I qualified as a vet from Liverpool University in 2010. Through-out university I increasingly felt that clinical veterinary practice was not for me. I had a growing interest in working in development and, wherever possible, I carried out EMS overseas. Following graduation I was awarded a BVA TAWS grant to assess perceptions of livestock owners to rabies in Ethiopia. It was here that I became fascinated by the livestock – human interface; the dependency of the world’s poorest populations on animals for their income and source of nutrition.
After a brief spell in equine practice I realised that I needed to gain more skills to work in the development sector. I went on to do a MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and a PhD in the drylands of northern Kenya planning strategic animal health programmes in drought prone areas.
Following on from this I became a lead analyst and coordinator on a project in South Sudan, monitoring food security of populations in a protracted crisis. This information provided analysis and support for NGO’s carrying out emergency humanitarian assistance. I have since developed a small consultancy company in Nairobi and work on projects in Somalia, South Sudan and northern Kenya. I work predominantly with a think tank and also with NGO’s and donors.
Increasingly my work is focussed on management of livestock in arid and semi-arid range lands in sub Saharan Africa. The open range lands systems are home to approximately 50 million pastoralists, 80% of the livestock population and a plethora of wildlife species that exist outside of national parks. These areas are highly prone to drought and contain some of the worlds poorest populations. Over 70% of the rangelands have suffered severe degradation since 1990 due to climate change and changes in livestock production. This has exacerbated the effects of drought in these areas on livestock, human and wildlife populations. Management of livestock in arid and semi-arid range lands is integral to a environmental sustainability, household survival and the nutrition status of children within them. Maintaining range land health and production is one of the greatest challenges our generation faces today.
As well as working in the development sector I have begun to work in my spare time on 2 charitable projects – one is running an ultramarathon and raising funds and awareness for anti-poaching units. The second is setting up a programme promoting pangolin awareness and protection is East Africa. It is my hope that we can protect the remaining landscapes and wildlife for those to follow and provide assistance, support and opportunities for those living within them to improve their prosperity.