Discussion sessions and workshops - 7

One Health implementation in the global South: Improving Food Safety, Food Security and Nutrition in Livestock-based Communities 


Rudi Cassini

(Vétérinaires Sans Frontières and Università di Padova - IT)


Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) International is a network of non-profit organizations working all over the world in the field of livestock, animal health and welfare and agriculture production, to support small scale farmers and livestock keepers. VSF International promotes a holistic approach, integrating human, animal and environmental health, and pursues humanitarian, development, scientific, educational and advocacy objectives.

Its 13 members (the different VSF organizations in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) are working towards reducing poverty and improving food security and nutrition by supporting small-scale farmers, pastoralists and rural households in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The One Health concept has been implemented by VSF since the early beginnings. Understanding and taking advantage of the inextricable relationship between human and animal health and the surrounding environment is key in the implementation of development projects, in which many different disciplines like Veterinary Medicine, Human Medicine, Environmental and Social Sciences from the Public and Private Sector, international organizations and Academia collaborate for the purpose of a better health and eliminating poverty and hunger.

For millions of people worldwide, livestock is a key asset that offers multiple benefits, providing them not only with animal source high-quality proteins and micronutrients, which are essential for growth and health, but also income, traction and fertilisation for crop productions, means for transport, economic security and often also social status. In some countries, small-scale family farmers produce up to 90% of the meat demand, with rearing systems based on traditional knowledge, adapted to the local eco-system, and playing a key role in national food security.

Smallholders’ food production face several challenges, such as: climate change (increased droughts, floods, storms, and adverse weather patterns); limited access to markets and services (including veterinary services); low productivity and quality of animal products due to poor animal health conditions; poor knowledge in hygiene practices, among others. As a result, food security, hence nutrition and food safety need to be addressed under a holistic approach.

Vétérinaires sans Frontières aims to secure and improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers through combined measures, and as a result from it, enhance the local availability from high quality, safe animal source foods, reaching out to indirect beneficiaries.


Purpose of the workshop

The main objective of the Workshop is to inform about the implementation of the One Health Concept in the global South on tackling the issues of food security, food safety and nutrition in rural livestock-based communities, and in urban population that benefits from their food production.

This aim will be accomplished with a kick off presentation of the challenges and needs of the implementation of One health in field projects, followed by different projects case studies explaining how these challenges can be solved, carried by members of VSF and partners. At the end, there will be time for Questions and Answers to the panelists and conclusions.


Structure of the workshop

- Introduction (Nicole Litschgi- VSF Suisse: 20 min): presentation of the VSF-International network, the specific context of countries and areas of intervention, and introduction of One Health concept in the broadest sense, as guiding principle for all the VSF activities in the field.

- Cases Studies: VSF experiences in applying the One Health concept in the field with livestock-based communities (15 min each).

  1. Improving food security and safety by applying the One Health approach in livestock-based development interventions in Africa (Rudi Cassini - VSF and Università di Padova, Italy)
  2. Nutrition-sensitive livestock-based emergency interventions in Ethiopia (Lensse Gobu - VSF Suisse)
  3. Enhancing (human) health among nomadic pastoral communities through the One Health approach in East Africa (Daniela Rana - CCM, Italy)

Guided discussion for the identification of the One-health priorities in the global South and recommended approach, to be presented in the plenary session (30 min).