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Merial walking 141 million steps for VIVA

Merial Animal Health has signed up with 28 farm vets to join a charity challenge across Ireland and the UK to walk a combined 141 million steps for charity. All funds raised in Ireland go to VIVA. The challenge is part of Merial's #calfmatters campaign to raise awareness of calf pneumonia and to improve the health of beef and dairy calves by vaccinating against the disease.

Joe Broderick, Merial Animal Health's Irish business manager, said of the challenge: "Our message is about prevention and improving health and productivity. We are all prone to exercising less than we should, and while Merial has launched the #calfmatters campaign to improve the health and well-being of calves, we wanted to help vets improve their health and fitness too"

The Irish vets have been given FitBit Alta fitness trackers and been assigned to virtual teams to compete in achieving the weekly goals. Weekly targets include the distances for some iconic routes around the world including crossing the Artic Circle (560,000 steps) and walking the San Andreas fault (1,600,000 steps).

Updates will be posted in the #calfmatters Facebook page and @CalfMatters Twitter feed. The challenge will conclude at the Cattle Conference on October 19th -21st

Supporters can make a donation through the CalfMatters "Just Giving" page here




(Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:00:00 +0000)

VIVA Heifers on their way to Romania

       Our latest project involved the purchase of 6 Aberdeen Angus heifers for an orphanage farm in Romania. This farm has a large dairy unit and is affiliated with Caminul Felix Family Villages, which has been providing homes for abandoned children in Romania since 1990. It provides basic food needs like milk and meat for the children in Caminul Felix as well as acting as a place where children can learn the value of work, the importance of discipline and how to interact with colleagues at work. In the long-term, Caminul Felix seeks to reintegrate into society the children that were abandoned or orphaned. Today, Caminul Felix Villages have over 120 children in their care. Our colleagues in Bothar have used the farm as a quarantine unit for their cattle shipments to Romania in recent years and this is how it came to the attention of VIVA. The farm was very anxious to source some Aberdeen Angus heifers so VIVA agreed to fund the purchase of the heifers. They recently arrived in Romania on a Bothar shipment and should be calving in the summer.

(Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:23:00 +0000)

Update on our "Ronnie to Rwanda" campaign

Last June we launched our "Ronnie to Rwanda" campaign at the International Pig Veterinary Congress (IPVS) in Dublin. Having raised almost €14,000 by Christmas, were delighted to accept a donation of €5,000 from the IPVS committee in December when they wrapped up their accounts for the Congress.

VIVA would like to thank Pat Kirwan and his committee for their very generous contribution to the campaign

Pat Kirwan, IPVS President (2016) with Ronnie

(Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:37:00 +0000)

Sending Ronnie to Rwanda

This year our partners in Bothar, the Irish livestock aid agency, are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a multi-species livestock shipment to Rwanda.This "Flying Ark" is carrying Irish dairy heifers, dairy goats, pigs, chicks and artificial insemination (AI) straws to Rwanda where their Rwandan partner organisation will use them to kick-start several livestock initiatives.

To mark our long relationship with Bothar, VIVA undertook to fund the transport of the 260 pigs on the "Flying Ark". Our  "Send Ronnie to Rwanda" campaign kicked off in June when we took a stand at the International Pig Veterinary Society (IPVS) congress in the RDS where 3000 pig vets from across the globe had gathered. The IPVS President, Pat Kirwan, led the initiative raising €1,100 over the three days of the congress. Shane McAuliffe (Swine Technical Manager with Interchem Ireland) then partnered with Truly Irish Country Foods (a commercial venture by Irish pig farmers) and with the help of his fellow farmers and colleagues in the industry raised over €11,000 for Ronnie's flight.

On Monday, October 10th, Bothar's "Flying Ark" took off from Shannon Airport for Kigali in Rwanda. The pigs will give struggling Rwandan farmers the keys to a successful business. 130 families will get two pigs each and will then pass on a piglet from the first litter of these animals to another farmer in their community. This ripple effect will continue on long after the project itself ends.

Check out Day 1 of the airlift below




(Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:44:00 +0000)

VIVA Wheelers celebrate 10 years of cycling



The cyclists enter the Doolough Valley
This year to mark the 10th anniversary of the VIVA Wheelers, the 47 cyclists and hikers returned to one of our iconic locations, Westport. Blessed by the weather, with a mercifully dry day following downpours on the Friday, the participants raised almost €12,000 for VIVA’s overseas projects bringing the 10-year total to a magnificent €247,000.

The cyclists enjoyed some of the finest scenery the west of Ireland has to offer with the Doolough Valley near Leenane the highlight of the route. The hikers climbed the 445m high Diamond Hill in the Connemara National Park which offers panoramic views of the islands of Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark along with the Twelve Bens mountains and Connaught’s highest mountain, Mweelrea.

At the celebratory meal in the Castlecourt hotel in Westport that night, presentations were made to the following participants who have taken part in every one of our events:

Syd Nagle, Donagh McDonnell and James Madden

In addition, 6 participants that have taken part in all six of our Irish “Bike ‘n Hikes” were honoured:

Roy Gallie, The Fabby Family, Jim Higgins, Cathy Waddell, Ascinta Kilroy and Mary Sadlier.

Lastly, a presentation was made to Pat Murphy, who was the inspiration behind the concept of the VIVA Wheelers.

The icing on the cake was the meeting with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who was in the hotel for another function but who took time out to chat with some VIVA Wheelers.

Finally, a special word of thanks to our long-term sponsors, Zoetis (who sponsored our dinner) and Veterinary Instruments Ltd (who sponsored the food breaks). In addition, the support of XLVets, Veterinary Ireland, Prime Health Vets, Interchem and Duggan Veterinary over the years is also appreciated.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, meets with (L to R) Mary Rafferty, Mike Burke, Eddie Downey (IFA),
Brendan Mimnagh, Perpetua McNamee, Gearóid Connolly, Margo Harty (kneeling)




(Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:17:00 +0000)

National Ploughing Association sponsors Ugandan Educational Bursary


Our largest project at present is based in Mbale in eastern Uganda. Over 400 farming families have come together to form a farmer’s co-op which is now working with VIVA and our local partner, Heifer Uganda, to improve their circumstances. These farmers are arable farmers growing crops such as maize, millet, sorghum, cassava and groundnuts. The major intervention in this project has been the introduction of animal traction for ploughing and cultivating their crops and so far 276 oxen and 69 ploughs have been distributed. The project has been a huge success with household food production having tripled. As a result over 400 families (100,000 people) are now food secure and can afford two balanced meals a day. This is mainly due to increased acreages being planted and, even more importantly, timely planting due to the ready availability of the oxen and ploughs. The sale of surplus produce has generated cash incomes which have helped to pay school fees, allowed farmers buy more land or diversify into other activities.

The current phase of the project is concentrating on helping these farmers with post-harvest handling and marketing of their produce in addition to climate change adaptation strategies. With the project ending in 2016, VIVA is now concentrating on ensuring the sustainability of the project. To this end we have been working on an educational scholarship to send two farmers from the co-op to the famous Baraka Agricultural College in Kenya to pursue a course in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

Today we are delighted to announce that this scholarship is being generously funded by the National Ploughing Association which this week hosts the National Ploughing Championships, the biggest outdoor event in Europe and the highlight of the agricultural calendar in Ireland, in Co. Laois. VIVA are delighted that one of Ireland's premier agricultural organisations has come on board for this project.

The two students, Solomon Ajak and Julius Itiakorit, have now commenced their studies and on completion in 2016 they will return to their communities and mentor fellow farmers helping them to increase their production.

Links:
VIVA -   www.viva.ie
Baraka College -   www.sustainableagri.org
Ugandan Project - www.viva.ie/newsletters (our 2013 newsletter has a nice graphic which summarises the project)


(Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:23:00 +0000)

VIVA Golf Classic coming up



The annual VIVA Golf Classic is almost upon us. This year the Classic returns to one of its favourite courses, Tullamore Golf Club's mature 18-hole parkland championship course, on Friday, July 31st.

The entry fee for a team of four is €200. With a meal provided on the day and many great prizes this is a day not to be missed. With over €72,000 raised for VIVA projects since 2003 this is a vital fundraiser in ensuring that we continue to support our overseas projects.

To book your team contact:

Brendan Mimnagh  086 8509697
Tony McManus      086 1076542

(Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:09:00 +0000)

"Altamira Jordan" settles in in Mayo

"Altamira Jordan", the prize heifer in our 2014 draw has settled in well after her journey last year from her home on Brendan & Joan O'Connor's farm in Co. Cork to Liam Garavan's farm in Westport, Co. Mayo.

If you would like to own a heifer like "Altamira Jordan" our annual Heifer Draw has just been launched. Again, we have great prizes including a pedigree Limousin Heifer, a €500 holiday voucher and a €250 voucher for Trailblazers Biking and Hiking Shop (Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim).

Tickets are only €5 and can be bought online on our homepage or if you'd like to order a book of tickets to sell please email mike@viva.ie



(Thanks to Cathy Waddell for the photos)


(Thu, 21 May 2015 20:34:00 +0000)

The 2014 Mike O'Leary Trust Travel Bursary Lecture

Charlene Grice & Dr. Joe Collins

The 2014 winner of the Mike O’Leary Trust Travel Bursary was Charlene Grice, a third year veterinary student in UCD. Charlene travelled to Uganda in July 2014 to visit our animal traction project. This is the tenth year of the Bursary which sponsors a veterinary student each year to spend a month visiting one of VIVA's overseas projects. The Mike O'Leary Trust was established to honour the memory of Kerry vet, Mike O'Leary, who died tragically of cardiomyopathy in 2003 at the age of 39. His family and friends have undertaken a number of fundraising initiatives over the years to raise funds for the Travel Bursary in addition to supporting the Irish NGO, GOAL, and cardiomyopathy research.

According to Charlene “it was truly amazing to witness how hard working these farmers are and how far and how quickly they have been able to progress. The average initial investment in each farm is actually less than €250 so it is quite impressive”

On March 31st Charlene delivered a lecture in UCD's Veterinary College on her experiences in Uganda to her fellow students. She was joined by Dr. Joe Collins who spoke on his experiences volunteering with Animal Care Egypt (ACE) who provide veterinary services to working equines in the Luxor region in Egypt. Both lectures gave a very interesting overview to students of the important role played by livestock and working equines in rural communities in the Developing World.

(Mon, 13 Apr 2015 21:32:00 +0000)

Heifer Draw 2015 launched

Our annual Heifer Draw has just been launched. Again, we have great prizes including a pedigree Limousin Heifer, a €500 holiday voucher and a €250 voucher for Trailblazers Biking and Hiking Shop (Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim).

Tickets are only €5 and can be bought online on our homepage or if you'd like to order a book of tickets to sell please email mike@viva.ie



(Fri, 03 Apr 2015 08:25:00 +0000)

Happy New Year!

VIVA would like to wish all their supporters a Happy New Year and to thank them for all their support in 2014.

This year your support has changed the lives of livestock farmers in Pakistan, Kosovo and Uganda. We'd like to share one farmer's story with you to demonstrate the impact of your efforts.  Leviza was one of the farmers we supported on our goat project in Pakistan this year.


Leviza lives along with her husband, a farmer, and three children in a two-roomed house. Her husband, who is the lone bread-winner, works as a farmer but earns only about €40 a month. Making ends meet was very difficult for the family.  Leviza became seriously ill and the family had to borrow money to enable her to get medical attention and the family went deeper and deeper in to debt. Through contacts with our partner TNJ, Leviza became involved with a local micro-credit group. As she began to save small amounts with the group she became eligible to receive three teddy goats as part of the TNJ / VIVA project. She then began selling milk from the goats in the market and breeding kid goats for meat. The milk sales alone doubled the family income allowing them to repay their loans and help improve the family situation. 

With your support in 2015 we will continue to work with livestock farmers like Leviza in the Developing World.





(Sat, 10 Jan 2015 11:36:00 +0000)

Fundraiser of the Year - 2014

The Veteran Vets

Every year donors raise money for VIVA in imaginative ways. However, our favourite fundraiser this year was the re-run of one of the great UCD Superleague rivalries of the late 80s - Vet Faculty v Commerce Faculty - which raised over €1000 for VIVA. This is Denis O'Connor's match report!

The highlight of many sports fans' 2014 was the eagerly anticipated rematch between the Veteran Vets and the Commerce Tulips in Belfield on Feb 8th. With no love lost between these two teams a bruising, full blooded encounter was expected and it didn’t disappoint.The game began at an unforgiving pace and the Vets were caught cold with two early Tulip goals despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Tadgh Murphy to justify his inclusion in the starting eleven. The Vets didn’t lie down however (not all at once anyway!) and their midfield of Tony O'Donoghue, Seamy Fagan and baby of the team, John Hennessy,were soon getting the better of their opposite numbers and bringing the lethal strike-force of the Sexton brothers and Denis O’Connor more into play. Indeed, Michael Sexton proved a real handful for the opposition defence on the rare occasions he managed to stay onside in the first half, which alas, ended scoreless for the Vets. After a rousing half time speech, given by chief cheerleader Tom (I forgot my boots) Fabby and the application of industrial amounts of deep heat, the Vets took to the field again with renewed vigour. With fullbacks David Connors and Tom Murray raiding down the flanks like youthful versions of Roberto Carlos it was only a matter of time before the Vets got their just rewards and it came in the shape of a sublime finish by Tony O’ Donoghue from a very tight angle. With Centre backs, Donagh McDonnell and Conor O Scanaill, now lording it over the opposition forwards, it was all out attack by the Vets for the final fifteen minutes in search of the equaliser that their legions of supporters were baying for. Unfortunately it never came; thanks to some fine Tulip goalkeeping and the ever unsympathetic woodwork! 

On leaving the field………. 

Quote of the day: “It’s much easier run with two pulled hamstrings than one”- C O’Scanaill 

Muse of the day:“I never knew I was this good at soccer”- D McDonnell 

Thought of the day: “Why did I say I’d wash the jerseys - the wife is going to kill me!”- T Murray 

Refrain of the day: “Pass the ball Sexy”- Usually directed at Michael Sexton (often with various adjectives preceding “ball”) or his more talented brother Tomas. 

Having congratulated the victorious Tulips, all retired to Kiely’s for a hearty lunch and some liquid anaesthesia! Many thanks to the guest players on the day - Tony O’ Donoghue of RTE, Tom Murray of MSD and Tomas Sexton of CORK. Also thanks to kit sponsor MSD and lunch sponsors Bayer, Norbrook and Pfizer. The match was preceded by a minutes silence in remembrance of deceased teammates. Thanks to all who sponsored the players - watch out for the re-rematch in 2015!
(Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:30:00 +0000)

The 2014 Mike O'Leary Trust Travel Bursary Winner

This year’s winner of the Mike O’Leary Trust Travel Bursary was Charlene Grice, a third year veterinary student in UCD. Charlene travelled to Uganda in July to visit our animal traction project. This is the tenth year of the Bursary which sponsors a veterinary student each year to spend a month visiting on one of VIVA's overseas projects. The Mike O'Leary Trust was established to honour the memory of Kerry vet, Mike O'Leary, who died tragically in 2003 at the age of 39. His family and friends have undertaken a number of fundraising initiatives over the years to raise funds for the Travel Bursary in addition to supporting the Irish NGO, GOAL, and cardiomyopathy research. You can read Charlene's report below.
Uganda 2014 Report - Charlene Grice.pdf





(Sun, 16 Nov 2014 20:41:00 +0000)

The Heifer Draw - The Winners!

The draw for our annual "Heifer Draw" was made at the CAVI (Cattle Veterinary Association of Ireland) conference in Cork at the weekend. The winners are as follows:

The Limousin Heifer - Liam Garavan, Kilameena, Westport, Co. Mayo
(Seller's Prize - Cathy Waddell, Westport, Co. Mayo)
€500 Travel Voucher - Paddy Cadden, Loughduff, Co. Cavan.
€250 Bike Shop Voucher - Celia Coyle, KIlcross, Beglieve, Bailieboro, Co. Cavan.

Congrats to all and thanks to CAVI for facilitating us on the day.

Almost 2,250 tickets were sold raising over €11,000 for VIVA's projects.


Conor Geraghty (CAVI) - right - pulls the winning ticket in the 2014 "Heifer Draw"


(Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:31:00 +0000)

Goats Handover on Pakistan Project

80 women have each received three goats as part of VIVA's new project in the Punjab region of north east Pakistan. Working with our new partner, TNJ, the project will work with 80 marginalised women who are members of the“Taraqee Women’s Cooperative Credit Society”(TWCCS).

These women and their families work in the local brick kilns earning approx €1 a day for producing 1000 bricks. These low incomes do not allow the women to care properly for their families or send their children to school. The kilns do not operate during the monsoon season (July to September) so the women then get loans to tide them over from the brick kiln owners at very high interest rates. This is one of the reasons they women have set up their Co-operative Credit Society.

To help the women generate additional income 240 teddy goats ( a local breed raised for its meat) have been distributed to the women. The goats will generate an income from the sale of milk, ghee ( a type of butter) and meat.
Qamar Zaman (TNJ) hands over three goats to a lucky farmer

The project is being jointly funded by VIVA and Electric Aid (the staff social justice fund of Electric Ireland). €13,000 has been committed for Year 1 of the project.
(Thu, 01 May 2014 12:14:00 +0000)

Prime Health Vets support VIVA

Prime Health Vets was set up in early 2013 by ten veterinary practices in Munster to work together to benefit their farmer clients and promote herd health.One of their initiatives is to organise practical training days and seminars where experts in a specific topic share their knowledge with their farmer clients. At one of their recent seminars in Fermoy Mart on dairy fertility all the admission fees were donated to VIVA. This raised a total of €2,500 for our overseas projects.

VIVA would like to thank their chairman, Paul Redmond and all the participating practices for their generous support.

Paul Redmond of Prime Health Vets (left) presents a cheque to Mike Burke (VIVA)

(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:11:00 +0000)

Mike O'Leary Travel Bursary Lecture

The 9th winner of the Mike O'Leary Trust, Sarah Irwin, delivered a lecture on her experiences in Uganda in the Veterinary College in UCD recently. Sarah, a 4th year veterinary student, spent three weeks on VIVA's animal traction project in Uganda last summer. This travel bursary is funded by the Mike O'Leary Trust which was set up to commemorate the memory of Mike O'Leary, a Kerry veterinary surgeon who died tragically in 2004. Each year, a veterinary student is funded to spend three weeks on a VIVA overseas project.

You can read Sarah's report on her trip in the viewer below



Sarah Irwin - Report 2013 -
(Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:25:00 +0000)

VIVA launches goat project in Pakistan

VIVA has just commenced funding a new project in the Punjab region of north east Pakistan. Working with our new partner, TNJ, the project will work with 80 marginalised women who are members of theTaraqee Women’s Cooperative Credit Society”(TWCCS).

These women and their families work in the local brick kilns earning approx €1 a day for producing 1000 bricks. These low incomes do not allow the women to care properly for their families or send their children to school. In fact, as soon as children are old enough they also start working in the kilns to help their families meet the daily target of 1000 bricks. The kilns do not operate during the monsoon season (July to September) so the women then get loans to tide them over from the brick kiln owners at very high interest rates. This is one of the reasons they women have set up their Co-operative Credit Society.

To help the women generate additional income 240 teddy goats ( a local breed raised for its meat) will be purchased and each of the 80 women will receive 3 goats. The goats will generate an income from the sale of milk, ghee ( a type of butter) and meat. The women will also receive training in the care of the goats. After a year the beneficiaries must return three goats to the Co-op for distribution to other members of the group thus ensuring the sustainability of initiative.

The project is being jointly funded by VIVA and Electric Aid (the staff social justice fund of Electric Ireland). €13,000 has been committed for Year 1 of the project.

The Punjab region in Pakistan



(Thu, 20 Mar 2014 11:20:00 +0000)

Bursary Winner's trip to Uganda


Una meets with farmers on VIVA's Animal Traction Project

This year’s winner of the Mike O’Leary Trust Travel Bursary was Una Boyle a third year veterinary student in Budapest in Hungary. Una travelled to Uganda in July to visit our animal traction project. This is the seventh year of the Bursary which sponsors a veterinary student each year to spend a month visiting on one of VIVA's overseas projects. The Mike O'Leary Trust was established to honour the memory of Kerry vet, Mike O'Leary, who died tragically in 2003 at the age of 39. His family and friends have undertaken a number of fundraising initiatives over the years to raise funds for the Travel Bursary in addition to supporting the Irish NGO, GOAL, and cardiomyopathy research.

While in Uganda, Una focussed on the incomes the farmers are generating from the sale of surplus produce – what uses is it being put to? These are some excerpts from her report:
"Some farmers spoke about how previous to owning their own bull they had to hire oxen and a plough. This was proving costly for them at approx. €16 per acre plus they had to wait for the owners of the oxen and plough to work their land first, consequently they were late in ploughing and sewing seed. An acre may have taken 2-3 weeks to dig by hand but with the help of the bulls and plough it can be done in 3 hours. The farmers grew a variety of different crops such as ground nuts, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes, cow peas, sorghum, beans, millet, egg plant and rice. Many farmers talked about how they’re now able to feed their children a healthier and more stable diet."

"I was pleased to learn that all the farmers were using their extra income to provide their children with the best education they could afford, with a couple even gaining the opportunity to go to university. It was explained to me how sending a child to school can be very expensive. The figures quoted varied amongst the households, with school fees varying from €19 to €143 per term with 3 terms in a year; school uniforms from €3 to €16 and books on top of this (a dozen for ≈ €1). Some children went to private schools which accounts for the higher figures, these may be more expensive but public schools can be completely overcrowded and provide a poor education".

"On questioning the farmers about any recent investments a few spoke about how they were building a ‘permanent’ (brick) house. The majority of farmers had invested in animals such as local breeds of chicken at (€3-5). Some invested in goats (€13 to €22). One family had even purchased 2 cows to provide milk for the family, they had cost €127) and €190) respectively. Others investments consisted of guinea fowl, pigs and tree seedlings to grow citrus fruits".

"Since participation in the project the extra cash available can be spent on clothing. One of the farmers informed me that beforehand 'children didn’t have proper clothing and women dressed shabby but now they look smart'. Investments in household items such as bedding, mattresses, saucepans, plates and cups have been made. Most farmers informed me of the difference purchasing a simple mosquito net has had on their families health as it has reduced the incidence of malaria. This in turn has reduced doctor fees drastically. Many of the recipients outlined the positive effect their more varied, healthier diet has had; people are better nourished and therefore having less health issues".
The full report can be read here or in the viewer below

Uganda 2012 Report - Una Boyle

On her return Una organised for her and some of her fellow students to take part in the Budapest Marathon on October 7th to raise funds for VIVA. Not only did they complete the marathon but they raised €600 for our overseas projects.

(Fri, 16 Nov 2012 15:21:00 +0000)

Heifer Draw 2012

The winning tickets in our "Heifer Draw" were drawn yesterday. The winner of the Limousin heifer is Tom Cronin from Sallins in Co. Kildare (Seller - Brendan Leslie). The runner-up prize of a holiday voucher was Adrian Cummins from Castlerea in Co. Roscommon (Seller - Kevin Geoghegan). Thanks again to everyone who supported the raffle.


Nearly 3,200 tickets were sold for the draw to raise almost € 16,000 for our overseas projects. A big thank you to all our sellers.


(Mon, 01 Oct 2012 10:06:00 +0000)

Inner Wheel

 




Maureen O'Sullivan of Inner Wheel (Limerick) presents a cheque to Mike Burke of VIVA


Inner Wheel is an international women's organisation which promotes friendship, personal service and international understanding amongst its members. The Chairman of District 16 (which comprises 23 clubs across the island of Ireland) for 2011 - 2012, Sylvia Tennant, chose VIVA as her nominated charity for the year.
With her term at an end, Inner Wheel have now made a donation of almost € 3,500 to VIVA to support their animal traction project in Uganda. These funds were donated by Inner Wheel clubs across the island following a presentation by Mike Burke of VIVA to Inner Wheel's annual assembly in Dun Laoghaire.
This type of support is vital in securing the future of our overseas projects. If you organisation would like to partner with VIVA we would love to hear from you.



(Fri, 31 Aug 2012 14:55:00 +0000)

Mike O'Leary Travel Bursary Winner 2012


This year's winner of the Mike O'Leary Travel Bursary is Una Boyle, a third-year veterinary student at Szent Istvan University, in Budapest in Hungary. From Newry in Co. Down, Una is one of over 100 Irish students studying in Budapest and she is the first Bursary winner who is studying veterinary medicine overseas. This summer Una will spend 3 weeks on our animal traction project in Uganda where she will study the impact of the project on the more than 300 farming families involved.
(Wed, 09 May 2012 09:21:00 +0000)

Mike O'Leary Trust Bursary Annual Lecture

On February 23rd, Áine Ní Choileaín, the 7th winner of the Mike O'Leary Travel Bursary delivered a lecture in the Veterinary College on her experiences in Uganda. Looking resplendent in a traditional Ugandan dress called a gomezi, Aine spoke on her three week trip to VIVA's animal traction project in eastern Uganda. During her trip Áine focussed specifically on the role of women in farming in the region.

The theme of Áine's talk - "A woman empowered - a nation developed" emphasised the impact that economic and social empowerment of women can have. Farming is the main occupation of over 90% of rural women in Uganda. In fact, half the beneficaries on VIVA's project are female and this has had a major impact in elevating the status of women in the community. They are now respected as owners of livestock and domestic violence,which was a big problem in the community, has decreased significantly. One woman declared that the women now know "how to cool the tempers of their husbands". The implementation of labour saving technologies like ox-ploughing and energy-efficient ovens have also greatly improved the quality of life of the women as they now have more free time for themselves and their children.

Some Ugandan colour was added by the appearance of the Dembe Dance Troupe who entertained the audience with traditional Ugandan dance and drumming.

Thanks again to VetSoc for hosting the lecture and presenting a cheque to VIVA on the night for €600, the proceeds of fundraising during Ragweek.



(Fri, 30 Mar 2012 14:23:00 +0000)

VIVA moves to Haiti

VIVA has joined with Bothar to support a livestock project in Haiti. Our partner there, Fonkoze, is a microcredit institution providing small loans and saving facilitites to over over 250,000 people in Haiti.They have now diversified into providing assests like livestock to the very poor to help them generate incomes.The programme, which will target women, will provide 20 families with cows and another organisation, Veterimed, will provide training and technical assistance.VIVA has committed 10,000 Euro to the project for 2012.

The initiative is part of Fonkoze's "Chemen Lavi Miyo" programme or the "Road to a Better Life" which reaches out to those on the margins of society who are not eligible for Fonkoze's microfinance programme. Throughout the 18-month program, case managers support clients as they learn to run their agricultural enterprise,repair their homes and access health care and education services. Participants develop both their capacity and their confidence until they have their own functioning microenterprises. After completing this programme participants move on to the microfinance programme where they can access loans etc.
(Tue, 14 Feb 2012 13:01:00 +0000)

The Westport "Bike 'n Hike"


(The cyclists in the Doolough Valley - Photo courtesy of Peter Kelly)

The Westport "Bike 'n Hike" event was a great success raising over € 25,000 for our overseas projects. A full report can be read here or in the viewer below.



The Westport "Bike 'n Hike" -
(Fri, 28 Oct 2011 15:47:00 +0000)