June 28, 2023 (SHEIKH, Somaliland): The IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (IGAD STVS) held its 17th graduation ceremony for the Animal Health programme and its 7th graduation ceremony for the Dryland Agriculture programme on June 24 in Sheikh town.
A total of 63 students graduated this year: 32 from the Animal Health Programme and 31 from the Dryland Agriculture Programme. Fourteen of the graduates are female.
This was the last batch of students on the University-of-Nairobi-accredited programme. The successful implementation of the programme 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.
IGAD STVS empowerment of female students was demonstrated by Ms Hibo Aydarus Mohamed, a student graduate in Health Animal who spoke on how IGAD STVS had transformed her life and that of her comrades. 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.
IGAD STVS – the project
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 recognised experience in the rehabilitation of 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 regions of Somalia and neighbouring countries. ISTVS and its reference centre was established with grants from the European Commission, the Italian Government and the Danish Government.