Gesunde Tiere – Gesunde Menschen – Gesunde Umwelt


VSF- Suisse, 19.01.2015


Guy Pilamana has been working for VSF-Suisse in Togo since 2007. The expert in animal husbandry talks in the interview about his everyday work and about his experiences gained over the past few years.


What does your typical workday look like?


At the beginning of the week we plan the activities for the whole week. When we have a day in the field ahead of us, we depart very early in the morning in order to arrive at the village before the people have left for work. Previous to a vaccination day, we inform the chief of the village and we organise sensitizing meetings for everyone. On the day we arrive, the farmers are requested to guard  their  animals  close  to  the houses.  Together  with  the auxiliary veterinaries we prepare the vaccinations. After that, we walk from house to house and the beneficiaries catch their poultry and we vaccinate them one after the other. Once we are finished with our work, I meet with the chief of the village in order to say good bye and to report that the work has been completed. No matter what time we arrive back in town, I pass by the office to let my colleagues know that I returned home safely. At the end of my work day, I check the counter on my motorbike and then return home.


What is your motivation to work for VSF-Suisse?


I like working in the domain of animal husbandry. I love animals and I’m used to work with them. VSF-Suisse responds very well to my ambitions to work in this sector. Long story short: I like working for VSF-Suisse. Ever since I was little my family had goats, poultry and sheep and also had cats and dogs as pets.


What have you learned while working for VSF-Suisse?


By finishing the training to become an animal husbandry engineer the knowledge I gained was purely theoretical. Only by exercising one really learns how to do the job. With VSF-Suisse I am able to work in different localities, what allows me to broaden my horizon and see how the people in other communities live their lives. Every time we return from the field trips, we discuss the work with our boss. He tells us what we have accomplished and what can be improved for the next time. I’ve learned a lot from our Country Coordinator, especially when it comes to animal health. He gives us advice on how to interact with the farmers and on how to do our work correctly.


What changes do you observe in the lives of the beneficiaries since the PAIP project (supporting farmer’s initiatives in the region around the national park of Fazao-Malfakassa) started in 2007?


I’ve observed many changes in the lives of the farmers. Some of them have organized themselves and are working together. With the support of VSF-Suisse and in collaboration with the chiefs of the villages, groups have been built and they’ve learned how to manage themselves in form of associations. The problem of one farmer has become the problem of the group, and together they are much stronger. Furthermore there are income generating activities that have been introduced through animal husbandry and that have significantly improved people’s livelihood. The livestock constitutes a source of income. If there is a problem, some of the livestock can be sold in order to be able to cope with the crisis. This allows the farmers to help themselves by managing their herds. Another positive outcome of the project is the diminution of the dependency of the farmers on the resources of the national park. The perception of the national park has massively changed since 2007. With the support of VSF-Suisse and the sensitizing campaigns, people’s consciousness has grown and they now realise that cutting trees and setting bushfires damage the environment.


Do you think that the farmers need the support from VSF-Suisse to improve their situation?


Yes. Today the farmers are able to combine income generating activities (such as animal husbandry, market gardening and bee-keeping) with their agricultural activities. They use animal waste as organic fertilizers. They have improved the way they cultivate the soils and thereby improved the soil fertility. What VSF-Suisse has achieved is salutary and the farmers themselves acknowledge it.


How do you see the farmer’s future in relation to VSF-Suisse?


VSF-Suisse will not be permanently in the project area. We will support other farmers in other regions. After every project a survey is made and we can see that the livelihoods of the farmers have changed. If at the end of a project we take note that it has been possible to cultivate an environment following the principle of self-help, we are happy with our work.


What would you like to say to the people in Switzerland that supports VSF-Suisse?


I am thankful to the Swiss donors because they finance the projects of VSF-Suisse in Togo. Thanks to them, all the mentioned changes were possible. And I wish that the collaboration between Switzerland and Togo will continue in the future.



Tags: Togo  VSF has a face  VSF-Suisse 

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