VETS UNITED in Malawi
Formalized animal welfare training at two academic institutions
Situation of Animal Welfare and Animal Welfare Education in Malawi
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It lacks resources in many parts of society. Over 75% of the population make their living from agriculture. There are hardly any veterinarians and VPPs for the millions of livestock. The lack of resources also affects the educational sector. The situation of the few higher education institutions is difficult. The first ever locally trained veterinarians completed their degree in 2019. Due to the VETS UNITED programme, animal welfare was part of their education from the start.
Facts and Figures
Focus: Animal Welfare in Academic Education
Project manager: Dr. Madeline Nyamwanza
Start of the programme: 2015/16
Partners: LUANAR Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Natural Resources College (NRC), Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA)
Target groups: students of Veterinary Medicine at LUANAR, students of Animal Health and Production at NRC, lecturers at LUANAR and NRC
Course: Weekly animal welfare lectures and practical exercises based on the VETS UNITED Animal Welfare Training Guide
General conditions in the country: about 13.5 Mio livestock (Census 2006/07), especially goats and chickens; about 50 veterinarians (est.)
Development of the project
The project in Malawi is one of the first projects of the VETS UNITED programme and trained 351 students in animal welfare so far.
Initially conducted as single animal welfare workshops, the animal welfare training has been implemented in the regular educational programme at two academic institutions since 2016. The curriculum consists of theoretical and practical components, covering animal welfare related topics like animal husbandry, transport, slaughter and preventative medical care.
In order to anchor animal welfare in education in the long term, the curricula of the veterinary medicine course at the university and the animal health & livestock breeding course at the college were revised and supplemented. The basis for the revision was a survey conducted among working paravets and former participants of the VETS UNITED training.
In order to ensure the sustainability of the project, teachers of both institutions are currently being trained to continue teaching animal welfare independently in the future.
The animal welfare course has been taught since the start of the education of the first vets in the country. In addition, prospective VPPs also gain extensive knowledge on animal welfare in the Animal Health & Production course at the affiliated Natural Resources College.