Veterinary training in Sahrawi refugee camps

Establishment of a permanent training system adapted to the local context for Veterinary Assistants


Among the Sahrawi the role of veterinarians was culturally not considered. Thanks to their thorough knowledge on animal diseases and rearing systems, the Bedouin people didn’t perceive the need to rely on professionals to look after their livestock.

Nevertheless, the forced sedentarization and the subsequent radical change in the traditional livestock rearing system of the 165.000 Sahrawi today living in into refugee camps led to the raise of new animal health problems that their traditional knowledge was unable to face.

Veterinary staff under the Ministry of Health undertook an important role in taking care of the sanitary issues and the veterinarians social role was progressively accepted. The requests for intervention gradually increased so as to make necessary the enlargement of the Veterinary Department’s staff from initially 14 up to today’s 44 professionals. This was achieved through the establishment of a Veterinary School. The school is open to both men and women. The training lasts one semester and its contents are adapted to the local context and needs. Training Veterinary Assistants at local level has also the aim to limit youth emigration offering job opportunities within their community.

Sara Di Lello

VSF Italy

















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