In remote, mountainous regions of Afghanistan, donkeys are still the main means of transport for pregnant women needing to access urgent healthcare services. Without adequate roads and with limited access to alternative transport, working animals are literally the difference between life and death for many women and their newborn babies.
Unsurprisingly, in this impoverished and insecure part of the world, maternal and infant mortality rates remain high.
SPANA is working with our local partners to develop a specially-designed maternity saddle to get expectant mothers to clinics quickly, safely and comfortably. The saddle is also designed to ensure the donkeys, so vital to women’s health and wellbeing in Afghanistan, are comfortable in order to promote the highest possible welfare.
Working with: Donyaepa
In rural Ghana, working animals and livestock support the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable communities. As with so much of the region, the health of the animal population is an important factor in determining the health of the community at large.
Yet despite their importance, when animals are sick or injured, only the lucky few will ever have access to veterinary care. Without a professional veterinary service, working animals rely on the animal husbandry skills of their owners, few of whom will ever have received formal training.
SPANA is delivering training to 300 community veterinary volunteers in the northern region of Ghana, who will use their training to educate animal owners in management, basic treatment and welfare. Our funding has also paid for a motor tricycle, which will help us access even the remotest and most inhospitable places. The funding will also orientate 200 Ghanian teachers to spread SPANA's animal welfare message to 9,000 students in 20 schools.
Working with the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the SPANA project will also provide free veterinary care to 6,500 working animals in need.
Working with GSPCA (Ghana Society for the Protection and Care of Animals)
As part of SPANA's aims to improve the long term welfare of working animals by teaching children, we will be working with GSPCA in two schools in the Accra Region. SPANA will also be funding a circuit supervisor to ensure volunteer teachers have the tools they need to reach children by helping to organise lessons and engage children with activities like animal welfare quizzes.
PEACE Foundation Trust
In the townships and rural communities of South Africa, cars and other vehicles are an unaffordable luxury for many. Instead, poorer families rely on donkeys to transport food and water, and carry goods to market. Some owners work in co-operatives, sharing the economic benefits - and the risks - with others in the community. ‘Donkeys 4 Development’ is a prime example of one such co-operative, promoting the value of donkeys to collect rubbish from the municipality for recycling. This in turn creates jobs, gives a huge environmental benefit and elevates the status of these important animals in society.
As part of this initiative, SPANA is working to educate donkey owners in health and husbandry, provide specially designed lightweight donkey carts and comfortable, padded harnessing as well as troughs to provide access to refreshing water. Donkeys will also receive daily health checks and access to nutritious grazing.
‘Donkeys 4 Development’ provides a model of best practice in animal care which we hope will inspire other owners to improve standards of care for these sometimes overlooked but hardworking animals.
Working with: Highveld Horse Care Unit
In rural townships across South Africa, it’s difficult for owners to access the veterinary care that they so desperately need. That’s why SPANA is funding the work of the Highveld Horse Care Unit (HCU) which runs clinics across several provinces.
SPANA’s support will allow HCU to run a further four-day clinic each month providing castrations, dentistry work and providing medicine where worried owners can bring their horses for quality care.
Working with: Romanian Children’s Humanitarian Fund
In the small towns and villages of Suceava county, Romania, horses are still the main means of transport for the poorest communities. But on the narrow and unlit rural lanes, road traffic accidents are common, with often tragic consequences for people and animals.
Following a successful pilot project last year, SPANA’s funding will allow RCHF to continue fitting 7,500 rear reflectors to horse carts across the county, increasing their visibility at night and saving lives.
Working with: Cambridge Mongolia Development Appeal (CAMDA)
In the remote Mongolian regions of Khvod and Dundgobi, the people that live there rely almost entirely on their animals for their livelihoods, most commonly selling wool and cashmere. Owing to the sometimes extreme weather conditions in the Gobi desert, working animals are at risk of losing their lives due to thirst.
In order to help combat this ongoing problem, SPANA and CAMDA will refurbish 13 wells that have fallen into disrepair. The wells will be robustly built, ensuring that they have a long, productive and sustainable future. The building work will be carried out by Mongolian locals, providing employment and the projects managed and overseen by a local vet.
Once the wells have been constructed, they will each support three to four herder households, benefitting up to 2,000 animals. The wells will shorten distances between watering points, which will in turn reduce herd trekking, animal stress, soil erosion and the chance of animals being exposed to soil-borne parasites. A local herder will be assigned to look after each well and the local community will work together to maintain it.
Working with: Tree of Life for Animals (TOLFA)
In remote areas of India, sick and injured working animals can have absolutely no access to the veterinary services that they vitally need.
To make a real difference to animals in 24 outlying villages surrounding Ajmer town in Rajasthan, SPANA will be funding partner organisation Tree of Life for Animals (TOLFA) to buy a mobile veterinary clinic that will allow veterinary professionals to tend to working animals in need and advise animal owners in proper welfare. They will also be teaching the five freedoms in local village schools so that the next generation better understands how to properly care for a working animal.
Working with: Help in Suffering
In the arid climate of northern India, hardy camels are a valuable source of income for local communities. That’s why SPANA has teamed up with Help in Suffering to run mobile clinics which have treated more than 250 camels in the past year.
Growing on the important work being done reaching rural communities, funding for 2016 will support two more mobile clinics in Bassi and Jaipur, providing care to another 500 camels every month. Funding helps support vets, medicine, education, and humane equipment exchanges.
Working with: Campaign Against Cruelty to Animals (CCA-SL)
In Sierra Leone there is a limited understanding of proper animal welfare techniques. In order to promote a humane attitude towards animals, SPANA is funding local organisation Campaign Against Cruelty to Animals (CCA-SL) to provide a number of awareness raising activities to children in both the northern and southern regions of Sierra Leone.
The funds will be used to train six teachers to deliver classes in two centres, along with quizzes and competitions to really get children involved. SPANA will provide teaching and learning materials, fuel to power generators and transport for those attending classes. We will also fund radio broadcasts and documentary shows to further the overall reach of SPANA’s animal welfare message.
Working with: Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society (LAWCS)
Reaching children with proper animal welfare messages in places like Liberia, where animals still play a vital role in the provision of livelihoods, is crucial. That’s why this SPANA funded education project is specifically looking to reach children through targeted education in the community.
In 2015, SPANA’s partner organisation will fund training for 10 teachers, who will in turn teach 7,000 children about empathy and welfare techniques. These 7,000 children will then take these lessons and methods home to their families and SPANA’s message will continue to spread.
Working with: CREW (Costa Rica Equine Welfare)
In order to properly teach children about the importance and impact of working animals in communities we must first have the tools in place to make these lessons accessible.
In Costa Rica, SPANA is working with partner organisation CREW to create a curriculum of lessons to deliver to children of primary school age at seven schools. Teachers will then be trained in how to deliver these lessons, and enough lessons will be put together to keep children engaged for much longer than the initial project duration.
Providing accessible, engaging and long term content to teach children about working animals is key to changing thoughts and feelings, and improving welfare for years to come.
Working with: ARUSHA (Society for the Protection of Animals)
SPANA has previously worked in Tanzania to build animal welfare clubs that teach children practical tips about maintaining their working animals.
In 2015, SPANA will provide donkey welfare education through these previously formed animal welfare clubs to 50 teachers and 250 students, who will then be able to demostrate examples of proper animals maintenance and welfare to local people in their local villages.
Working with: Meru Animal Welfare Organisation (MAWO)
SPANA is teaming up with Meru Animal Welfare Organisation (MAWO) to train 40 Community Animal Health workers about basic equine health care and husbandry. The project provides start-up first aid kits to participants in nine villages, providing emergency care to more than 500 working animals.
To support this training, mobile clinics are run on a quarterly basis in order to treat clinical cases, give Community Animal Health workers experience, and educate communities about animal welfare.
In 2016, SPANA began working with partners A.Mar.Te to train more than 170 veterinary professionals in four universities across Nicaragua. These training sessions will help equip local vets with the hands-on experience and confidence needed to treat working animals across six regions of the country. SPANA is also supporting the creation of an animal welfare network to support ongoing training and improvements to working animal welfare.
The funding for this project supports local veterinary professionals, training materials, and facilities for participants who will be able to apply their new skills to the communities where they work.
Working with: Universidad de Ciencas Comerciales, Nicaragua
SPANA is lending its support to the University of Commercial Sciences to make the lives of Nicaragua’s working animals more comfortable. SPANA’s funding will allow for the development of eight model work cart and harness combinations to be tested in two major cities. Locally based Equine Welfare Advisors will maintain the equipment and promote an easy to read manual for animal owners, teaching the proper way to harness their animals, load their carts, and prevent injuries.
Following the launch of this initiative, the programme will look to roll out a new low-cost cart replacement scheme. More than 500 cart users will be trained in the area to provide people with a sustainable form of income and create demand for these more humane carts.