Don’t just talk, Take action!

This is the set goal of the Alianza One Health Selva Maya. The initiative serves as a regional dialogue platform for One Health in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize, which means that it’s been used as a communication channel for different stakeholders, and it’s a tool to facilitate engagement, interaction and the adoption of appropriate prevention and rapid response measures. The focus is on those who put the One Health Approach into practice, be it at academic, research, community or policy level. The Alianza works to go beyond the rhetoric. Therefore, different tools and set ups on the Alianza’s website enable broad participation: You’ll find a discussion forum, an event calendar, working groups, as well as a scientific platform. The already existing working groups are self-managed by members and have different thematic focus, e.g. Water, Air and Soil, Zoonotic and Vector Diseases, Wildlife Health, Academics and research, Monitoring and Surveillance and Local and indigenous knowledge.

The membership is free of charge and since the Alianza’s character is based on co-design and co-creation, members are invited to actively participate. If members wish to start a working group on a specific topic of their interest or want to organise an online event on certain aspect of One Health, they give support to put that into practice. So don’t hesitate to get in contact with them.

Recently, an info sheet has been published in both English and Spanish by the Alianza. This sheet can be used as a point of reference for interested implementation partners, organisations, and related networks to give a first impression of what this project is about and what benefits the Alianza can generate.

If you would like to learn more about the Alianza One Health Selva Maya, please check out their website and have a look at their info sheet:

Webinar: Zoonoses and bushmeat in Africa – Pro Wildlife Germany 

On July 6 was ‘World Zoonoses Day’. On this occasion, our member organisation Pro Wildlife hosted a webinar on the topic of zoonoses and bushmeat in Africa. In four African countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia and Liberia), the animal and species conservation organisation is conducting educational work on the health risks of consuming “bushmeat” in an innovative educational project together with local wildlife sanctuaries. Project partners from each country talked about their work and contribution on how to protect wildlife and reduce the risk for zoonoses. The Alliance is funding Pro Wildlife in implementing the project ‘A Transnational African Zoonosis Education campaign: Raising awareness for wildlife trade-linked health risks’.  

“Our education project in Africa is an example of how we can have a positive impact on human and animal health through outreach and education.” Dr Sandra Altherr, Pro Wildlife. 

The event began with guest speaker Dr. Egbetade Adeniyi giving an update and introduction about zoonoses, its meaning and relevance regarding wildlife and bushmeat. He highlighted the fact that shared spaces also mean shared pathogens and therefore the protection of habitats is of utmost importance. 

Afterwards Isabel Michler from the Secretariat of the Alliance briefly presented the Alliance and its goals. Furthermore, emphasis was put on the important role of wildlife santuaries in pandemic prevention, which was one of the reasons the Pro Wildlife project was selected for funding. This webinar was a very good example for how the International Alliance connects its members to enable new collaborations and expand each member’s radius to foster an international network. 

Pro Wildlife’s co-founder, Dr. Sandra Altherr, explained the aims of the organisation’s project and the importance of it. When conducting awareness campaigns to reduce the demand for wildlife and bushmeat are implemented, the dangers of zoonotic diseases are often neglected. Pro Wildlife’s campaign, on the other hand, focuses on creating public awareness on the ground for the human health risks assosiated with wildlife trade, using the One Health approach. 

© Limbe Wildlife Center

Dauda Onawola, manager of the Zoonoses Education Campaign of Pandrillus Nigeria, was the first one to present his organisation within this broad-based project. The biggest challenge for them is the number of different languages and dialects spoken in the country. By using the local English accent at a radio broad cast und also a newly started Spotify channel, they aim to reach as many people as possible and inform about bushmeat. They also distribute materials like calendars to not only reach single people, but whole households. Spreading the organisation’s message into communities is being done by teaching people to become ambassadors. Additionally, they use social media like Facebook, twitter and Instagram and post almost every week. The next steps are already being planned: the production of educational materials in the form of a tool kit.

The Limbe Wildlife Centre was presented by Wilson Ateh. They not only teach the public in their conservation education centre in Limbe, Cameroon, but also train their own staff.  For this purpose, the staff was divided into four different groups and each group presented their findings afterwards. Another way of creating more awareness they have been used is supporting the players of local football matches with t-shirts that have messages about zoonoses and wildlife trade on the back.  

Susan Wiper is the Director of Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary in Liberia, which started its work in 2017. So far, they have taken in about 700 animals and more than 350 of them have been released back into the wild. Bushmeat Consumption is part of Liberia’s culture, but due to the Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016, the government passed a new law in 2016 to curb the killing of wildlife and trade of wildmeat or bushmeat. The by authorities confiscated animals are brought to the sanctuary where they are be taken care of. To address people and raise awareness, they use scientific evidence, educate children at school, and encourage volunteer participation in nature work. To reach even more people they work together with other local NGOs and furthermore have a partnership with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

The Zambia Primate Project (GRI-ZPP) is a sanctuary especially for monkeys and baboons. They rescue, rehabilitate, and release them back to the wild, if possible. Besides that, the Project also organises community meetings with local authorities so that local chiefs or community leaders can positively influence their communities as role models or women from one of the many women groups have a better understanding of the health risks when using bushmeat in the kitchen. The GRI-ZPP runs several Conservation clubs in 60 schools on a weekly schedule. The participating children are from grade 5 and 6. These children are seen as the future generation, who can spread the message to other students, their peer groups and at home. Another way to raise awareness is a regularly 15min educational session over the community radio channel with a subsequent competition to keep the listeners motivated. Additionally, they educate visitors at their Wildlife Discovery Centre and use stickers and banners at soccer tournaments to create a better understanding of the urgency to protect wildlife among the population.

The following discussion was very lively, and the participants were eager to either learn from these four projects and get in contact with them or learn more about the Alliance and become a member. We are happy to see the progress and success of this by the Alliance funded project and are looking forward to welcome more members in our community.

The recording of the webinar can be found on Pro Wildlife’s YouTube Channel.

Alliance Plenary meeting 6 June 2023

On 6 June, 2023, the Alliance held its second plenary meeting.

Agenda of the meeting

Part 1: State of affairs

  • What has happened in the last year
  • What to expect in 2nd part of 2023

Part 2: Current working areas

  • Reports from the Working Groups
  • Report from the Needs & Gaps analysis

Part 3: Utilizing our network at the science-policy interface

  • Introduction of the Int’l Alliance Gov. Consultation facility
  • Explaining the mechanism and how to become part

Overview and main take aways

Part 1: State of affairs

I. The Alliance has launched a new exchange hub with a user-friendly layout:

  • The website provides information about the Alliance, its governance, and the
    Secretariat team.
  • The website includes a members’ area with a global map showcasing Alliance
    members and a forum for networking, discussions and to exchange documents.
  • The website features a news section with updates and reports from Alliance
    members, as well as an events section were upcoming Alliance and members events are presented.
  • ‘Short pitches’ allow members to briefly introduce their work or organization
    during events and propose new event formats.

II. An upcoming joint conference of the Federal Ministries BMZ and BMUV, WCS, Quadripartite and the Alliance is scheduled for 12-13 October with participation on site in Berlin and potentially online, focusing on advancing the one health agenda with an environmental focus.

Part 2: Current working areas

I. Working Groups

  • Working Group one (Science Policy Interface) mentioned international
    processes in which the Alliance will take part.
  • Working Group two (The Big Picture) introduced initial thoughts in the upcoming position paper.
    Both Working Groups are open to new members:
  • For information on how to join the working groups, please visit the members area.
  • Working Group three (Evaluation) addresses the evaluation gap in health issues
    related to wildlife trade and seeks to raise awareness about systematic evaluation.
    Request to Alliance Members from WG 3:
  • Please share any systematic evaluations of the effects (intended and unintended) impacts of health risk reduction programs with the Secretariate.
  • We seek high quality evaluations of the effectiveness, acceptability, usefulness, fairness, and/or sustainability of interventions in ways that are adapted to their political and community environments.
  • Email for evaluation:

II. Needs and gaps analysis

In brief, the following results were extracted from the needs & gaps analysis:
1. Inclusion of social sciences and Indigenous partnerships:

  • Incorporating social sciences and partnering with Indigenous communities
    were identified as crucial for a comprehensive approach to address zoonotic
    spillover risks and wildlife trade.

2. Availability of practical best practice examples:

  • The analysis emphasized the need for sharing practical examples applicable in
    different settings to enhance knowledge exchange and replication of
    successful interventions.

3. Members who had not yet responded to the questionnaire will be approached for
additional feedback, potentially for focus group discussions.

  • If you wish to participate in a focus group discussion, contact us here.

Part 3: Utilizing our network at the science-policy interface

I. Introduction of the Int’l Alliance Gov. Consultation facility

  • The International Alliance Government Consultation Facility seeks to provide
    support to partner country governments and ministries in addressing health risks
    associated with wildlife trade.
  • It will offer technical expertise and input to governments, helping them tackle
    specific questions and challenges related to health risks, particularly zoonotic
  • It will promote inter-institutional contact and exchange among line ministries and supports governments in aligning their regulations with international agreements.
  • For more information, see here.

The recording and detailed documentation can be found in the members area.