Dr. Joseph Ansong-Danquah (at flip chart) conducts a community consultation with local farmers.
This year, more than 30 volunteers will take on assignments in various locations in Asia and Africa supporting smallholder farmers and other animal owners on behalf of Veterinarians without Borders/Vétérinaires sans frontières. It is the depth of Canada’s animal health community, and the willingness of Canadians to share their time and skills to help people move out of poverty, that makes VWB/VSF so effective. Dr. Joseph Ansong-Danquah is one of those dedicated volunteers.
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,his assignment is 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.
“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.”
Dr. Ansong-Danquah has also consulted Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and Veterinary Services extension staff, the Director of Ghana Education Services (GES), SEND- Ghana project staff and the Paramount Chief of East Gonja.
Aside from work, Dr. Ansong-Danquah says the assignment has also been rewarding on a personal level. “I have met wonderful people in town and enjoyed the hospitality of the community. I have learned a lot from the rural communities and my stay has been memorable and fulfilling.”
For more information about volunteering with VWB/VSF go to https://www.vetswithoutborders.ca/volunteer