Donkeys in Tanzania forest
Donkeys in Tanzania forest

Helping working animals in Tanzania

Project name: Meru Animal Welfare Organisation (MAWO)

Project type: Veterinary

Location: Arusha

SPANA has been working with MAWO since 2016 to improve the health and wellbeing of working donkeys in northern Tanzania by training community-based working donkey champions to provide basic care and first aid alongside owner training. The team also run mobile clinics to treat working donkeys in remote communities.

Through this partnership, 80 donkey champions have been trained to date. They are taught about responsible donkey keeping, humane harnessing, handling, feeding and housing practices and basic veterinary care.

In the Arusha and Manyara regions of Tanzania, as many as 200,000 donkeys are used by the communities as pack transport for food, water and household goods. In an area that faces frequent drought, the health and welfare of these donkeys is often compromised by poor nutrition, painful harnessing and a lack of affordable or accessible veterinary services.

Project name: Sokoine University of Agriculture

Project type: Veterinary

Location: Morogoro

SPANA is working in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medical Sciences based in Sokoine University of Agriculture to establish a clinic skills centre (CSC).

This partnership helps to improve the veterinary university students’ knowledge and skills around treating working animals, meaning that more of the country’s working animals will receive better care in the future.

Professional development workshops are also organised to develop the standards of skills of students, lecturers and local veterinary practitioners.

Project name: Tanzania Animal Welfare Charity (TAWEC)

Project type: Veterinary

SPANA is working with TAWEC to provide free veterinary care to working donkeys and also educate their owners about animal welfare through a community training programme.

By running regular mobile veterinary clinics, donkeys will be treated for health conditions including wounds and parasites and will be provided with hoof and eye care.

Education booths will also be set up to teach donkeys owners about how to take the best care of their animals, helping to prevent future health problems.

Project name: Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO)

Project type: Veterinary

Location: Villages surrounding Mtera dam

Donkeys are the main means of transporting goods such as water, food and building materials to the villages surrounding the Mtera dam in Tanzania. The aim of this project is to provide veterinary care to these hardworking donkeys and train local animal health workers and owners about donkey welfare.

Monthly clinics will take place to provide free veterinary treatments and teach owners and village leaders about the importance of proper animal welfare practices.

Local animal health workers, who are paid by the government and are trained in livestock healthcare, will be taught about equine healthcare so that they can also treat these donkeys.

Project name: Arusha Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPA)

Project type: Education

Location:  Arusha

In rural Tanzania, donkeys are essential for many families in carrying food and water, providing transport and pulling goods to market. Yet few owners will ever receive any formal instruction in animal care, so injuries caused by poor harnessing, carts and husbandry are frequent. Similarly, children learn to see working animals for their economic value only, without understanding their welfare needs.

This project supports secondary schools and primary schools to teach animal welfare lessons. Alongside this, donkey owners are taught to construct simple, comfortable harnesses, carts and packsaddles. Appropriate husbandry practices have been adopted by approximately 2,000 women using around 3,000 donkeys for domestic purposes at markets.

Follow-up evaluation of 2,300 donkeys also showed that cases of malnourishment and abandonment have decreased by 75 per cent and there has been a measurable decrease in cases of chest sores, back sores and injuries caused by beatings. The study demonstrated a marked increase in the numbers of donkeys with trimmed hooves and proper harnessing materials.

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