SPANA has been working in Mali for decades and continues to work to reach some of the most rural communities to deliver veterinary care. In one of the world’s poorest countries, people rely on animals – and animals rely on SPANA.
Mali at a glance
• Population: 15.3 m
• Area: 1,240,192 km2
• Location: West Africa
• Capital city: Bamako
• Estimated working animal population: 2.4 million donkeys, horses and camels
• SPANA has been working out of Bamako, Mali since 1996, making a huge difference to the lives of thousands of working animals each year.
• One veterinary centre, based in the capital city, Bamako
• One mobile clinic, visiting smaller towns, villages and rural communities
• Almost 30,000 animals in Mali treated each year
• Almost 2,000 children visited the SPANA education centre in 2013.
Alongside our veterinary programme, SPANA Mali delivers a children’s education programme at our centre, designed to foster empathy for animals among young people. Last year 205 teachers also received SPANA training and educational materials. SPANA is also introducing a community development programme in Mali, working with animal owners to tackle the root causes of many of the injuries and other problems our vets see each day.
MEET THE COUNTRY DIRECTOR – AMADOU DOUMBIA
It’s another early start for Amadou Doumbia, SPANA’s country director in Mali for the past 18 years. The gates to SPANA’s busy centre in Bamako have just opened and already there’s a class of schoolchildren eagerly awaiting their animal welfare lesson. While his colleague begins the lesson, Amadou is thrown straight into dealing with the dozens of sick and injured animals that arrrive at the centre each day.
He then hits the road with the mobile clinic to visit the notorious rubbish dumps that circle the city. On the towering dumps, he’ll be treating the countless hardworking donkeys that pull overloaded rubbish carts from right around the city. It’s one of the most demanding and difficult jobs imaginable.
So what does Amadou enjoy about the role? “Working for SPANA has been really exciting. By providing free veterinary care, training and education, SPANA has made a huge effort to help the donkeys that work on the rubbish dumps across the city.
“With the hard work that the donkeys have to do, many suffer from injuries such as harness wounds. My dream was that one day the veterinary team would find no wounds on any of the donkeys that visited the mobile clinic. I am so pleased to say that it has happened! One day we discovered a group of working animals and no donkey had any wounds. I was so happy and proud of the whole SPANA team in Mali. I think it was a moment of great satisfaction for everyone.”
Despite the progress, working animals in one of Africa’s poorest countries continue to need SPANA’s help. The scale of the challenge is vast, but Amadou is not overwhelmed:
“I’ve been here long enough to see the difference SPANA can make. Every day I see hundreds of animals that are free from pain and suffering because of SPANA. So I’m thankful for what we have achieved and optimistic about what more we can do in the future.”