Man and horse walking down road
Man and horse walking down road

Helping working animals in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a country with over 2.5 million horses. There are struggles with both poverty and severe climatic events.

SPANA has one very busy veterinary clinic in Debre Zeit and two mobile clinics, treating over 11,000 animals in Ethiopia each year. We also have three classrooms and an education centre. Teachers reach over 7,500 children annually with lessons on animal welfare.

Ethiopia, vet treating horse

ETHIOPIA AT A GLANCE

  • Population: 105 million
  • Area: 1.13 million sq km
  • Location: Horn of Africa
  • Capital City: Addis Ababa
  • Estimated number of working equines and camels: 12.2 million

Spana Operations

Veterinary Care

SPANA started work in Ethiopia in 2002. Our small and dedicated team there was able to provide over 8,498 treatments to working animals in 2018.

  • One permanent centre in Debre Zeit
  • One clinical skills centre at Debre Zeit University for training young vets
  • Two mobile clinics visiting animals in surrounding towns.
  • The main problems we encounter are animals with wounds, lameness, respiratory disease and a fungal infection called EZL that can be fatal.
  • To help improve the quality of life for the animals we treat in Ethiopia, we provide harness pads for owners to put under their animals’ harnesses to prevent wounds.

 

Education

Our education work currently consists of a cart horse owner education programme and a group of after-school animal clubs for children where they can learn about animal needs in a fun environment.

  • 2014 marked the official opening of a new animal handling facility at SPANA’s centre in Debre Zeit
  • Nine new SPANA animal clubs began in autumn 2014, with club leaders and head teachers receiving training at our animal handling centre
  • Altogether SPANA Ethiopia reached 4,576 children with animal welfare education last year.

 

Training

SPANA operates a clinical skills centre (CSC) in Ethiopia. CSCs are centres created within a university to improve technical and practical skills of veterinary students.  They are equipped with different skills stations where students can practice veterinary skills such as injection technique, suturing, and bandaging in a safe environment. In 2018 we trained 5,485 people – this includes both formal training and giving owners informal advice – as well as 632 professionals.

Man in white coat crouched next to donkey

Meet the Country Director: Teferi Abebe

How long have you been working for SPANA?

I have been working for SPANA in Ethiopia as a Country Director since January 2018.

What does your role involve?

I’m in charge of the overall planning for the operations of SPANA in Ethiopia. This includes recruiting staff for SPANA projects, leading the implementation of our projects and reviewing end evaluating the success of our projects.

How important are working animals in Ethiopia?

Working animals are major contributors to the lives of Ethiopian people. This is particularly true for the country’s rural communities. They are pathways out of poverty for the poor as they create opportunities for their livelihood. They are a means of income as they transport agricultural produce to the market. Income produced and gained through working animals’ services are used for communities to subsidise their household expenses, to be able send their children to school.

Working animals (mostly donkeys and horses) also transport water and fire wood, relieving children and women who would traditionally carry these heavy loads. These animals also transport local people from place to place.

What are the challenges facing working animals in Ethiopia?

The biggest challenge facing working animals in Ethiopia is the inhumane treatment by people due to lack of awareness. They are not well feed, sheltered or given medical treatments, but are subject to over-working, being over-loaded and mistreated.

What is the best part of your job?

Coordinating my team of vets, community trainers and educators to serve the working animals who desperately need our services, and seeing the results: healthier animals. Seeing communities handling their animals humanely after SPANA’s community training is the other best part of my job. Also seeing the ripple effect of our Animal Welfare Club members’ peer influence in the entire school community is very satisfying.

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