The IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (IGAD STVS) held its 17th graduation ceremony for the Animal Health program and its 7th graduation ceremony for the Dryland Agriculture program on June 24 in Sheikh Town in Somaliland.
A total of 63 students graduated this year: 32 from the Animal Health Program and 31 from the Dryland Agriculture Program. Fourteen of the graduates are female.
This was the last batch of students on the University-of-Nairobi-accredited program. The successful implementation of the program is an important milestone as it was implemented in the context of an arid pastoralist environment equipping the graduates with skills for the development of arid and semi-arid lands.
The Vice-minister for Livestock and Fishery Development of Somaliland, Hon. Mahmud Jama Warfa, the Manager of Somaliland Ports, Mr. Saed Hassan Abdullahi, the Mayor of Sheikh Town, Eng. Ismail Hussein Ali, the Director of the Agriculture and Environment Division of IGAD, Mr. Daher Elmi, Regional Veterinary Officers, community leaders, and parents attended the ceremonies.
She said: “I was about to give up at the beginning when I started this course but my teachers showed a great deal of support. They told me that I could do it. For girls and women, it is not easy to compete with boys and men in our social environment. My female comrades and I, as well as my male fellow graduates, learnt a lot and we will now serve the community and the country. We are now in a position to bring positive change in the fields of Animal Health and Dryland Agriculture and more”.
The graduation provided an opportunity for community leaders and high-level government officials to express their views on the contribution of IGAD STVS to livelihoods and development in the region.
Today’s Somali livestock export sector faces three major challenges: competing with other livestock-exporting countries for existing/new markets and products, especially in the Gulf states; complying with livestock trade regulations and international codes; and dealing with trade barriers such as import bans.
Livestock export is the main source of livelihood for 75% of the population and before the collapse of the Somali Republic accounted for approximately 80% of Somalia’s foreign exchange and earnings. Terra Nuova, an Italian NGO with recognized experience in the rehabilitation of Somaliland/Somalia’s livestock sector, and in particular in the field of professional training, has responded to the need to build the capacity of animal health workers to be able to sustain and protect the livestock export industry.
ISTVS was designed to function in post-war conditions providing demand-driven training and services for Somaliland, regions of Somalia, and neighboring countries. ISTVS and its reference center was established with grants from the European Commission, the Italian Government, and the Danish Government.
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