A new four-year (2019-2022) European Union-funded project known as Health of Ethiopian Animals for Rural Development (HEARD) has been launched in Ethiopia. The EUR15 million project builds upon the experience and lessons learned from other animal health projects in Ethiopia. It has three main objectives:
- Strengthening the quality and delivery of public and private veterinary services through the creation of an enabling and rationalizing environment. This component of the program will be implemented through three grants in Somali, Amhara, and Oromia regional states. It will be led by regional livestock bureaus/agencies with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
- Improving technical competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitude) and incentives for veterinary service providers to enable them to deliver better and rationalized services. This component will be jointly implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Ethiopian Veterinary Association.
- Improving the food safety of primary animal origin products and achieving better control of zoonotic diseases. This component will be led by the MoA and focuses on meat inspection and improved food safety along livestock value chains.
On 29 March 2019, a HEARD project inception workshop was held at ILRI Addis campus to bring together all stakeholders in the Ethiopian veterinary service system to introduce the objectives and planned activities of HEARD, and to elicit stakeholders expectations in a one-day consultations process.
More than 50 representatives of various institutions attended the event. These included officials from the EU, the Agriculture Transformation Agency, MoA, regional bureaus of agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the National Veterinary Institute , universities, non-governmental organizations involved in veterinary service delivery, professional associations, and the private sector.
Azage Tegegne, deputy to the director general representative in Ethiopia, welcomed dignitaries and workshop participants. HE Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, Ethiopia State Minister for Livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture, and Dominique Davoux of the European Union Delegation in Ethiopia also spoke at the meeting.
The HEARD project will be implemented by ILRI and a wide range of implementing partners including the MoA, the Ethiopian Veterinarian Association, the Oromia National Regional State Bureau of Livestock and Fisheries Development, the Amhara National Regional State Livestock Resource Development and Promotion Agency and the Somali National Regional State Livestock and Pastoralists Development Bureau. The overall implementation of the project will be coordinated by the Livestock State Ministry of the MoA.