International development charity Send a Cow has launched a new campaign to help train new para-vets in the east African country of Rwanda.
Friend of Send a Cow is a new scheme set up specifically for the UK veterinary community, giving individuals and practices the opportunity to improve animal management and welfare in Rwanda.
Founded by West Country dairy farmers in 1988, Send a Cow no longer flies cows from the UK to Africa but improved animal management has remained a core part of the charity’s work. Working with farming families for up to five years, Send a Cow provides practical training and support in sustainable farming, business skills and gender equality across six countries in Africa.
Smallholder farmers in their projects with a keen interest in livestock management are given the opportunity to be trained as a para-vet. These men and women receive additional, specialised training in the principles of animal health and welfare and use this newly acquired knowledge to support other farmers and livestock in their community.
Guadance is just of one of Send a Cow’s trained para-vets. She is 32 and lives in Nyaruguru District, in south west Rwanda. Before her training, she had longed to provide help and services to farmers but did not have the skills to do so. Guadance was chosen from her community to become a para-vet in 2014. Her training has provided her with the skills to undertake routine animal husbandry procedures such as dehorning and parasite control, as well as providing support to senior vets in the community.
“I am enjoying being a trainer in the community, and the whole community now has access to better animal health services. My family are now in good health, our children are eating healthily and we can pay their school fees. This is all because of Send a Cow.”
Thomas, another para-vet living in Rwanda, shares: “After seeing how knowledge could be a source of change, I was inspired to become a para-vet to support farmers in my group. Now people in the community call me Vet Doctor – I love being part of a team that can help farmers look after their animals.”
Send a Cow has enjoyed the support of the veterinary profession for many years and is now offering a unique way for vets and those across the sector to get involved by becoming a Friend of Send a Cow. The package is designed for those who would like to raise funds for the charity’s work, with those across the veterinary sector, including both practices and companies, coming together to support farming families in East Africa.
President of the British Veterinary Association, Simon Doherty, Trustee and Ambassador for Send a Cow, said: “I have seen for myself how Send a Cow’s very practical approach to sustainable livestock farming is transforming lives. Appropriate veterinary and para-veterinary intervention is critical to ensuring that smallholder farmers in Africa are rearing healthy and productive animals, and maintaining optimal standards of welfare.”
Practices and companies can become a Friend of Send a Cow from just £500. Member benefits include the opportunity to talk to Send a Cow experts to gain an insight into animal management from an African perspective, and the opportunity to partner on a range of events including challenge events and client dinners. To find more visit https://www.sendacow.org/friend-of-send-a-cow