Virtual Learning Centers

A regional approach to virtual training. Success stories.

The establishment of Virtual Learning Centers (VLCs) has been conceived and supported as a mechanism to improve regional delivery of European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD) training courses and  transfer to FAO regional and sub-regional offices the competences and know-how required to organize and deliver online training. 
This approach aims to increase regional capacity to train professionals from the animal health sector and other disciplines, and also to better ensure courses offered are in line with the training needs of the countries in the target regions. 
The first VLC was established in January 2020 in collaboration with the FAO sub-regional office for Southern Africa (FAO SFS) and following this successful initiative, the second VLC has been established in collaboration with the FAO Regional office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO RAP). 
These two established VLCs have been well received and integrated in the regional contexts and have already implemented EuFMD courses regionally tailored, supported regional virtual events including the first online GF-TADs FMD Regional Roadmap meeting (RMM) for Southern Africa in November 2020.  Both VLCs have also already attracted funding to develop and deliver virtual courses independently and further support their self-sustainability.

person on computer

VLC Southern Africa

The courses leverage on a system of training focal points (TFPs) in the SADC countries. Training focal points mobilize training participants in liaison with Chief Veterinary Officers across the region. Since inception last year, over 450 participants from Southern Africa have completed at least one online course through the VLC. The online courses available have included:

  •  A four-week course on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) investigation
  • A six-week in-depth online training course on vaccines, vaccination and post vaccination monitoring.
  • A four-week in-depth online course on simulation exercises.
  • A four week in-depth course in the application of public-private partnerships in the progressive control of FMD and similar transboundary animal diseases.
  • A six-week in depth training course in risk analysis along the value chain.
  • A four week course on lumpy skin disease (LSD). Please visit this link to find out more.
  • A three-day sensitization training on anti-microbial resistance AMR), developed by the Joint Tripartite (FAO, OIE and WHO) and the African Union Commission  (AUC), for the technical experts in the regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa.
  • A six-week in-depth course on developing national atlases of tsetse and African animal trypanososmosis, a joint collaboration between the FAO Programme Against Animal Trypanosomosis (PAAT) and the FAO Division for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (PST). The approach can be extended to other disease and pests for which geographic data lies unused over decades in various animal health institutions.

Trainings currently in the incubation stage include farmer field schools (FFSs) on AMR in in poultry and an online training on African swine fever for the southern African region

Two of the courses offered by the VLC, the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) investigation and the lumpy skin disease (LSD) training, are now registered with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) for continuous professional development (CPD).

With the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face meetings and workshops became increasingly challenging in 2020. The VLC hosted the meetings of the subcommittees of the SADC Livestock Technical Committee (LTC) and has just concluded the SADC virtual roadmap meeting for the FMD progressive control pathway (FMD-PCP).

Click the image to read more about the Virtual Learning Center for Southern Africa:


VLC Asia and the Pacific

Since the VLC for Asia and the Pacific was established in September 2020, it has supported over 550 professionals from both the public and private sectors to undertake online training tailored for the region. With the ongoing mentorship and support of EuFMD and FAO RAP, the following courses were delivered during the first six months of operation:

  • A six-week in-depth course on foot-and-mouth disease socioeconomic impact assessments.
  • A four-week tutored course on foot-and-mouth disease laboratory investigation.
  • An open access lumpy skin disease short course in response to the emergency situation in Asia.
  • A four-week tutored lumpy skin disease preparedness course for the region, in collaboration with the GF-TADs for Asia-Pacific. 
  • An eight-week in-depth training on basic epidemiology and surveillance data analysis organized in partnership with the Regional Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (R-FETPV) and the Thai Department of Livestock Development (DLD).

In mid-2021, the VLC for Asia and the Pacific will be launched officially, with a diverse calendar of events planned with partner providers, including support for a virtual GF-TADs FMD Regional Roadmap meeting (RMM) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); and online training in One Health, FMD outbreak investigation, disaster preparedness, risk-based strategic plans, African swine fever and antimicrobial stewardship.

Corissa Miller introduces the VLC for Asia and the Pacific.

VLC Eastern Africa

The kick off meeting for VLC Eastern Africa (VLC EA) was on 10th February 2021. Although the VLC EA is still in the early stages of establishment, the recruitment process for a project manager and an instructional designer has commenced, with interviews already carried out. In addition, countries in the region have been extremely active and engaged. As a result, national Training Focal Points (TFPs) have been nominated. A meeting to introduce the VLC EA, upcoming courses and the role of TFPs was organised on 3rd June 2021.

Delivery of the first course, the Foot-and-mouth disease investigation training course (FITC), is scheduled for the second half of September 2021 and discussions on the design and delivery of a course under a FAO Multidisciplinary Fund (MDF) project are underway.

The VLC EA will officially be launched later in 2021.

Get in touch with the VLC in your region

Do you want to know more about how the VLC works? Had you planned some workshops and you are facing the challenge of the travel restrictions? 

Contact us to discuss your needs:

VLC Southern Africa:

VLC Asia and the Pacific: 

VLC Project:

For overall information: