We've achieved positive advances in public policy for animals in disasters in Kenya, benefiting thousands of animals in the country.
The goal of the Kenya pilot country project is to implement aspects of the four priorities of the Sendai Framework. These are:
- Understanding disaster risk
- Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
- Investing in disaster reduction for resilience
- Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to recovery, rehabilitate and reconstruct
In Makueni County, Kenya we modelled the benefit of integrating animal disaster management education into the national livestock extension system. The model is comprised of processes, systems and education tools that would be embedded in the government’s agricultural extension services.
Government veterinary and livestock extension officers were trained on disaster management and animal welfare through standardized teaching modules. For training, farmers were organised into livestock field farmer schools (LFFS), comprising 15-25 animal farmers from the same area. Face-to-face training within each LFFS was supported by radio training. This model can be replicated and customised to address different species, languages, and microcultures.
By December 2016, the Makueni County pilot had directly impacted an estimated 467,000 animals owned by 2,500 farming households.
Also, more than 734,455 animals directly and indirectly benefited from community disaster management education through the Makueni County pilot. We've modelled a cost-effective and efficient way for the government to deliver livestock extension education to farmers.
We developed three standardized education modules for animal welfare and disaster management:
Improving animal welfare, animal husbandry in farmed animals – entry level 4 months (one weekly radio, two LFFS demonstration and learning).
Improved animal welfare – poultry, pasture management and water harvesting – advanced level, six months (one weekly radio, two LFFS demonstration and learning).
Community based disaster management for animals (CDBRM) – 72 hours within LFFS.
Through these LFFSs, veterinary officers teach the modules for six-to-eight months. Farmers get to implement and practice what they've learned. Beyond the life of the project, we follow up with the farmers through the extension system. The result is improved animal welfare and animal resilience.
Farm level preparedness towards disasters has also greatly improved. Fewer animals die during disasters and animal production losses have been minimized.
Disaster management and animal welfare in the university curriculum
This six-year pilot started in 2010 and ended in 2016 at the University of Nairobi, at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine. All future veterinarians trained in Kenya will receive training on Disaster Risk Management and Animal Welfare at undergraduate level as part of the core bachelor of veterinary medicine degree.
The faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nairobi has now fully integrated the Disaster Management (DM) and Animal Welfare curriculum as an examinable course within the bachelor of veterinary medicine degree. By December 2016, 200 veterinary students had been trained in disaster management and advanced concepts of animal welfare plus practical disaster response. In addition, the project has developed 11 lecturer trainers for this undergraduate course. The University plans to develop the faculty by sponsoring a master’s program and a PHD program in this area.
Disaster management in East Africa
Universities, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) formed a think-tank to tackle animal disaster resilience programming within the IGAD region.
The Animal Disaster Management Consortium for East Africa (aDMcea) is also comprised of the University of Nairobi, University of Mekelle, Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies, and World Animal Protection.
The aDMcea develops tools to guide decision makers in designing and selecting good disaster resilience projects. It encourages projects that have policies which link emergency and development work within the animal resource sector. The consortia will develop tools and public engagement campaigns to targeting animal owners and players about disaster management issues. The consortia launched on January 20 2017.
Advocacy for animal protection inclusion
We've successfully lobbied for the inclusion of animals in revised legislation. This includes a veterinary policy, the draft of the animal welfare policy, and the climate change policy in Kenya, and a livestock strategy for Africa.
When working with governments, we run multi-year projects because change does not happen as fast as we would like. Governments' calendars and administration changes can have a great impact on our programs. Running two- or three-year projects helps mitigate these challenges.
We hope this country pilot is replicated in other areas, particularly in other IGAD African countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. This model can be customized to address different species, languages, and microcultures.