Project information

Train vets & improve animal welfare in Ethiopia

Access to adequate veterinary training is very limited in developing countries. A Clinical Skills Teacher is desperately needed in Ethiopia to improve veterinary students’ theoretical knowledge, practical skills and experience. We urgently need funding to continue this post for 3 years.

January 2017 - January 2020

Charity information: SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad)

SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) logo
  • Need


    Currently, the majority of undergraduate veterinary courses in Africa offer basic theoretical training, but there are limited practical opportunities and resources available for students, especially those with a focus on working animals. This can limit the development of basic clinical and practical skills, confidence and quality of the veterinary care provided by new graduates. This in turn has a negative effect on the overall management and welfare of the animal population they work in.


    The Clinical Skills Teacher will help train veterinary students to master essential skills and develop clinical expertise. Techniques can be practised in the Clinical Skills Centre (CSC) until they are of a very high standard and students are confident in their own ability. The Clinical Skills Teacher will also provide opportunities for students to observe and assist with clinical cases at SPANA’s mobile clinic and gain valuable practical experience in the field.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To expand theoretical knowledge in undergraduate veterinary students in Ethiopia.


    » Run CSC stations focusing on anatomy, outlining different body systems and common diseases, with interactive software programmes to assist learning.
    » Provide case study scenarios for CSC students to work through, simulating the workup of a real case.
    » Make DVD tutorials on common conditions, such as equine colic and dental pathology, available to students.

    What success will look like

    Students’ theoretical knowledge will be measured by self-evaluation forms prior to attending the CSC and then reviewed yearly by the CSC to monitor progress.

    Aim 2

    To improve practical skills in undergraduate veterinary students in Ethiopia.


    » Run CSC station for students to perfect suturing through use of suturing models, with guidance from the Clinical Skills Teacher.
    » Run CSC station to teach students bandaging techniques and wound care.
    » Run CSC station for students to master injection and blood sampling techniques.
    » Teach students vital skills in sterile gowning and basic laboratory procedures.

    What success will look like

    Improvements in clinical skills will be measured by student self-evaluation and demonstrated by an improved standard of practical skill and confidence.

    Aim 3

    To provide undergraduate veterinary students in Ethiopia with practical experience in the field.


    » Give students the opportunity to observe and learn from live clinical cases encountered by the Clinical Skills Teacher at SPANA’s mobile clinic.
    » Help students gain confidence in handling live animals correctly, safely and calmly, by observing the Clinical Skills Teacher.
    » Allow students to practise clinical skills on animals with the guidance of the Clinical Skills Teacher.

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by providing an increased number of students with practical experience in the field that they would not otherwise have received.

  • Impact


    SPANA’s aim is to prevent the unnecessary suffering of working animals and provide a sustainable means of improving veterinary skills and knowledge to advance animal welfare in the long term. A Clinical Skills Teacher in Ethiopia has the potential to raise the standards of the next generation of veterinarians country-wide, which will be demonstrated by good practice in veterinary procedures leading to a higher level of care and healthier animals.


    As with any staff member, there is a risk that the Clinical Skills Teacher would not stay in the role for the duration of the project. Candidates for the position are screened by our Country Director, Dr Nigatu Aklilu, and interviewed extensively prior to employment, to ensure that they are passionate about teaching and share our goal of improving welfare for working animals in Ethiopia. The Clinical Skills teacher will be supported closely by Dr Nigatu, who is a very experienced vet.


    Donors to this project will receive regular updates, providing details of ongoing and forthcoming activities, including photos and stories from the field, and any amendments to the planned running of the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £16,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,334 Clinical Skills Teacher salary 1 year salary - subject to exchange rates and salary changes, sometimes dictated by the government.
      £5,333 Clinical Skills Teacher salary 1 year salary - subject to exchange rates and salary changes, sometimes dictated by the government.
      £5,333 Clinical Skills Teacher salary 1 year salary - subject to exchange rates and salary changes, sometimes dictated by the government.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Major Donor £4,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most populated and poorest countries, with many communities almost exclusively reliant on animals for their livelihoods. As a result, there are over 2.5 million working animals in Ethiopia, but access to vital veterinary care remains limited across much of the country. Severe drought and famine have repeatedly brought the Ethiopian population, and the animals that they depend on, to the brink of starvation.


    Many poor communities in Ethiopia rely heavily on working animals to survive and will benefit hugely from improved veterinary care. Veterinary students in Ethiopia will benefit from the support of a Clinical Skills Teacher to improve their knowledge and provide them with practical experience in the field. As graduate vets, they will provide better treatment for working animals, who are at increased risk of illness and injury due to the difficult and demanding conditions they face daily.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    SPANA was established in Ethiopia in 2002 and has worked closely with universities to improve the welfare of animals across the country. Over the past three years SPANA has successfully opened seven CSC’s in Africa, The Middle East and Asia, providing veterinary students with the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge under the guidance of clinically confident and competent teachers. The Clinical Skills Teacher was run successfully as a pilot project in Ethiopia from 2012-2015.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Nigatu Aklilu

    Dr Nigatu is Ethiopia’s Country Director. He joined SPANA in 2004 as an experienced vet, truly committed to improving the lives of working animals.

    Dr Reta

    Following the successful pilot project in Ethiopia, veterinary surgeon Dr Reta was appointed Clinical Skills Teacher for 2016.

    Cecilia Gath

    Cecilia is our Veterinary Programme Advisor. She works extensively with universities in developing countries and has set up our existing CSC’s.

We know how to help the animals in our care, but we need your help to ease their suffering. Please help us to continue this wonderful work so we can benefit the country’s hard-working animals. Thank you

Dr Nigatu, SPANA Ethiopia Country Director and Vet