Where we have been, where we are heading
Veterinarians without Borders / Vétérinaires sans Frontières (VWB/VSF) is moving into a new stage of development, creating the systems and policies of a mature, sustainable institution. That includes refined governance and human resource policies, as well as a renewed focus on sustainable financing.
Profound changes are also taking place in the Global South, and the unique contribution offered by VWB/VSF is more necessary than ever. Many of the changes are driven by climate change, and VWB/VSF has a role to play in protecting the health of animals and ensuring that livestock are valued as part of adaptation strategies.
Eco-Health: Our Approach to Change
An eco-health approach recognizes that the health and well-being of people, animals, and ecosystems are intimately linked. In working to improve the lives of poor and marginalized people by attending to the health and management of animals, VWB/VSF pays careful attention to linkages with wildlife and the natural environment. Promoting healthy relationships between humans, animals, and the environment begins with working collectively across disciplines and across communities.
Our approach to change involves several key principles. To help smallholder farmers we must first engage them to understand their hopes and aspirations. Where possible we will work with link-minded local partners. We employ a gender lens in all of our work, recognizing the critical role that women play in food production and the importance of livestock to women. And we will continue to promote and recognize the active involvement of the Canadian animal health community in our past success and our future work.
Trends and Opportunities
Climate change has already created profound changes to farming in the Global South, and expectations are that those changes will continue to accelerate. Animals and crops are at risk as extreme weather events, including drought and flooding, are occurring with increasing frequency. New health challenges, for animals and humans, are emerging, and there are new concerns about food security as production becomes less predictable. Through its Eco-Health approach VWB/VSF is well-positioned to make a valuable contribution to climate change adaptation, both in linking food production and the environment, and in the effort to ensure food security through diversification. As well, VWB/VSF’s collaborative, non-traditional approach to partnerships puts it in a good position to work with new actors, such as the private sector.
The strategic directions developed to guide VWB/VSF over the next three years are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. All are rooted in local experience and will be guided by realistic action plans and timelines that include measureable progress indicators.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION #1
Increase the sustainable impact of our work by consistently and intentionally delivering integrated gender-sensitive programming that enhances communities, knowledge, and enabling environments.
VWB/VSF will take a deliberate approach to maximize the impact of its programming, focusing on depth rather than breadth. There are three strategic approaches:
1—Scaling Out – Develop community-based approaches to animal and public health including animal owner education and food security and safety programming.
2—Scaling Up – Creating or improving enabling environments by working with governments or universities to improve their capacities to develop good policy and train animal health professionals.
3—Scaling Deep – VWB/VSF and its partners will deepen understand and build capacity through proactive monitoring and evaluation, research, and knowledge sharing.
1.1 Develop a programming framework to guide project identification, design and partner selection.
1.2 Pilot that approach in the micro-livestock area, building on our work in Laos and positioning ourselves as an innovative leader and expert in eco-health.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION #2
Create a sustainable, collaborative companion animal health program in underserviced communities in Canada’s north.
VWB will take a systematic approach to animal health and welfare in underserved communities in Canada’s north. We would work with others, including Canada’s five veterinary schools, and collaborate closely with the communities themselves.
2.1 Establish a sustainable program in 5 ‘northern’ communities, twinning each community with a vet school.
2.2 Create a model that can be replicated in other communities.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION #3
Improve organizational sustainability by developing and implementing a fundraising plan to diversify revenue.
VWB/VSF will develop a coherent, systematic, and diversified approach to fundraising. The goal is a level of financial stability that would allow the organization to improve core funding levels, to maintain or increase staffing levels, to meet matching requirements for new and existing projects, and to explore innovative new opportunities.
3.1 Secure as many as three new long-term corporate sponsorships.
3.2 Raise sufficient funds to cover matching commitments and to facilitate program growth
STRATEGIC DIRECTION #4
Develop and resource a strategic communications plan as a critical component of VWB/VSF’s success
Through better and more focused communications, VWB/VSF will deepen its vital relationship with the Canadian animal health community, and broaden its reach to other Canadians who care about the health and welfare of animals. The challenge over the next three years will be to maximize both the cost effectiveness and the overall impact of VWB/VSF communications.
4.1 Develop and implement a communications plan, which:
* captures the interest of Canadians in animal health and welfare locally and internationally.
* builds on and leverages VWB/VSF’s connections with the animal health community.
4.2 Effectively engage volunteers and interns, particularly those who have worked overseas and/or in northern Canada with VWB/VSF, to engage and inform others in the animal health community as well as the general public.