Q&A with Dr Keith Dutlow, SPANA Zimbabwe Country Director
How long have you worked for SPANA?
We started working with SPANA as a partner project in 2009, and I was appointed Country Director when Zimbabwe became a permanent programme in 2013.
What are the main challenges facing SPANA in Zimbabwe?
The economy is very unstable and annual inflation is high, which makes it difficult to buy drugs, fuel and the other things needed to keep our projects running. The donkey skins trade is a major problem. Working with the government veterinary department and others, we led a successful movement to stop a donkey abattoir being opened. But the threat is still clear.
How important are working animals in Zimbabwe?
For most people in rural areas, working animals are the sole form of income. They rely on them completely for transporting water and fuel, and for farming practices like ploughing. People’s lives would be inestimably harder without them.
What is your proudest achievement at SPANA?
We’re expanding the reach of our work constantly every year to help many animals and communities. In 2009, we treated 300 donkeys, and we now treat many thousands of working animals a year. We’re providing humane education to thousands of children and are running over 30 community training workshops each year. This makes me very happy.