Largest P.E.I. group of Farmers Helping Farmers volunteers in 35 years heading to Kenya
This month, a group of 20 volunteers from Farmers Helping Farmers is travelling from P.E.I. to Kenya - the largest delegation since the first group travelled to Africa more than three decades ago.
The group includes nurses, FHF members and four volunteers who are part of a new project with Veterinarians Without Borders-Canada.
Nursing students from UPEI will conduct home and school visits to determine family and child health status and provide treatments and advice toward disease prevention.
Retired nurse Nancy MacFadyen, who will accompany the group, will also be distributing mosquito nets at schools in the Meru area - almost 2,000 nets over three weeks.
Islanders have already contributed more than $6,000 towards the nets, with a fundraising campaign underway in 2016 to pay for the rest.
Farmers Helping Farmers volunteers will also be visiting schools, women’s groups and dairies who are partnered with the P.E.I. organization.
“We will be overseeing the installation of water tanks, donated during the recent Holiday Fundraising Campaign, on women’s farms so they can store water they collect during the rainy season,” says group co-ordinator Teresa Mellish.
“We will also carry letters from Island twinned schools to Kenyan schools.”
The group is also looking forward to the opening of another school cookhouse funded by the Souris Village Feast. The cookhouse will be located at Kiirua Primary School, which is twinned with the school in Souris.
This is also the first partnership between Farmers Helping Farmers and Veterinarians Without Borders-Canada. The Island team of four is among the first group of more than 100 Canadians who will take on volunteer assignments around the world over the next five years.
Dr. John VanLeeuwen, a veterinary professor at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, was instrumental in developing the new volunteer project. One of the founders and currently the chair of VWB Canada, he has travelled to Kenya almost 20 times through projects sponsored by the UPEI, Farmers Helping Farmers and Vets Without Borders Canada.
“This five-year project in Kenya will enable our partners to manage their farms better so they can double or even triple their milk volumes and grow crops better for family nutrition,” says VanLeeuwen.
“The extra milk will lead to more income, leading to sustainable livelihoods for these families, with spin-off benefits to the communities in which they live.”
The VWB volunteers will team up with staff and volunteers from Farmers Helping Farmers to exchange knowledge, experiences and lessons learned to take advantage of the synergies produced with multiple groups implementing multiple projects simultaneously.
The veterinarians and vet students will treat sick animals, conduct herd health activities and train farmers and animal health personnel on best management practices for health management and disease control.
A bookkeeper will provide training to farmers and Dairy Group employees to develop better accounting practices, and a horticulturist will be examining crops and cropping practices and providing advice and training on best management practices.
To find out more about the work of Farmers Helping Farmers, check out www.farmershelpingfarmers.ca.
This five-year project in Kenya will enable our partners to manage their farms better so they can double or even triple their milk volumes and grow crops better for family nutrition.
Dr. John VanLeeuwen, AVC