(Photos courtesy of Mushtaq Memon)
The Russian veterinarian toasted Mushtaq Memon
and welcomed him to his home. “We are happy having an American colleague
which was not possible a few years ago,” said Andrey Saveliev, Chief Veterinarian at Raduga Farms in Stavropol.
Memon, associate professor of theriogenology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, recently served a short stint as a volunteer in the Farmer-to-Farmer program funded by ADCI/VOCA. Traveling to Russia, he shared his expertise in dairy cow herd health management with members of the Stavrolpol State University, area veterinarians and farm crews.
Hoping to encourage other faculty and staff to participate, Memon says the program provides an opportunity to help people and establish international collaborations while learning about a different culture.
ACDI/VOCA is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes economic growth in emerging democracies and developing countries. The program utilizes the expertise of individuals who serve as consultants or volunteers for either domestic or international projects.
“As a volunteer, everything is paid for,” said Memon. “ACDI/VOCA will cover airline tickets, the interpreter, in-country travel, housing, meals, etc. – but they don’t pay you a salary.” Consultants, however, do get a salary, he added.
According to the WSU faculty manual and university business policies and procedures guidelines, faculty may apply for ten days of special leave with pay after two years of completed service. Special leave denotes “for the purpose of official duties or service in behalf of the University.” The leave must be authorized by the department and then by the Provost. Additional requests may be made after each two-year period of completed service.
For his part, Memon was assigned to the Raduga and Kazminsky dairy companies in Stavropol. As a volunteer professional in dairy health management, he had prepared notebooks of current techniques and trends in dairy reproduction for the veterinarians and farmers. He also led hands-on training and discussion groups. At the end of his term, Memon offered evaluations and specific recommendations for farm improvements such as continuing education and the use of dairy management software.
And Memon didn’t come back to WSU empty handed – he returned with a wealth of connections, friendships and ideas for future collaborations in Russia.
“My impression is that the people there are trying to get out of the old Soviet system and into a market economy like the U.S. has,” he said. “They are taking small steps – just learning to walk – and are looking to the U.S. and other countries for consultation, business opportunities, etc.”
Memon said that ACDI/VOCA – and other organizations such as Winrock International – are not only seeking people with Ph.D.s. – but anyone with specific experience or expertise.
In example, ACDI/VOCA reports they are currently recruiting professionals in veterinary medicine, dairy reproduction and nutrition, artificial insemination technology, dairy marketing, financial management information systems, business development and strategic planning, credit, microfinance and more.
Memon palpates a dairy cow at Raduga Farms
Raduga women sing during Russian Victory Day celebration (May 9th)
Russian Victory Day memorial in Stavropol
Memon with rector (President) Vladimir Shapovalov at Stavrolpol State University
Dairy products in a modern grocery store in Stavropol
Russians use all parts of an animal for food. Here are ingredients for a famous chicken soup.
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow