Between April 5 2013- May 27 2013 I along with a soy food facilitator offered soy food and tofu trainings 3 days a week and campaign awareness 2 days a week for community members in the village of Tcheriba, Burkina Faso. The schedule is as follows:
April 5 9am-12pm: Large town hall meeting is called with all community associations, and community members to discuss the start of the Soy/tofu trainings. One hundred and sixty-seven people attend (167). During this town hall meeting the following topics were discussed:
-What is Veganism?
-Nutrition and combatting malnutrition
-The role of animals in “man’s” life (treating animals with dignity)
-Meat versus Soy products
-Soy products easier than assumed (overview of soy and tofu products that can be made easily)
A sign -up sheet was circulated for the soy food training beginning on April 8 through May 27.
Objective 1: Community members learn how to make soy and tofu products for nutrition, and income generating activities.
Two sessions every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Soy and Tofu product making
MTW 8AM- 12PM: Soy milk, yogurt, and ice cream making
MTW 2PM-6PM: Tofu kebabs, and flavored soy juice
Objective 2: to educate community members on the health benefits of veganism and to improve the treatment of animals.
Thursday and Friday 2pm-5pm
Awareness of veganism and the health benefits. Animal cruelty awareness and different forms of abuse to animals. During these campaigns we used theater for animation of the topic. At the beginning of the sessions a survey was given to test the knowledge of the participants on animal cruelty and veganism. The survey results showed that 100% of the participants were non -vegan. Furthermore, those who do not eat meat are because of poverty. They cannot afford to buy meat, therefore it is not a conscious choice but rather forced because of their circumstances.
Special activity: Through some networking I became acquainted with Donkey Sanctuary International. A UK NGO that works with communities and their donkeys around the world.
During the week of May 7th to May 14 is International Donkey Week. I incorporated this into my awareness campaign on animal rights and cruelty. I targeted children and farmers who have the most interaction with animals. Additionally, although donkeys are mistreated they actually a commodity in most developing countries. In this village donkeys are an essential player in the daily lives of the community members. They carry items ranging from bricks to construct, water jugs, supplies, and more. They are used as a mode of transportation, and accompany farmers while at the farm. It was important to have people understand their importance and how to treat them accordingly.
Participants of International Donkey Week 42 adults (15 women, 27 men) and 61 children (29 girls and 32 boys).
May 7th– 8th
– Participants learn about the importance of donkeys in their day to day survival (carrying materials, as a mode of transportation, etc.)
-Awareness of donkey welfare.
-Sanitation with farming animals (included collecting animal excrement and using as fertilizer later)
May 9th -10th
-Community wide trash pick- up (a main killer and health risk for animals in this village is plastic bag consumption)
May 11th -12th
Child play and donkeys. Children often believe the way in which they play with animals is innocent. However, sometimes their play is rough and can be categorized as animal cruelty. In this activity children learn new playing methods with donkeys.
Participants learn to groom their donkey (brushing, bathing, and general donkey hygiene.) Local veterinarian attended to give tips on donkey well-being
Closing ceremony of a skit made by the participating children.
Refreshments of soy products served.
Result 1: 237(145 women, 92 men) community members are directly trained and make soy milk, tofu kebabs, soy flavored juice, soy yogurt and ice cream.
Result 2: 415 students (239 primary school students, 176 high school students) receive direct awareness on soy health benefits and animal cruelty awareness. 184 adults (118 women, 66 men) (22 men and women from the Parent/ Teacher Association) receive awareness on animal cruelty and vegan/soy benefits.
Result 3: 52 women (or 2 women’s associations) are generating income selling tofu kebabs and soy yogurt.
Unexpected result 1: school officials decide to include soy products as part of lunch for primary school children in Tcheriba.
Unexpected result 2: 30% of participants replace meat with soy products.
*the end of project survey results showed: 30% of participants have already replaced meat in their diet; 22% say they have reduced their meat intake, and 60% say they treat their animals better.
*in the upcoming months case studies will be conducted and posted.