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 and 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 to send their children to school.
Working animals (mostly donkeys and horses) also transport water and firewood, 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 fed, sheltered or given medical treatments, but are subject to over-working, being overloaded 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.