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One Health to address future crises

The entire world is facing complex challenges linked to the rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. Epidemiologists and virologists are in the first line in understanding where the virus originated, how it adapted to a new host (humans) and how it spreads. Even if to date there is still uncertainty about the exact source, currently available evidence identifies horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus affinis) and pangolins as intermediate host that might have facilitated transfer to humans (1) in Wuhan region, followed by a rapid spread across China, Europe and the rest of the world. The possibility that new viruses emerge from wild or domestic animals, is well known (e.g. viruses of HIV, H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza, H1N1 swine flu, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, etc). The first severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002 showed us the devastating impact coronaviruses can have in term of economic disruptions to affected countries, mortality rate, and possibility of re-emergence (2).

Animal, human and environmental health: everything is interconnected

Diseases that are transmitted between animals and humans, called zoonotic diseases, are becoming more and more frequent as the distance between people and wildlife is shrinking and contacts becoming more frequent, as human populations encroach on natural areas. The increasing demand for raw materials and resources such as wood, minerals, fuel and crop land mainly for producing livestock feed, is leading to a widespread degradation of ecosystems and causing ecological disruption. There are many challenges in relation to our models of agricultural production, esp. in the Global North, in relation to loss of biodiversity, soil and water contamination and emission of greenhouse gasses. We need to look at these models and ask ourselves how they fit into a changing world in light of climate change and global pandemics. We also need, as a society, to ask ourselves what we are willing to pay for our food if we change these models and if we are prepared to give farmers the economic incentives to change their systems. Intensification is also increasing the risk of transmission of diseases due to the proximity of large numbers of animals in restricted spaces. Deforestation driven by logging, mining, road building, and rapid urbanization leads to the disruption of habitat that pushes wildlife to move and mix with other animal species and with humans, increasing the risk of zoonotic pathogens’ spread (3). All these changes are happening at unnatural speed and contribute to shorten the distances and increase contact between people, wildlife and possible disease reservoirs.

One Health key to address complex health crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic emphasises once more that human health and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems in which they exist. This interconnection between the health and well-being of people, animals and the environment is known as One Health. One Health as a concept was developed (4) to respond to the spread of serious infectious diseases and zoonoses through an integrated approach to health. After many failures in properly addressing complex health crises, it became clear that collaboration between different sectors – involving researchers, laboratories, public services and civil society – is fundamental to tackle disease spread from all possible angles and create a solid basis for disease control.

Despite some efforts in making One Health operational, disease surveillance and response systems often remain siloed between the human, veterinary and environmental scientific communities. If collaborations are effectively put in place, we would be better prepared in responding quickly and effectively to new diseases. Veterinarians and ecologists, for instance, have a central role in identifying disease reservoirs both in wild and domestic animals.

In the global South, these collaborations are key to optimise the few resources available and to strengthen public health. The fact that in Africa and South East Asia more than 241 million people fall ill and 312,000 die each year for food-borne diseases (5) (many of them directly linked to consumption of contaminated animal-sourced food or water) shows clearly that there is no health and food security without food safety and hygiene. In solving this simple equation, joint efforts from different sectors are required: human medicine; veterinarians; microbiologists; experts in water, sanitation and hygiene; sociologists; gender specialists, economists, etc.

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is central to understand that each local context is unique from a socio-cultural perspective but also in terms of available infrastructures or housing conditions. Millions of people lack access to running water (44% of African urban populations lack access to piped water (6) and the percentage increases dramatically in rural areas). People without access to water will struggle to enact the basic hygiene recommendations – such as washing hands – that are repeated again and again by medical authorities during this COVID-19 crisis. Social distancing is also difficult to perform where entire communities base their livelihood on the informal economy and live in confined spaces.

Adapted solutions and messages should be developed in order to maximise populations’ capacity to adopt them and effectively limit the propagation of the virus. The role of NGOs, local civil society and community leaders that know local contexts well is fundamental to develop adapted prevention strategies in areas that are poorly served by public services. Again, all this should be done under a One Health collaborative approach.

A paradigm shift

In the current situation, One Health proves to be important not only as a response to a specific health crisis, but as a way to rethink the foundation of our societies and production systems. Examining how human, animal and environmental health systems can work together is clearly an important part of learning from the current crisis in order to build our resilience throughout this pandemic and as we prepare for other threats such as future pandemics and climate change related threats.

The global situation caused by COVID-19 is more than a public health emergency. It is a political, economic and social crisis that will have long-term impacts on the economic well-being of people, on their habits and on the role of politicians in managing complex global emergencies. In finding ways out of this crisis, we urge a deep questioning of our global models of production, consumption and trade; of local and international markets, of agriculture and livestock production.

Sustainable agricultural practices such as agro-ecology can help to re-establish ecosystem balance by producing healthy food in an environmentally sound way, protecting biodiversity, promoting fair and sustainable marketing channels, supporting local food systems, and respecting animal welfare, all contributing to the wellbeing of humans, other living beings, and entire ecosystems.

In the midst of confinement measures, limitation of movements and international transport, local food systems are proving to be much more resilient than industrial agriculture, whose complex value chain is fragmented and dependant on international trade (7). Local food systems, small-scale farming and agro-ecological practices should be strongly supported worldwide. Globally, small-scale farmers provide 70% of the food in the markets, forming a pillar of food security, while preserving natural areas and biodiversity through sustainable agricultural and livestock practices integrated in natural processes.

If we want to be better prepared to face new diseases, we need to embrace One Health in all its nuances: by putting in place collaborations between the human, veterinary, and environmental communities, by strengthening public health, but also by changing drastically the way our societies and economies relate to nature, starting with supporting local food systems, small-scale farmers and agro-ecological production methods.

(1) Lam, T.T., Shum, M.H., Zhu, H. et al. Identifying SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2169-

(2) Vincent C. C. Cheng, Susanna K. P. Lau, Patrick C. Y. Woo, Kwok Yung Yuen (2007) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Re-emerging Infection. Clinical Microbiology Reviews Oct 2007, 20 (4) 660-694; DOI: 10.1128/CMR.00023-07











(Mon, 11 May 2020 15:52:00 +0000)

Vaccinate for Africa 2019


In April, World Animal Vaccination Day marked the contribution vaccines make in the control of disease in animals.  Currently, vaccines exist against more than 100 animal diseases and around 30 human diseases. They have saved the lives of millions of people and animals and they contribute to the need to use less antibiotics while reducing the exposure to zoonotic diseases.

Next week (May 27th - 31st), VIVA is launching a new campaign – “Vaccinate for Africa” – in conjunction with our partner organisations in Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) across Europe. The concept is simple – for one week veterinary practices agree to donate a percentage of their pet vaccination fees to VIVA to support our animal health programmes. Clients may also contribute if they wish.

The funds raised support our animal health programmes in the Developing World. For example, in Uganda we are training local farmers as Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs or “Village Vets”). As well as providing basic veterinary services to local farmers in their community they are also participating in government-run vaccination campaigns. They carry out the vaccinations of livestock against important local diseases such as Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia  (CBP) and Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCP) which cause large losses in local cattle and goats.

For more information on the campaign or to register for participation contact Mike Burke on mike@viva.ie / 086 - 2568357 or Ciaran Gobl on 086 - 7015253


Cattle being vaccinated by a CAHW


(Mon, 20 May 2019 21:07:00 +0000)

VIVA hosts visit by Egyptian vet



Dr. Hana Salama at the Donkey Sanctuary

VIVA has been hosting in recent weeks a visit by Dr. Hana Salama from Animal Care Egypt (ACE) in Luxor in Egypt. Animal Care in Egypt is a charity dedicated to helping stop the suffering of thousands of working equine animals in the poorest communities of Luxor by providing free veterinary care and education.Founded almost 18 years ago, they also provide preventative treatments and education, delivering a long term impact on the welfare of working animals and the people that depend on them so greatly for their livelihoods. These hard working animals often lack the most basic veterinary care. Many are neglected or mistreated, not through malice, but due to a lack of understanding or resources. Their 6 vets and support staff treat over 30,000 animals a year in their clinic which has a hospital to perform crucial surgeries and 25 stables that allow the animals to rest from their working lives where they can recover.

We were linked with ACE by Dr. Joe Collins of the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll in Co. Cork. With financial assistance from VIVA,  Joe arranged for Hana to come to Ireland for further training in diagnostic imaging techniques. She has spent a week in the Veterinary Hospital in UCD followed by two weeks in the Donkey Sanctuary's state-of-the-art veterinary hospital in Co. Cork. She also got to spend a few days with James Dunne and his staff at the Blackwater Vet Clinic in Mallow to experience the typical caseload of an Irish mixed practice.

For further information on ACE's work click here


(Sun, 30 Sep 2018 11:51:00 +0000)

VSF International Annual Report (2017) released

In 2017, the members of the VSF International network (which includes VIVA) implemented 209 projects in 36 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, improving the livelihoods of 6.16 million people, with an overall budget of €48.5 million

Over 25 million animals were treated, 5 500 Community-based animal health workers were trained and over 52 000 animals were distributed to poor households.

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to this work in some way.


The report can be read here



(Mon, 02 Jul 2018 13:49:00 +0000)

VSF Policy Paper on Livestock-based Interventions

The VSF International (Vétérinaires Sans Frontières International)  network of which VIVA is a member has just published a new paper highlighting the importance of livestock-based interventions in emergency relief and development contexts. This policy paper describes how disasters affect livestock-based livelihoods, and summarises the types of interventions available for mitigating their impacts and building resilience. It also shows examples of how VSF is putting Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) into practice and how its principles can be adapted in emergency situations.

The document can be read here

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(Thu, 01 Mar 2018 16:52:00 +0000)

"Heifer Draw" results announced

The results of the "Heifer Draw" are in!

The heifer goes to Jim McCartan, Navan, Co. Meath (Seller is Denis Carolan, Navan)
Second prize of a €500 holiday voucher goes to Anna O'Rourke, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan (Seller - Rachel Burgess, Virginia, Co. Cavan) 
Third prize of a €250 voucher goes to Edward Cassidy, Nobber, Co. Meath (Seller - John Taite, Mullagh, Co. Cavan)

Congrats to all involved and thanks to everyone for your support
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(Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:28:00 +0000)

Burren "Bike 'n Hike"

The Hikers gather in the Burren
On September 9th the VIVA Wheelers returned to the Burren, the scene of their first "Bike 'n Hike" in 2009. The 50 cyclists were guests of the Burren Cycling Club who escorted them on a 90km tour of the Burren on a rain-free, sunny day. At the same time 10 hikers spent a few hours walking the Burren under the direction of local guide, Shane Connolly (who generously donated his fee to VIVA)  That evening, all the participants retired to Monks Bar and Restaurant for a meal where the evening was rounded off with a music session provided by the resident trad group, The Badgers, who also generously donated their fee on the night to VIVA. A special note of thanks to Eamon O'Sullivan who organised the Zoetis sponsorship of the meal in Monks Bar (as he has done for a number of years). We would also like to express our sympathies to Eamon on the death of his father. Eamon had arrived in Ballyvaughan to partake in the cycle but he had to leave shortly after when his father was taken ill.

Our thanks to Paddy O'Donoghue and the Burren Cycling Club for organising a great day out and to the staff of Monks Bar and Restaurant for a fantastic evening.
The cyclists recover after climbing Meggagh Hill




(Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:34:00 +0000)

Teagasc Moorepark 5K raises funds for VIVA

·       Aine Collins, one of the winners of the Mike O’Leary Trust Bursary in the past and now a PhD student in Moorepark, recently organised a 5 km run on the campus in aid of Bothar and VIVA. This is Aine’s report – On July 27, an enthusiastic gathering of staff, researchers, PhD students, summer interns and Teagasc Moorepark family members joined together to run a 5.2 km road race in support of the charities Bothar and Volunteers in Irish Veterinary Assistance (VIVA). The event was held throughout the picturesque Teagasc Moorepark (Fermoy) campus which led runners and walkers around the rolling pastures and along the farm roadways where they had to carefully dodge evidence the cows had walked the same path earlier that day! With upbeat music blasting at the start line and cheers from the nearly sixty runners, there was a great atmosphere about the yard.  Blazing the trail was Michael Liddane at 21:16 minutes who came in first overall. PhD student Aisling Claffey was the first to cross the line of the female runners at 24:58 minutes. The event was a huge success and the effort raised €575 for the organisations”. 


The runners head off through the Moorepark Farm


(Tue, 29 Aug 2017 09:02:00 +0000)

Merial walking 141 million steps for VIVA

Merial Animal Health has signed up with 28 farm vets to join a charity challenge across Ireland and the UK to walk a combined 141 million steps for charity. All funds raised in Ireland go to VIVA. The challenge is part of Merial's #calfmatters campaign to raise awareness of calf pneumonia and to improve the health of beef and dairy calves by vaccinating against the disease.

Joe Broderick, Merial Animal Health's Irish business manager, said of the challenge: "Our message is about prevention and improving health and productivity. We are all prone to exercising less than we should, and while Merial has launched the #calfmatters campaign to improve the health and well-being of calves, we wanted to help vets improve their health and fitness too"

The Irish vets have been given FitBit Alta fitness trackers and been assigned to virtual teams to compete in achieving the weekly goals. Weekly targets include the distances for some iconic routes around the world including crossing the Artic Circle (560,000 steps) and walking the San Andreas fault (1,600,000 steps).

Updates will be posted in the #calfmatters Facebook page and @CalfMatters Twitter feed. The challenge will conclude at the Cattle Conference on October 19th -21st

Supporters can make a donation through the CalfMatters "Just Giving" page here




(Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:00:00 +0000)

VIVA Heifers on their way to Romania

       Our latest project involved the purchase of 6 Aberdeen Angus heifers for an orphanage farm in Romania. This farm has a large dairy unit and is affiliated with Caminul Felix Family Villages, which has been providing homes for abandoned children in Romania since 1990. It provides basic food needs like milk and meat for the children in Caminul Felix as well as acting as a place where children can learn the value of work, the importance of discipline and how to interact with colleagues at work. In the long-term, Caminul Felix seeks to reintegrate into society the children that were abandoned or orphaned. Today, Caminul Felix Villages have over 120 children in their care. Our colleagues in Bothar have used the farm as a quarantine unit for their cattle shipments to Romania in recent years and this is how it came to the attention of VIVA. The farm was very anxious to source some Aberdeen Angus heifers so VIVA agreed to fund the purchase of the heifers. They recently arrived in Romania on a Bothar shipment and should be calving in the summer.

(Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:23:00 +0000)

Update on our "Ronnie to Rwanda" campaign

Last June we launched our "Ronnie to Rwanda" campaign at the International Pig Veterinary Congress (IPVS) in Dublin. Having raised almost €14,000 by Christmas, were delighted to accept a donation of €5,000 from the IPVS committee in December when they wrapped up their accounts for the Congress.

VIVA would like to thank Pat Kirwan and his committee for their very generous contribution to the campaign

Pat Kirwan, IPVS President (2016) with Ronnie

(Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:37:00 +0000)

Sending Ronnie to Rwanda

This year our partners in Bothar, the Irish livestock aid agency, are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a multi-species livestock shipment to Rwanda.This "Flying Ark" is carrying Irish dairy heifers, dairy goats, pigs, chicks and artificial insemination (AI) straws to Rwanda where their Rwandan partner organisation will use them to kick-start several livestock initiatives.

To mark our long relationship with Bothar, VIVA undertook to fund the transport of the 260 pigs on the "Flying Ark". Our  "Send Ronnie to Rwanda" campaign kicked off in June when we took a stand at the International Pig Veterinary Society (IPVS) congress in the RDS where 3000 pig vets from across the globe had gathered. The IPVS President, Pat Kirwan, led the initiative raising €1,100 over the three days of the congress. Shane McAuliffe (Swine Technical Manager with Interchem Ireland) then partnered with Truly Irish Country Foods (a commercial venture by Irish pig farmers) and with the help of his fellow farmers and colleagues in the industry raised over €11,000 for Ronnie's flight.

On Monday, October 10th, Bothar's "Flying Ark" took off from Shannon Airport for Kigali in Rwanda. The pigs will give struggling Rwandan farmers the keys to a successful business. 130 families will get two pigs each and will then pass on a piglet from the first litter of these animals to another farmer in their community. This ripple effect will continue on long after the project itself ends.

Check out Day 1 of the airlift below




(Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:44:00 +0000)

VIVA Wheelers celebrate 10 years of cycling



The cyclists enter the Doolough Valley
This year to mark the 10th anniversary of the VIVA Wheelers, the 47 cyclists and hikers returned to one of our iconic locations, Westport. Blessed by the weather, with a mercifully dry day following downpours on the Friday, the participants raised almost €12,000 for VIVA’s overseas projects bringing the 10-year total to a magnificent €247,000.

The cyclists enjoyed some of the finest scenery the west of Ireland has to offer with the Doolough Valley near Leenane the highlight of the route. The hikers climbed the 445m high Diamond Hill in the Connemara National Park which offers panoramic views of the islands of Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark along with the Twelve Bens mountains and Connaught’s highest mountain, Mweelrea.

At the celebratory meal in the Castlecourt hotel in Westport that night, presentations were made to the following participants who have taken part in every one of our events:

Syd Nagle, Donagh McDonnell and James Madden

In addition, 6 participants that have taken part in all six of our Irish “Bike ‘n Hikes” were honoured:

Roy Gallie, The Fabby Family, Jim Higgins, Cathy Waddell, Ascinta Kilroy and Mary Sadlier.

Lastly, a presentation was made to Pat Murphy, who was the inspiration behind the concept of the VIVA Wheelers.

The icing on the cake was the meeting with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who was in the hotel for another function but who took time out to chat with some VIVA Wheelers.

Finally, a special word of thanks to our long-term sponsors, Zoetis (who sponsored our dinner) and Veterinary Instruments Ltd (who sponsored the food breaks). In addition, the support of XLVets, Veterinary Ireland, Prime Health Vets, Interchem and Duggan Veterinary over the years is also appreciated.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, meets with (L to R) Mary Rafferty, Mike Burke, Eddie Downey (IFA), 
                 Brendan Mimnagh, Perpetua McNamee, Gearóid Connolly, Margo Harty (kneeling)






(Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:17:00 +0000)

National Ploughing Association sponsors Ugandan Educational Bursary


Our largest project at present is based in Mbale in eastern Uganda. Over 400 farming families have come together to form a farmer’s co-op which is now working with VIVA and our local partner, Heifer Uganda, to improve their circumstances. These farmers are arable farmers growing crops such as maize, millet, sorghum, cassava and groundnuts. The major intervention in this project has been the introduction of animal traction for ploughing and cultivating their crops and so far 276 oxen and 69 ploughs have been distributed. The project has been a huge success with household food production having tripled. As a result over 400 families (100,000 people) are now food secure and can afford two balanced meals a day. This is mainly due to increased acreages being planted and, even more importantly, timely planting due to the ready availability of the oxen and ploughs. The sale of surplus produce has generated cash incomes which have helped to pay school fees, allowed farmers buy more land or diversify into other activities.

The current phase of the project is concentrating on helping these farmers with post-harvest handling and marketing of their produce in addition to climate change adaptation strategies. With the project ending in 2016, VIVA is now concentrating on ensuring the sustainability of the project. To this end we have been working on an educational scholarship to send two farmers from the co-op to the famous Baraka Agricultural College in Kenya to pursue a course in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

Today we are delighted to announce that this scholarship is being generously funded by the National Ploughing Association which this week hosts the National Ploughing Championships, the biggest outdoor event in Europe and the highlight of the agricultural calendar in Ireland, in Co. Laois. VIVA are delighted that one of Ireland's premier agricultural organisations has come on board for this project.

The two students, Solomon Ajak and Julius Itiakorit, have now commenced their studies and on completion in 2016 they will return to their communities and mentor fellow farmers helping them to increase their production.

Links:
VIVA -   www.viva.ie
Baraka College -   www.barakaagricollege.ac.ke/
Ugandan Project - VIVA newsletter - 2013 (our 2013 newsletter has a nice graphic which summarises the project)


(Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:23:00 +0000)

VIVA Golf Classic coming up



The annual VIVA Golf Classic is almost upon us. This year the Classic returns to one of its favourite courses, Tullamore Golf Club's mature 18-hole parkland championship course, on Friday, July 31st.

The entry fee for a team of four is €200. With a meal provided on the day and many great prizes this is a day not to be missed. With over €72,000 raised for VIVA projects since 2003 this is a vital fundraiser in ensuring that we continue to support our overseas projects.

To book your team contact:

Brendan Mimnagh  086 8509697
Tony McManus      086 1076542

(Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:09:00 +0000)

"Altamira Jordan" settles in in Mayo

"Altamira Jordan", the prize heifer in our 2014 draw has settled in well after her journey last year from her home on Brendan & Joan O'Connor's farm in Co. Cork to Liam Garavan's farm in Westport, Co. Mayo.

If you would like to own a heifer like "Altamira Jordan" our annual Heifer Draw has just been launched. Again, we have great prizes including a pedigree Limousin Heifer, a €500 holiday voucher and a €250 voucher for Trailblazers Biking and Hiking Shop (Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim).

Tickets are only €5 and can be bought online on our homepage or if you'd like to order a book of tickets to sell please email mike@viva.ie



(Thanks to Cathy Waddell for the photos)


(Thu, 21 May 2015 20:34:00 +0000)

The 2014 Mike O'Leary Trust Travel Bursary Lecture

Charlene Grice & Dr. Joe Collins

The 2014 winner of the Mike O’Leary Trust Travel Bursary was Charlene Grice, a third year veterinary student in UCD. Charlene travelled to Uganda in July 2014 to visit our animal traction project. This is the tenth year of the Bursary which sponsors a veterinary student each year to spend a month visiting one of VIVA's overseas projects. The Mike O'Leary Trust was established to honour the memory of Kerry vet, Mike O'Leary, who died tragically of cardiomyopathy in 2003 at the age of 39. His family and friends have undertaken a number of fundraising initiatives over the years to raise funds for the Travel Bursary in addition to supporting the Irish NGO, GOAL, and cardiomyopathy research.

According to Charlene “it was truly amazing to witness how hard working these farmers are and how far and how quickly they have been able to progress. The average initial investment in each farm is actually less than €250 so it is quite impressive”

On March 31st Charlene delivered a lecture in UCD's Veterinary College on her experiences in Uganda to her fellow students. She was joined by Dr. Joe Collins who spoke on his experiences volunteering with Animal Care Egypt (ACE) who provide veterinary services to working equines in the Luxor region in Egypt. Both lectures gave a very interesting overview to students of the important role played by livestock and working equines in rural communities in the Developing World.

(Mon, 13 Apr 2015 21:32:00 +0000)

Heifer Draw 2015 launched

Our annual Heifer Draw has just been launched. Again, we have great prizes including a pedigree Limousin Heifer, a €500 holiday voucher and a €250 voucher for Trailblazers Biking and Hiking Shop (Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim).

Tickets are only €5 and can be bought online on our homepage or if you'd like to order a book of tickets to sell please email mike@viva.ie



(Fri, 03 Apr 2015 08:25:00 +0000)

Happy New Year!

VIVA would like to wish all their supporters a Happy New Year and to thank them for all their support in 2014.

This year your support has changed the lives of livestock farmers in Pakistan, Kosovo and Uganda. We'd like to share one farmer's story with you to demonstrate the impact of your efforts.  Leviza was one of the farmers we supported on our goat project in Pakistan this year.


Leviza lives along with her husband, a farmer, and three children in a two-roomed house. Her husband, who is the lone bread-winner, works as a farmer but earns only about €40 a month. Making ends meet was very difficult for the family.  Leviza became seriously ill and the family had to borrow money to enable her to get medical attention and the family went deeper and deeper in to debt. Through contacts with our partner TNJ, Leviza became involved with a local micro-credit group. As she began to save small amounts with the group she became eligible to receive three teddy goats as part of the TNJ / VIVA project. She then began selling milk from the goats in the market and breeding kid goats for meat. The milk sales alone doubled the family income allowing them to repay their loans and help improve the family situation. 

With your support in 2015 we will continue to work with livestock farmers like Leviza in the Developing World.





(Sat, 10 Jan 2015 11:36:00 +0000)

Fundraiser of the Year - 2014


Every year donors raise money for VIVA in imaginative ways. However, our favourite fundraiser this year was the re-run of one of the great UCD Superleague rivalries of the late 80s - Vet Faculty v Commerce Faculty - which raised over €1000 for VIVA. This is Denis O'Connor's match report!

The highlight of many sports fans' 2014 was the eagerly anticipated rematch between the Veteran Vets and the Commerce Tulips in Belfield on Feb 8th. With no love lost between these two teams a bruising, full blooded encounter was expected and it didn’t disappoint.The game began at an unforgiving pace and the Vets were caught cold with two early Tulip goals despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Tadgh Murphy to justify his inclusion in the starting eleven. The Vets didn’t lie down however (not all at once anyway!) and their midfield of Tony O'Donoghue, Seamy Fagan and baby of the team, John Hennessy,were soon getting the better of their opposite numbers and bringing the lethal strike-force of the Sexton brothers and Denis O’Connor more into play. Indeed, Michael Sexton proved a real handful for the opposition defence on the rare occasions he managed to stay onside in the first half, which alas, ended scoreless for the Vets. After a rousing half time speech, given by chief cheerleader Tom (I forgot my boots) Fabby and the application of industrial amounts of deep heat, the Vets took to the field again with renewed vigour. With fullbacks David Connors and Tom Murray raiding down the flanks like youthful versions of Roberto Carlos it was only a matter of time before the Vets got their just rewards and it came in the shape of a sublime finish by Tony O’ Donoghue from a very tight angle. With Centre backs, Donagh McDonnell and Conor O Scanaill, now lording it over the opposition forwards, it was all out attack by the Vets for the final fifteen minutes in search of the equaliser that their legions of supporters were baying for. Unfortunately it never came; thanks to some fine Tulip goalkeeping and the ever unsympathetic woodwork! 

On leaving the field………. 

Quote of the day: “It’s much easier run with two pulled hamstrings than one”- C O’Scanaill 

Muse of the day:“I never knew I was this good at soccer”- D McDonnell 

Thought of the day: “Why did I say I’d wash the jerseys - the wife is going to kill me!”- T Murray 

Refrain of the day: “Pass the ball Sexy”- Usually directed at Michael Sexton (often with various adjectives preceding “ball”) or his more talented brother Tomas. 

Having congratulated the victorious Tulips, all retired to Kiely’s for a hearty lunch and some liquid anaesthesia! Many thanks to the guest players on the day - Tony O’ Donoghue of RTE, Tom Murray of MSD and Tomas Sexton of CORK. Also thanks to kit sponsor MSD and lunch sponsors Bayer, Norbrook and Pfizer. The match was preceded by a minutes silence in remembrance of deceased teammates. Thanks to all who sponsored the players - watch out for the re-rematch in 2015!



(Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:30:00 +0000)

The 2014 Mike O'Leary Trust Travel Bursary Winner

This year’s winner of the Mike O’Leary Trust Travel Bursary was Charlene Grice, a third year veterinary student in UCD. Charlene travelled to Uganda in July to visit our animal traction project. This is the tenth year of the Bursary which sponsors a veterinary student each year to spend a month visiting on one of VIVA's overseas projects. The Mike O'Leary Trust was established to honour the memory of Kerry vet, Mike O'Leary, who died tragically in 2003 at the age of 39. His family and friends have undertaken a number of fundraising initiatives over the years to raise funds for the Travel Bursary in addition to supporting the Irish NGO, GOAL, and cardiomyopathy research. You can read Charlene's report below.
Uganda 2014 Report - Charlene Grice.pdf





(Sun, 16 Nov 2014 20:41:00 +0000)

The Heifer Draw - The Winners!

The draw for our annual "Heifer Draw" was made at the CAVI (Cattle Veterinary Association of Ireland) conference in Cork at the weekend. The winners are as follows:

The Limousin Heifer - Liam Garavan, Kilameena, Westport, Co. Mayo
(Seller's Prize - Cathy Waddell, Westport, Co. Mayo)
€500 Travel Voucher - Paddy Cadden, Loughduff, Co. Cavan.
€250 Bike Shop Voucher - Celia Coyle, KIlcross, Beglieve, Bailieboro, Co. Cavan.

Congrats to all and thanks to CAVI for facilitating us on the day.

Almost 2,250 tickets were sold raising over €11,000 for VIVA's projects.


Conor Geraghty (CAVI) - right - pulls the winning ticket in the 2014 "Heifer Draw"


(Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:31:00 +0000)

Goats Handover on Pakistan Project

80 women have each received three goats as part of VIVA's new project in the Punjab region of north east Pakistan. Working with our new partner, TNJ, the project will work with 80 marginalised women who are members of the“Taraqee Women’s Cooperative Credit Society”(TWCCS).

These women and their families work in the local brick kilns earning approx €1 a day for producing 1000 bricks. These low incomes do not allow the women to care properly for their families or send their children to school. The kilns do not operate during the monsoon season (July to September) so the women then get loans to tide them over from the brick kiln owners at very high interest rates. This is one of the reasons they women have set up their Co-operative Credit Society.

To help the women generate additional income 240 teddy goats ( a local breed raised for its meat) have been distributed to the women. The goats will generate an income from the sale of milk, ghee ( a type of butter) and meat.

The project is being jointly funded by VIVA and Electric Aid (the staff social justice fund of Electric Ireland). €13,000 has been committed for Year 1 of the project.


(Thu, 01 May 2014 12:14:00 +0000)

Prime Health Vets support VIVA

Prime Health Vets was set up in early 2013 by ten veterinary practices in Munster to work together to benefit their farmer clients and promote herd health.One of their initiatives is to organise practical training days and seminars where experts in a specific topic share their knowledge with their farmer clients. At one of their recent seminars in Fermoy Mart on dairy fertility all the admission fees were donated to VIVA. This raised a total of €2,500 for our overseas projects.

VIVA would like to thank their chairman, Paul Redmond and all the participating practices for their generous support.

Paul Redmond of Prime Health Vets (left) presents a cheque to Mike Burke (VIVA)

(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:11:00 +0000)

Mike O'Leary Travel Bursary Lecture

The 9th winner of the Mike O'Leary Trust, Sarah Irwin, delivered a lecture on her experiences in Uganda in the Veterinary College in UCD recently. Sarah, a 4th year veterinary student, spent three weeks on VIVA's animal traction project in Uganda last summer. This travel bursary is funded by the Mike O'Leary Trust which was set up to commemorate the memory of Mike O'Leary, a Kerry veterinary surgeon who died tragically in 2004. Each year, a veterinary student is funded to spend three weeks on a VIVA overseas project.

You can read Sarah's report on her trip on the link below

Sarah Irwin's report
 


(Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:25:00 +0000)