Our Projects


VSF Belgium & VIVA in Karamoja

Through our involvement in the VSF International network we have partnered with VSF Belgium to co-fund a livestock project in the Karamoja region of north-east Uganda. Over five years (2017 2021) VIVA will be contributing 100,000 to the project.

Karamoja is one of the poorest regions of Uganda and chronic conflict over four decades has added to the poverty. However, since 2006 peace has prevailed allowing some development to occur. One of the main issues for the agro-pastoralists of the region (who combine livestock rearing with subsistence crop rearing) has been the poor productivity and high disease levels associated with the cattle and sheep populations.

VIVA is funding the animal health elements of the project which comprise the following:

Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs)
As veterinary services in the region are totally inadequate, CAHWs have been trained to offer basic veterinary services and husbandry advice to the community. To create a sustainable business model, the CAWHs have been organized into associations to which the project provides technical support. In their first year (2017), the CAHWs associations and their outlets provided veterinary services to over 24,000 livestock farmers in the target area. The associations, of which there are now nine, have small outlets where they can meet, store supplies and sell medicines to local farmers. These groups are visited monthly by project staff to provide technical support, as well as training in record keeping, business skills and marketing. Already, almost half of the groups are profitable. However, one of the biggest challenges in the groups is the level of illiteracy which can cause problems in the work of the CAHWs (calculating dosages of medicines) and in the viability of the vet outlets (lack of business skills e.g. stock control, records etc). CAHWs associations are also being supported with cold chain facilities such as solar-powered fridges to store vaccines and small motor bikes to enable them to reach more remote areas.

Vaccination Campaigns

The project aims to link farmer groups to CAHW associations with the farmers making contributions to the CAHWs in return for veterinary services (such as vaccination & worming) to be delivered at agreed intervals. Given that over 50% of livestock mortalities in Karamoja are caused by diseases for which vaccines are available these linkages are vital in reducing livestock mortality.

In addition to working with local farmer groups the CAHWs are often employed by government veterinary authorities to carry out vaccination campaigns. For example, in the Moroto district an outbreak of Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP) was recorded in the first quarter of 2018. This disease is a major cause of economic losses to goat-keepers in Africa and is highly contagious leading to very high morbidity and mortality rates. Initially, over 5,000 goats were treated prophylactically with antibiotics to reduce mortality (for our veterinary readers, CCPP is a caused by a Mycoplasma species and tylosin is the drug of choice). One week later over 10,000 goats were vaccinated against the disease. Along with other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) over 25,000 cattle have been vaccinated against Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) with the government providing the vaccines and the NGOs organising the gatherings and the recruitment of CAHWs to carry out the vaccination.

For more information please see our 2018 and 2019 newsletters