Vusumnotfo

Vusumnotfo - meaning "to restart the economy" - is a Swazi, Not-For-Profit, community training and support organization formed by eighteen chiefdoms in northern Swaziland. Our vision is that communities will be able and willing to improve their own social, economic, and environmental conditions. To build the human capacity needed to do so, Vusumnotfo's programming involves each of the community structures that touches the lives and development of children - the schools where they learn, the families where they grow, and the communities where they live. Using sustainable methods, Vusumnotfo's goal is to help communities, help their children, to reach their full developmental potent...
Jun 26, 2014

Report #5 - Spay Day #1, June 21, 2014

Arriving early
Arriving early

On June 21, 52 dogs (plus 1 cat) were sterilized at the Mshingishingini Spay Clinic, and a further 30 dogs were vaccinated against rabies, de-wormed, and received free medical examinations.

On June 20, Waterford Community Service project AWARE (Animal Welfare and Rabies Education) students, Swaziland Animal Welfare Society (SAWS) and Vusumnotfo staff transformed Mshingishingini Primary School into a community clinic.

On June 21 community folk came very early on a cold morning to start the process, which included a pre-op clinic, to determine if their dog was well enough for the operation. The pre-op also vaccinated against rabies, de-wormed, and provided any other medical services. Importantly, community members were given specific advice on how to improve the well fare of their dogs.

15 vets from the Swaziland Veterinary Association soon had surgeries underway. The Veterinary Surgeons were generous both with their time (donated) and their patient explanations of how procedures were being carried out, while Waterford AWARE students watched and listened intently, gaining new knowledge and insight.

After surgery, dogs were kept in the recovery room for several hours until they were medically discharged. During recovery, each dog received one on one observation and care. Although we finished well after dark, everyone was filled with a sense of enormous satisfaction and accomplishment.

For me, it was very impressive to watch the project team and volunteers transfer a local community school into a clinic. I loved the Head teachers look of awe when she first saw the Grade 7 classroom being used as surgery! I very much appreciated community member’s comments about the care that their dogs were receiving, this itself made an impression. 

I will be posting additional reports with more specific information and insights on the day, but I wanted to let you know what we were able to do so far with your support. On July 5 we will provide follow up support. 

We hope that this is the first of several Spay Days and we really appreciate your assistance in helping us make this happen, and in passing the word so that we can make more Spay Days happen.

Make Ceko and her dogs
Make Ceko and her dogs
Waiting for surgery
Waiting for surgery
Recovery room
Recovery room
Jun 1, 2014

#4/Getting the project message to young children

Asking questions
Asking questions

On May 26, 27, and 28, I James Tsabedze (Vusumnotfo) together with Simon Mamba (SAWS) visited the 3 primary schools within Mshingishingini chiefdom - these being Mshingishingini Nazarene, Ekujabuleni and Phophonyane Primary Schools (combined enrollment of 1,244 students). 

In each presentation, we went through the basics of animal care. After that, I asked students three key questions - 1) Have you seen someone kick a dog at your home? 2) Have you kicked a dog at your home? and 3) How do you feel when you are hit by an adult? It is really sad to see how many hands went up after question 1 and 2. 

However, this gave us the opportunity to discuss the link between these three questions.  It may seem unusual for people who grew up with pets but in Swaziland people are pretty harsh with their dogs, so this seems normal to young children. 

These sessions gave us the opportunity to raise awareness that the "normal" behaviour many of these children see towards animals can be inadvertently reflected in their lives in ways that are not positive. Our aim is that with this awareness, children can break the chain of mimicking violent behaviour towards living things. 

On May 21 I also shared the project message with 60 community preschool teachers who attend in-service training at Vusumnotfo.  These teachers can help the 1,344 young children attending their preschools to develop positive attitudes and behaviour towards animals. 

We at Vusumnotfo feel strongly that this project has two benefits - that of the veterinary services, and that of the community education about animal care and how it relates to domestic violence.

Thank you so much for helping us pass this message around.

How many of you have seen someone kick a dog?
How many of you have seen someone kick a dog?
Have you kicked a dog?
Have you kicked a dog?
Sharing Vusumnotfo
Sharing Vusumnotfo's dog Ziggy
A bit nervous but I am holding Ziggy!
A bit nervous but I am holding Ziggy!
Sharing the message with preschool teachers
Sharing the message with preschool teachers
May 31, 2014

#3/Early Morning Education at the Dip Tanks

Mhlambanyoni Dip tank
Mhlambanyoni Dip tank

On May 26, 27, and 28, my friend Tengetile Freemantle and I had to get out of bed way before the sun came up to help James Tsabedze (Vusumnotfo) and Simon Mamba (SAWS) visit Mhlambanyoni, Ntfwalamkhona, Mkhubane, and Mkhiweni dip tanks.

This was the first round of community education at the dip tanks, to explain about the basics of dog care, the June 21 clinic, and to answer questions. 

The Swaziland Ministry of Agriculture Veterinary Officers Gezile Sikhondze and Khansyisile Dlamini, whose job it is to oversee cattle dipping, were very supportive and helpful. Their involvement gave people confidence that this project would benefit their dogs, which was important when people asked “will my dogs die because of the operation?”.

The plan was to carry out education on this first round of dates, and to register on June 2, 3 and 4 and again June 16, 17 and 18 - however at each dip tank, people asked to register so already 20% of the 200 slots have been taken.  

Other men said they are interested but "they have to discuss it with their wives first!"  The Vet officers are now reporting that after the May 26-28 sessions, people are coming to their houses to ask to register.  We are very confident that all of the 200 slots will be taken after the June 2 - 4 sessions. People really want the veterinary services!

As a boarding student at Waterford Kamhlaba and a member of Community Service AWARE, I helped with the Spay/Neuter Clinic that SAWS ran just outside the capital city in 2013. Because I grew up in the rural area, I wanted the same opportunity to be brought to community people. 

June 21 is fast approaching and we really appreciate your support in making this project a reality.

Question and Answer at the Dip Tank
Question and Answer at the Dip Tank
Early registration for June 21!
Early registration for June 21!
Gezile Sikhondze, Government Vet Officer
Gezile Sikhondze, Government Vet Officer
SAWS and Vusumnotfo team (and Ziggy too)
SAWS and Vusumnotfo team (and Ziggy too)
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