Last month the Griffith research team for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Indo-Pacific Initiative for Sustainable Animal Health Cooperation (IPI-SAHC) and its multidisciplinary team of expert panelists gathered for their first Expert Panel Workshop meeting, this year held at Sunway University, Centre for Planetary Health in Kuala Lumpur. 

 Over the three-day workshop, the team discussed how to collectively design the research framework, data collection process, and research-policy engagement pathways that contribute to gender equitable and socially inclusive (GESI) animal health governance.  

The team discussed how a combined One Health-GESI lens could study primary prevention governance practices at the community, national and regional levels, with a deepened focus on one animal, the pig. One Health promotes an inter-connected approach to promote the health of animals, humans, and the environment. Small scale farming for production and consumption is vital across the Indo-Pacific and, therefore, community level participation in primary prevention practices that protect animal and human health is vital. This project will examine the optimal conditions for governance practices concerning small animal health to be inclusive and sustainable in the three sites across the Indo-Pacific: Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.  

On the last day, a cultural activity – the Jungle School in Gombak – provided participants with first-hand experience of remote Indigenous communities’ management of animal diseases (including Nipah outbreak and African Swine Fever) through storytelling, ad-hoc conversations with guides, while learning about the history, traditions and challenges faced by the Indigenous Orang Asli communities in Malaysia. 

Left to right: Asst Prof Dr Norzalifa Zainal Abidin, Founder and Advisor of JSG; followed by IPI-SAHC Project team. At the front and centre: Major (R) Kalam Pie CEO of JSG with community members at the Jungle School Gombak Malaysia 

The Griffith team would like to thank the expert panel members for taking the time to attend and

contribute,  the Sunway Centre for Planetary Health team for its kind hospitality, and thank  all the people and community members both in Malaysia and Australia, as we learned so much from in such a short space of time. 

We are looking forward to sharing the journey of the IPI-SAHCH project with you!  

The IPI-SAHC initiative is supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, and located at Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University.   

For more information or if you want to get in touch, please email the project coordinator to [email protected]