An App-etite for Innovation!

Smartphones have changed the way we access, use and share information. “Apps” are a huge part of this technological revolution. It seems like nowadays you can find an app for pretty much anything- games, cooking classes, sports updates, language lessons, music, photography, gardening and everything  in between. Well, we’re not about to be left behind as technology thrusts the world forward! Vets without Borders, LifeLearn and the International Development and Research Centre teamed up to develop an app that will help PAHWs improve smallholder poultry management in rural Laos.

Selection and Reproduction (L), Nutrition and Feeding (C) and Housing (R)

The app was designed to be simple and user-friendly. Each section has tons of pictures, video and audio to make the app more interactive and interesting for farmers and PAHWs. Users can tap the screen with their finger to move through different sections and scroll up or down to see everything on the page. The app is a gateway to tons of important information on:

1. Selection and Reproduction

  • Flock Management
  • Hatching Management
  • Brooding Management
  • Parent-Stock Keeping

2. Nutrition and Feeding

  • Benefits of Good Nutrition
  • Improving Feed Quality (Energy, Protein, Vitamins and Minerals)
  • Improving Feed Practices


  • Benefits of Good Housing
  • Types of Housing
  • Housing Equipment

So how can the Poultry App be used in real life?

Pretend you’re a PAHW. You get a call from a farmer in your village. She’s worried because none of the eggs her hen lays are hatching. There are many reasons why this could happen so you meet her at her farm to assess the situation. She shows you into the chicken coop and points to eggs. You feel one of the eggs and notice that it’s soft. She also mentions that her chickens suffer from leg lameness. You know from your experience as a farmer and a PAHW that good feed quality is important for strong bones and shells. So you reach for your smartphone and tap the Poultry App. From the menu you select “Nutrition and Feeding”, then “Improving Feed Quality”. You check each tab and until you land on “Mineral Content”. Aha! The app tells you that chickens need minerals to develop strong bones, and to produce hard shells around the eggs. The app also gives you examples of mineral sources that you can use as ingredients in poultry feed. You share this information with the farmer using the pictures from the app. Now she knows that she can use her kitchen scraps to feed her chickens and make them healthier! 

Want to improve poultry management for rural smallholder farms in Laos? There’s an app for that!


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PAHWs get tech-savvy with smartphones and new app!

Vets without Borders was lucky enough to have Vicky, a representative from LifeLearn, come all the way from Canada to Paksapmei to teach us and the PAHWs about the smartphone app they developed with the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC).

Vicky (right) ready to share her knowledge on mobile learning and apps with VWB team and PAWHs.

The purpose of this new app is to improve poultry management for smallholder farmers in the project villages of Xanthany District, central Laos. The app will provide PAWHs with information on poultry housing, reproduction and selection, nutrition and brooding using text, photos and videos. With access to these resources, PAWHs can teach farmers in their village about proper poultry management; knowledge which will hopefully contribute to the enhancement of their production and livelihood.

Here is a sneak peak of our two-day training session!

PAHWs get acquainted with their new smartphones and learn how to use the poultry management app!

More about the app, smartphones and PAHWs coming soon!






For more information on Vets without Borders or to make a contribution to our cause, please visit our website:




Smart PAHWs with smartphones

Written by Fabienne

We have finally been able do a preliminary smartphone field test of the poultry raising app with a sub-sample of 8 PAHWs!

Our initial aim is to determine whether smartphone-based knowledge mobilization can help build PAHWs’ capacity in animal health. If
successful, this method will contribute to sustainability and security of our overall objectives in Laos, which are to improve livestock-based food security, income and social capital. The current app is focused on best practices in poultryraising and covers topics such as ‘Selection & Reproduction’, ‘Nutrition & Feeding’ and ‘Housing’. With lots of photographs, ‘how-to’ videos, and easy to follow text, it is catching the PAHWs’ interest and offers them a quick resource to important information.

But while cellular phones are widespread in Laos, many of the PAHWs have never used a smartphone before. Project team member and
smartphone app expert Bounlerth from FoA did an excellent job guiding the PAHWsthrough the basics such as how to turn on and off the phone, how to swipe from one screen to the next and how to find all the information in the app. Everyone was eager to figure it out and caught on really quickly! Following this introduction, the 8 PAHWs got to test their app for one week, at the end of which they reported back to us on how easy it was for them to use the phone, the app and what they liked or didn’t like about the app and the information it provided. We have been very encouraged to hear that none of the PAHWs had a problem using the phone or the app itself!

So what is next? The team will make some final   adjustments, download the app to all the smartphones and ensure their accurate performance… and then… then we are ready to launch the app and release it to all the PAHWs in our project! How exciting is that?!