Our Global Work
African Jersey Forum
One of the Society’s cross-cutting Dairy for Development initiatives is creation of an ‘African Jersey Forum’. This is a regional network, in line with similar existing fora in other regions (such as the European Jersey Forum), which provides a space for interested parties to share knowledge, learn, and network with other regional stakeholders with an interest in the Jersey breed and dairy more generally. The African Jersey Forum concept was formally launched in June 2019 at the Regional Dairy Workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.
A key element of the African Jersey Forum is the establishment of a website, which has now been launched (at www.africanjerseyforum.com) and promotes research, education and coordination between individuals and organisations interested in the enhancement of the Jersey breed, both within Africa and the tropics in general. Target audiences of the forum include researchers, politicians and policy-makers, farmers and agribusiness representatives, and non-governmental organisations. The website is a platform for sharing a variety of content including scientific articles and reports, news and insights related to the dairy industry including human interest stories and interviews, and educational materials in a variety of formats.
The Society was privileged to host the first African Jersey Forum conference on the 2nd and 3rd of November 2021. Titled 'The Jersey Footprint in Africa', the virtual conference was supported by Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) and focused on the role of the Jersey breed in strengthening the African smallholder dairy sector. Originally scheduled to be held in-person in Ethiopia, travel restrictions forced a move to a virtual event but also allowed a wider range of speakers from across the world to contribute. Small in-person events were also held at the Showground in Jersey, and at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Day one focused specifically on the impact that the Jersey breed and the Island’s support is having in three JOA-funded ‘dairy for development’ projects in Ethiopia. Three short films (available here) were shown from the charities implementing the projects; Project Mercy, Send a Cow, and SCIAF (the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund). Later, expert speakers gave presentations on a range of topics and were able to answer questions through a virtual Q&A function. The event also publicised the launch of the African Jersey Forum website earlier this year.
The conference attracted nearly 1,000 online attendances, coming from 36 countries. Over 50% of these online attendees dialled in from Africa, from 14 countries across the region. Video recordings from both days of the conference can be accessed here along with copies of the presentations given at the event.
The intention is that, over time, the forum will develop an extensive library of resources and a network of users throughout the region, promoting the Jersey breed and its benefits and providing useful information to farmers in nascent dairy industries throughout Africa.