displacement, a secure source of income is the anchor for many families. We therefore support pastoralists in diversifying their sources of income in order to be able to farm more independently of unpredictable influences.

  • Environmental Protection

    We make an important contribution to protecting the environment in our project regions in East Africa and also to climate protection worldwide. We promote organic farming and extensive animal husbandry adapted to the ecological situation, improving biodiversity, safeguarding genetic diversity and preserving habitats for flora and fauna.

Why is One Health relevant?

The Earth is an interconnected ecosystem in which all living things, humans, animals and the environment interact. Most recently, avian flu, Ebola, and the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that diseases from the animal world threaten human existence. Likewise, we see how human activity disrupts nature in many ways: we threaten wildlife and plant habitat by ever-expanding land for agriculture and housing development. We are destabilizing our climate system and adverse weather phenomena such as droughts and severe weather are increasing. Species extinction is proceeding at an unprecedented rate of loss. Diversity is important because it has a major impact on the stability of natural ecosystems – such as clean water and air, or food.

Christian Griebenow, Managing Director, VSF Germany
Christian Griebenow, Managing Director, VSF Germany
„Many new diseases are emerging in livestock and wildlife. These diseases cause problems especially in areas where health systems are underdeveloped and there are no regular veterinary checks and surveillance. Disease control (i.e., pandemic prevention) using the One Health approach takes human, animal, and environmental health into consideration, and looks for the most efficient and safest way to detect the signs of disease in all three areas early and responds accordingly. (1/2)“
Christian Griebenow
Managing Director, VSF Germany
(Berlin, Germany)
„An effective and safe way to achieve this, following the One Health approach, is to monitor and where possible treat the animals to detect the root of a disease and control the incidence of infection. Unfortunately, this has not been successful in the emergence and spread of COVID-19. In the case of rift valley fever - a zoonosis with pandemic potential - we are working together with the International Livestock Research Institute and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute to explore the fundamentals of this disease and to understand this dangerous disease for both African and European countries and to combat it at its source. Because we all have understood at the latest since COVID 19: Pandemics know no borders! (2/2)“
Christian Griebenow
Managing Director, VSF Germany
(Berlin, Germany)

Do you want to find out more about our work?

Dr. Martin Barasa

Head of Programmes