Frequently asked questions
About our approach and operations, here and in Africa
We support and improve the small-scale, family owned livestock farming in developing countries. Agriculture and livestock farming are the main sources of food and income. If the animals are healthy and produce more, the people have more food and income.
That allows them to save small amounts of money, send the children to school or pay for a doctor visit. A healthy livestock thus contributes to the health and well-being of the people who depend on it.
We help keep the livestock healthy, so that farmers can build a better existence for themselves and their families.
For some activities, we appeal to community animal health workers or government veterinarians, for example for large-scale vaccination campaigns. They are compensated for this.
For certain functions, we seek staff in the international labor market, choosing the person with the most relevant experience. This could be a veterinarian from Belgium, but also an agricultural engineer from Great Britain or a manager from Kenya.
Unfortunately, we barely have a budget to send volunteers or trainees to our programs in Africa. The field often has no need for such assistance and may not always offer the necessary learning experience or guidance that trainees or volunteers wish for. We also find it extremely important for the local population to be responsible for their own future. For this reason, the capacity building of our African partners is central to our operations. In the context of this capacity building, we are currently looking for ways to enable Belgian veterinarians and students of veterinary medicine to volunteer in the South.
We regularly organize exchange trips to Africa for Belgian veterinarians and students of agricultural and veterinary medicine. This is highly educational and has an important influence on how someone views the world. We expect these ‘ambassadors’ to volunteer for Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium before and after the trip. We always launch the call for these trips through our website and e-news.
We often have interns in the areas of communications, marketing, human resources, advocacy and development education. Are you interested in an internship? In that case, regularly consult the vacancies on our website. Spontaneous applications are also welcome. We look at each internship request in terms of availability of work and professional guidance within the organization.
Depending on current needs, we are looking for volunteers for certain tasks, such as translations, IT, human resources, administration… These vacancies always appear on our website, but spontaneous job applications are always welcome!
- Nomadic livestock farmers, also referred to as pastoralists
- Settled small-scale farmers with a some livestock
- Livestock farmers living in a city or suburbs
These private donations ensure, among other things, that we receive important subsidies at both Belgian and international levels. Many grant providers pay only 80 to 90% of the total cost of a development program and they ask us to add or “co-finance” the remaining 10% to 20% ourselves. And we can only do that thanks to private donations. This way, for each euro collected, we can get grants from four to nine euros. As a result, a donation of 10 or 20 euros is worth at least 100 euros!
The entire bookkeeping, including those of the development programs in the field, is centralized at headquarters in Brussels. The financial director monitors all financial transactions and reports to the management and directors’ committee and the board of directors.
The organization’s accounts, including the accounts of all projects, are audited annually by an external and independent audit firm.
A significant part of the revenue of Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium comes from national governments and intergovernmental institutions. These grant providers impose additional external audits, each with strict criteria, which require the organization to have a high internal control level.
In order to ensure a continuous improvement of the internal control mechanisms, an audit committee is convened every three months – composed of members of the management committee – which monitors the application of the recommendations of external auditors.
We think transparency is important. You can therefore consult the financial position of Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium on various websites, such as ngo-openboek.be, goededoelen.be, donorinfo.be and the website of the National Bank of Belgium. We are also member of the Association pour une Ethique dans les Récoltes de Fonds (AERF – Belgian association for ethics in fundraising), which checks each year whether we ethically use the private donations we receive. The Belgian government also checks every six years how we spend our money and whether we can issue tax certificates.
The farmers we support have a small livestock, sometimes just a few animals, just enough to maintain themselves. More intensive livestock farming practices are accompanied by high methane emissions, use of fossil fuels, deforestation and land use. They do have a negative impact on the climate.
It fits in the survival strategy of a pastoralist – for example in the Sahel region – to diversify the herd by farming cattle, sheep as well as goats. This allows him to fully use the diverse plant growth in just one area. In addition, one species leaves vegetation for the other: goats eat the bushes, cows the big grass and sheep the short grass. For centuries, pastoralists have been keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium, also for wildlife.
There is a big difference between ‘eating’ and ‘destroying’. Sometimes it seems that a herd has eaten everything ‘bald’, but without having destroyed anything. After the first rain, in just a few days the grass grows like normal and the bushes and trees bloom again. If there is already ‘destruction’ of the vegetation – and thus desertification, this has a more complex cause, and especially a climatological origin: absence of water and rainfall in the desert.
Animals can, in principle, ‘destroy’ vegetation. And because goats are the hardest and strongest, they will also eat the last bit with root and everything, if they have to. This is a consequence of overgrazing: humans who keep too many animals on too small a surface. No livestock farmer benefits from overgrazing! A pastoralist does not leave an area because the grassland is all eaten, but simply to look for better grasslands. If he has to stay somewhere where there is not enough grassland, that is not because of free will, but because the context obligates him to do so. For example, grasslands that are no longer accessible because of violence or that are being taken for agriculture, housing or infrastructure projects. In such cases, they do unfortunately contribute, but completely outside their will and principles, to overgrazing.
Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium takes this problem into account in its various development programs. We aim for sustainable management of natural resources such as water and grass. In addition, we support the mobility of pastoralists, by cooperating with local authorities and legally establishing access to grazing land. This allows pastoralists to leave at the right time for more suitable pastures and to prevent overgrazing and ‘destruction’ of vegetation.
Supporting us financially
You can also help Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium as a volunteer; you can look at our vacancies or apply spontaneously. You can volunteer as a veterinarian, student or professor, you can fundraise, organize a lecture, attend one of our activities… Learn more about how you can help.
Only donations in cash are tax deductible.
- Donations of immovable property;
- Donations that relate to registered securities, such as shares in a limited liability company or shares in a public corporation.
Moveable property, banknotes, jewelry, works of art… can be donated through an earnest handsel without excessive formalities.
If you are not legally aware of the binding provisions in this regard, it is recommended to obtain advice from a qualified lawyer before making an important donation. You do not have a notary yet? Find a notary near you.
If you have children and/or are married, you can decide what you do with all your possessions. But your children or your spouse can reduce the amount of the bequest by invoking the so-called ‘reserved inheritance share’; this is half of your patrimony to which they are legally entitled. Since you do not know whether you will still have children or a spouse at the moment of your death, or whether they will claim this minimum part, you can include all your possessions in your will.
About your personal data: moving, privacy, adjustments…
If you support us monthly, you must first report your change of address to your bank. Then contact us so that we can adjust your data in our database.
When you make a donation to Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium on our bank account BE15 0013 1604 0830, your data are saved in a database jointly managed with Direct Social Communications (DSC, Rue Victor Rauterstraat 33, 1070 Brussels). Your data can therefore also be used for other humanitarian actions and charities. Contact us if you do not wish this, or if you want to view, change or delete your data.
This may sound contradictory, but sending letters and gadgets is the most efficient way for us to collect private donations. If we send a letter with a gadget, more people will make a donation. By investing in this, we ultimately help more livestock families, because more donors make a donation after receiving a letter with a gadget.
If you do not like to receive gifts or letters from us (or less frequently), we can change your preferences in our database. Please do not hesitate to contact us.