A groundbreaking initiative to promote and implement replacement alternatives across Africa begins today in Nairobi, Kenya.

The First Pan-African Seminar on Alternatives to Animal Experiments in Education and Training is being held 23-24 September 2009 at the Kenya Institute of Education.

Co-organised by InterNICHE and its Partner organisation the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), the 2-day Alternatives Seminar brings together 22 campaigning organisations from 12 African countries, InterNICHE experts from England, Mexico, India and Egypt, and over 100 Kenyan teachers, surgeons and government officials.

The Kenyan Minister for Wildlife and Forestry, Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa, opened the animal protection workshop that is being held in advance of and in preparation of the Alternatives Seminar. In his presentation, Dr. Wekesa appreciated the importance of pan-African events, and acknowledged the potential of new technology and alternatives.

The Alternatives Seminar builds on the experience of InterNICHE outreach tours and alternatives demonstrations by dovetailing the organisation’s skills and resources with the initiatives and local knowledge of campaigners and teachers in the host country.

Previous outreach tours have included the training of over 400 teachers in 10 cities across India, and a 5-country tour of Latin America with over 30 seminars and meetings. The InterNICHE Multimedia Exhibition at the recent VII World Congress on Alternatives showcased a range of teaching and training tools from the InterNICHE Alternatives Loan System. This library is providing over 100 software alternatives, models, mannekins and simulators for demonstration at the event in Kenya.

Following an introduction and review of the Kenyan and African situation by ANAW Director Josphat Ngonyo and colleagues, international experts will provide lectures and demonstrations on humane education and the process of replacement. InterNICHE Co-ordinator Nick Jukes will introduce the range and quality of alternatives and explain the organisation’s commitment to the 1R of replacement to help guarantee ethical and effective acquisition of knowledge and skills.

India’s foremost campaigner for alternatives, Snehal Bhavsar, will describe her strategies for catalysing curricular change across the state of Gujarat in India, including her success in achieving 80% reduction of animal use in education. Sofia Ponce will present the vision and activities of the Center for Animal Alternatives in Education (CAAE) program at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Fawzy Elnady from the University of Cairo in Egypt will address information and communications technology in relation to alternatives, with a global and African overview.

Further presentations will include the rationale for seeing caring as an essential clinical skill which must be placed at the heart of veterinary and medical training; the use of the POP-trainer for live laparoscopic surgical training without animal experiments; and the use of the Biopac Student Lab for self-experimentation as an alternative in physiology practical classes.

InterNICHE works with teachers and producers of alternatives to encourage the freeing of learning tools from license restrictions and limited geographical availability. Demonstrations and hands-on experience of alternatives at the Alternatives Seminar will therefore be followed by distribution of resources to the participants, including freeware and other low-cost or no-cost alternatives whose impact can now be measured globally.

Discussion workshops will address the opportunities and challenges within Africa and allow for sharing of experience. The talks and diverse international perspectives will encourage the pan-African and Kenyan campaigners to reflect on culturally-appropriate strategies for the introduction of alternatives in their countries.

Josphat Ngonyo from ANAW said today: “We intend that the Alternatives Seminar will empower participants to be ambassadors for alternatives in their own countries. They will shortly have the information, resources and support from InterNICHE for this to be achieved. The impact on Kenya will be considerable, particularly now with government support for humane approaches and innovative technology in education and training.”

Nick Jukes from InterNICHE added, “We applaud the Kenyan government’s interest in humane education and are confident in the pedagogical, ethical and economic advantages of replacement alternatives. We hope that other countries will follow Kenya’s lead, and that the Alternatives Seminar will play a role in facilitating the process of change right across the continent.”


(1) The organisation of the event has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Anti-Vivisection Union (South Australia), the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation (Switzerland), the Maria Norbury Foundation (USA), and an anonymous donor (USA).

Further thanks go to the International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals (IAAPEA) (UK), the On Shore Foundation (USA), the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) (USA) and Hope Ferdowsian (USA).

(2) African countries represented include DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

(3) Kenyan government officials include Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa, Minister for Wildlife and Forestry; Dr. Julius Kipng’etich, Director, Kenya Wildlife Service; Hon. Adan Duale, Asst. Minister of Livestock Development; Dr. Peter Ithondeka, Director, Department of Veterinary Services