As many of you know, this summer I will be volunteering for 3 months in Tanzania with the Veterinarians without Borders Young Volunteers Program as part of their Volunteers for Healthy Animals and Healthy Communities (V4H2) project. Before I depart, Veterinarians without Borders has asked me to fundraise to help offset some of the costs associated with the work we will be doing there. All proceeds will go directly to Veterinarians without Borders.
In the global south, more than 90 per cent of food animals are raised by subsistence farmers, yet these small-scale livestock producers, the majority of whom are women, have very limited access to animal health services. Aside from the risks associated with the loss of valuable livestock who provide important protein and/or income for poor households, zoonotic diseases that can be passed from animals to humans also offer a very real threat to human health. For over ten years, Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB/VSF) has been sending Canadian Veterinarians and Vet students to poor communities around the world to help increase the knowledge and skills of small-scale farmers to keep their cows, chickens, goats, pigs, guinea fowl and other livestock healthy, well-fed and housed securely.
Volunteers for Healthy Animals and Healthy Communities (V4H2), a project funded through the Volunteer-Cooperation Program of Global Affairs Canada, allows VWB/VSF to substantially increase the number of Canadian volunteers it is able to send overseas. Over five years (2015 to 2020), 102 Canadian volunteers will work with local organizations and community partners in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Lao PDR, and Vietnam to help create integrated animal health systems that will help to strengthen the livelihoods and household nutrition of small-scale farmers.
In Tanzania, under the supervision of Dr. Roger Thomson, I will be helping to carry out important educational outreach programs in rural communities regarding the importance of animal welfare and husbandry. We will be helping to train locals to deliver vaccinations and refine animal husbandry practices in order to improve the health and welfare of a variety of livestock species, including poultry, cows, and goats. Each community in Tanzania takes local ownership for the project, allowing villagers to tailor assistance to their needs. In Tanzania, the more each village learns, the better chance it has at creating an independent, thriving community. We're helping it happen.
This opportunity encompasses everything I am passionate about. Every day I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of the people and animals I encounter. Few things give me more joy than knowing I was able to help give someone a smile, or to help an animal feel content, well cared for, and safe. This makes me wholeheartedly committed to the program and our objectives, and I look forward to an incredibly rewarding experience. I am very excited for the opportunity to express my natural compassion for people and animals by working with my team in Tanzania to implement ideas that will directly improve the lives of the people and animals living in developing areas.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this, and for sharing in this experience with me through your support, encouragement, and excitement!