Volunteers have always been an important element in the success of Veterinarians without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières (VWB/VSF). At the beginning it was run exclusively by volunteers, and even after it was able to hire staff, volunteers continued to carry much of the organizational weight. For VWB/VSF, its corps of dedicated and highly skilled volunteers has always been one of its greatest assets. 

VWB/VSF recruits people with a wide range of skills and professions – gender specialists, animal nutrition experts, community organizers and youth workers. But veterinarians and veterinary students continue to be a critically important volunteer group.  By improving the health of animals, they contribute to the health and livelihoods of disadvantaged people in some of the poorest communities around the world. 

Joseph Ansong Danquah is a good example of the veterinarians who volunteer for VWB/VSF.  A graduate of Ontario Veterinary College, Dr. Ansong-Danquah’s career has spanned 36 years, much of it with Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  For most the past 20 years he has worked with CFIA in St. John New Brunswick. Dr.Ansong-Danquah arrived in Ghana, the country of his birth, on January 5 for a six month placement. Working out of the town of Salaga in Northern Ghana, he helped to develop a farmer-friendly training manual for the production of sheep, goats and poultry. In order to ensure that the manual addresses the needs of the farmers Dr. Ansong-Danquah has consulted widely with the farmers in the area and he has also provided training to farmers and to animal health workers. Dr. Danquah, who received VWB/VSF’s Volunteer of the Year award for 2017 had this to say about his work in Northern Ghana. “This assignment has given me the opportunity to visit nineteen rural communities/villages in four Districts. As part of the project objective, community sessions were held to identify and understand the issues/concerns as well as the needs pertaining to animal health and production for the rural farmers. The participation of the farmers at the rural community sessions was beyond expectation; the message presented to the group was enthusiastically received and changed cultural attitudes about animal production. The participants were convinced that they could reap more benefits including cash to meet household financial needs with minimal resource inputs if they spent time on animal production.” Aside from work, Dr. Ansong-Danquah says the assignment has also been rewarding on a personal level. “I have met wonderful people and enjoyed the hospitality of the community.  I have learned a lot from the rural communities and my stay has been memorable and fulfilling.”

VWB/VSF’s volunteer program receives generous support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. 

Posted by: Veterinarians Without Borders on September 27, 2017.