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Public engagement in international animal welfare: reflections and cases

Working paper

Written by Ajoy Datta

Working paper

In 2008, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) was given the opportunity to conduct an evaluation of a diverse programme of animal welfare projects that included a variety of forms of public engagement activities. This working paper reflects the experiences of those involved in such projects and endeavours to identify some key lessons on the roles and benefits of incorporating a public engagement element into future projects.

The programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust, supported a diverse portfolio of projects, which endeavoured to 1) build the capacity of animal health practitioners; 2) link stakeholders to organisations able to produce and communicate new knowledge about animal health, provide training and influence policy; 3) inform best practice and support innovation in public engagement in this sector; 4) fund activities which could be replicated by a range of stakeholders in future; and 5) support the inclusion of public engagement in future animal health programmes.

Of the 19 projects across 22 countries, the majority were implemented in a single country and were located in sub-Saharan Africa. All projects focused on animal health issues and/or diseases that are spread from animals to humans, but they were set in differing political and socioeconomic contexts, were different lengths and had different implementation and governance arrangements.

Analysis of the projects included a review of project-related literature and two rounds of semi-structured telephone interviews with project leaders and, in some cases, other team members.

This paper is split into two main parts. A summary of the findings of the evaluation, split into three components: Section 1.2 describes the characteristics of the projects, Section 1.3 describes approaches to specific challenges faced by the projects and Section 1.4 provides an overview of the overall benefits and outcomes and a number of brief lessons for future public engagement work. Sections 2-8 then present the seven case studies.

Ajoy Datta