Recently at the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) conference in Adelaide, one of KYEEMA’s long associates, Associate Professor Joanne Meers was awarded the prestigious Kesteven Medal for her contributions to international veterinary science.
Associate Professor Meers has provided technical support for KYEEMA’s work on promoting the benefits of thermotolerant Newcastle disease vaccine for chickens of smallholder farmers. She also manages the I-2 Vaccine Master Seed storage and dispatch through the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science.
“Dr Meers provides a wonderful example of a highly motivated, highly skilled veterinarian who brings a remarkable capacity to use high level skills in the training and upskilling of colleagues in the developing world. She combines excellence as a veterinary virologist with a personal warmth and kindness that her colleagues across diverse cultures recognise and appreciate. When these technical and personal skills are then supplemented by the professional leadership skills of Dr Meers, the final combination is a unique person.” From AVA Award Citation.
It is people like Joanne that enable KYEEMA to achieve positive animal and human health outcomes in our project communities. We are proud and immensely thankful for Jo’s continued support of and association with KYEEMA.
On Friday 17 June, the United Nations held World Day to Combat Desertification. The theme this year is ‘Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality’.
“There is probably no greater issue than land in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that touches everyone. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear and the houses we live in – it all stems from land resources. In order to “leave no one behind” as proclaimed in the new Sustainable Development Goals, achieving land degradation neutrality needs to be in the forefront to meet our requirements and develop sustainability.” Read more.
Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People
This is the challenge for the world’s marginal drylands where there are fragile ecosystems due to harsh climatic conditions and growing human pressures – they are occupied by the poorest of the poor who rely on farming, pastoralism and natural resource utilisation.
KYEEMA works in these places, with these people and recognises the importance of sustainable livestock for sustainable lives here.
There is much that can be done to manage and use livestock to improve land, health and livelihoods in these areas:
- Appropriate improvements to feeds, breeds and animal health to increase meat, milk and egg yields in resource poor settings.
- Maintain healthy ecosystems and regenerate degraded lands through agroforestry and eco-conservancies that promote better animal management practices, biodiversity conservation and farmer managed natural revegetation.
- Using manure as renewable energy, in soil regeneration programs and as natural fertiliser for crops.
Village poultry production is a flexible production system that can be adapted to many different agro-ecological zones.
From ‘The Comparative Advantages of village or smallholder poultry in rural development’ by Alders and Copland in ACIAR Proceedings 13: Village Chickens, Poverty Alleviation and the sustainable control of Newcastle disease (2009) p. 11
This is because it:
- Requires low input – in many places it is an existing resource whose output can be increased with modest input.
- Has low to no environment impact – compared to commercial birds and ruminants, village poultry are more environmentally neutral.
- Is robust and agile – village poultry are better survivors in natural disasters and degraded landscapes. They are more easily transported in times of socio-political unrest. In uncertain times they provide a mobile and hardy source of nutrition for vulnerable communities.
- May provide an innovative sustainable alternative to traditional pastoral species in degraded landscapes in some parts of the world.
The Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy (ANH) Academy is a global research network in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health to serve as a platform for learning and sharing.
Last week KYEEMA’s Robyn Alders attended the ANH Academy Week, an annual event organised by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Action (IMMANA), bringing together the global community of interdisciplinary researchers and research-users working in this area.
The goal of the event is to facilitate participation and engagement of the African research and research-user communities with participants from around the world through a series of ‘Learning Labs’ and Conference of keynote speakers, plenaries and research presentations.
On 21 June, Robyn (University of Sydney) co-facilitated a learning lab plenary workshop on ‘Options for achieving optimal diets in resource-limited settings’ with Delia Grace (International Livestock Research Institute) and Paula Dominguez-Salas (London School of Tropical Health and Medicine and Royal Veterinary College).
The workshop took an ecohealth approach, assessing nutritional and nutrition-sensitive agriculture and value-chain programs at local and national levels and focusing on sustainable systems, process and policy. Topics covered included the impact of agro-ecological zones on food availability, options for quantifying the nutritional content of available food, trade-offs and synergies between nutritional security and other health and wellbeing goals, and establishing processes that promote facilitating policy environments.
From the Learning Lab workshop presentation initially prepared for the International Congress of the World Veterinary Poultry Association 2015, Capetown, South Africa. (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, University of Sydney, CGIAR Research Program on Nutrition and Health, Royal Veterinary College London)
In collaboration with the African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), KYEEMA Foundation was proud to launch the first veterinary cold chain manual targeting animal health practitioners to improve the effectiveness of animal health vaccination in support of food and nutrition security at this session.
Veterinary Cold Chain Launch Speakers: Jeff Waage (Chair, LCIRAH), Johanna Gregory (1st Secretary, Australian Embassy, Addis Ababa), Robyn Alders (KYEEMA Foundation and USyd), Nick Nwankpa (AU-PANVAC).