The Small Herds In Nigeria Exercise (SHINE) Goat Project aimed to train twenty-four animal health workers, technicians, missionaries, local herders and village heads at the Christian Faith Mission (CMF) computer training centre at Wurin Alheri, Jos South, Plateau State, Nigeria.
In attendance was a vet from the nearby National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, a team member who is a parasitologist (entomologist) at the institute and a team from Zoetis. They helped to answer questions raised during the workshop, translate technical terms into the local language (Hausa), and also helped in the hands-on practical workshop with on-site sheep.
The collaborative work between Zoetis and the University of Surrey, the SHINE project aimed to:
- Promote peace and build trust between indigenous farming communities and their semi-nomadic ruminant-herding neighbours, introducing regional herd owners and herders to the work of Zoetis’ A.L.P.H.A veterinary initiative, to address issues of herd health impacting the livelihood of the herding community.
- Create a platform for further diagnostic, treatment, immunisation and parasite preventative or other vet related work by ALPHA Initiative in the region, while promoting use of Zoetis veterinary pharmaceutical products in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of livestock disease, improving herd health.
“We were with important people, above our social group, and yet they treated us as equals. We are not used to this” – The Fulani herders
The S.H.I.N.E. project has helped the settlement of the pastoral Fulani nomadic tribe in Northern Nigeria. This has helped to build positive relationships based on animal health, access to diagnostic’s and health solutions through mobile vet clinics.
There have been 15 farms involved in the training provided which has helped to increase surveillance on over 5,000 cattle and train 30 animal health workers. This has seen an increase in productivity and income of farms in the area. through the donation of goals to families, especially single mothers, and widowers. This was the first step in establishing regular sources of nutrition and income to those in poverty.
“A.L.P.H.A. has brought multiple benefits to the Fulani community, to the veterinary community and to the nation as a whole in facilitating access to animal medicines, vaccines and diagnostic services,” said Dr. Dare Omoniwa, Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Jos, Nigeria. “Medicalisation of animals had a very big impact. It has been used to good effect to build unity, trust and peace in the region.” – Zoetis Press Release
Read the full press release here.
Two Key Challenges
- Establish a baseline data on the production and management problems faced by goats and sheep herders. The team have now surveyed 100 local Fulani herders collecting data which will be analysed by the University of Surrey. The results will hopefully reveal some of the issues faced by herders and this will inform on what will need to be addressed during the planned pilot veterinary clinic which will run later in the year as part of the SHINE project.
- Provision of 100 goats to 25 of the poorest families, targeting women and widows, they will get a buck and 3 does, to start a herd. The trained trainers will provide training on goat care and health to the recipients, and CFM will provide support for the families for a year. The first kid of each doe is returned when weaned to our Wurin Alheri goat shed, to be raised for gifting to another family, thus creating a sustainable project.
The CFM team, including their rural missionaries, farm team and their Fulani neighbors (24 trainees in total) were thrilled with the training, asking many questions during the sessions. The feedback session, held a few days later, sparked many more questions, which were emailed to the trainers for answers.
The CFM farm team found the training very helpful. One immediate outcome, from advice during the training sessions, was to put wire mesh in the roof afters of their piggery, a substantial shed, to store cut grass to dry and store for dry season feeding, to reduce feed costs.
The missionaries, who do a lot of education and development work in their remote villages, found the training extremely helpful. As all are some hours from larger centres where they will find vets, they were keen to learn simple solutions for diseases they notice in their own and local livestock.
The Fulani herders said: “We were with important people, above our social group, and yet they treated us as equals. We are not used to this.” A kind response.
The event went without a hitch from our end, and it ran from 7:30 AM till 3:00 PM.