The RVC e-Media Unit has been collaborating with a number of partners in East Africa including the University of Nairobi Veterinary School, the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance in Tanzania and the NGO Vetaid. This initiative draws upon these existing partnerships in order to strengthen North – South linkages and help to raise awareness amongst veterinary students in both the UK and Kenya of international issues of mutual concern. The importance of this approach was highlighted by the OIE at a major conference in October 2009 entitled evolving veterinary education for a safer world.
The RVC is a partner in the 3 year DFID funded “Students as Global Citizens” project led by the Development Education Research Centre in the Institute of Education. It has recently secured funding from DFID’s Development Awareness Fund to develop and evaluate methods to embed development education principles within degree courses on pharmacy, veterinary science, and human health. The initiative described here is part of this approach which is intended to introduce a series of scenario based directed learning sessions into the Year 2 veterinary curriculum.
The project aims to enhance the appreciation of international development by exploring and contrasting issues related to livestock and health in both East Africa and the UK. This is intended to assist RVC and Kenyan veterinary students identify with their counterparts and emphasize the common professional interests and values that exist. This will be achieved through a number of steps described below which integrate some of the latest technologies such as videocasting with more traditional students exchanges.
• An initial exploratory visit by RVC recent graduate to Kenya and Tanzania in November 2009. The UK vet will work with a recent veterinary graduate from the Nairobi veterinary school to develop links with the veterinary school and Vetaid;
• In particular they will work with Vetaid vets, community animal health workers and students to record and publish a series of audio and videocasts describing issues of local and national relevance;
• Adaption of video material collected in the field to create a series of 6 directed learning sessions for the RVC Development Awareness session for second year veterinary students in 2010, drawing parallels and comparisons between veterinary practice in the UK and in the developing world;
• To provide recording equipment, training and support for Kenyan vets to record, edit and publish their own podcasts and videocasts on topics of local relevance. As part of this initiative, a Kenyan veterinary graduate will make a two week visit to the Royal Veterinary College in London, in order to develop their technical skills and record videocasts of relevant livestock health issues in the UK;
• To establish a protocol for future student educational exchanges including the potential for RVC students to undertake either preclinical or clinical Extra Mural Studies placements with Vetaid and other partners in East Africa.
The first stage of the project involve a 4 week visit by a recent RVC graduate, Beverley Panto to East Africa. You can follow her progress through her own blog at : http://www.africabev.blogspot.com/