Campaigning against animal cruelty in Sierra Leone
Five years ago, SPANA began a partnership outreach programme with Campaign Against Cruelty to Animals in Sierra Leone (CCA-SL) to fund the only school-based humane education programme in the country.
With no specific animal protection laws, animal welfare is a very new concept in Sierra Leone. But, thanks to CCA-SL’s intervention, cases of abuse have been reduced by as much as 80 per cent. Over the five years, SPANA funding has enabled the CCA-SL to reach 10,000 children and a further 8,000 members of the public with our animal welfare message.
The education project teaches children and community members how to treat animals humanely and to care for their wellbeing and welfare.
This year, 200 children have been trained on the course, which teaches a culture of animal friendliness, love for fellow humans and a respect for the natural environment. More than 2,000 members of the community listen to humane education jingles that are played on the radio twice a day. As over 5,000 donkeys, dogs, and cats live alongside people in this area, these little messages of kindness are so important in changing attitudes to animal welfare here.
Children are eager to learn animal welfare lessons in school and use their knowledge in caring for their animals. Haddy Bangura, a 12-year-old pupil of Kanku Primary School said:
‘I have over ten goats including a nursing mother. I take them to graze every day, provide them with enough water to drink and bring them to their pen in the evenings.’
Mahawa Saccoh, 11, took one of her chickens along with her when she received her certificate:
‘Attending classes at the Kanku Bramaia centre, I can now boast of having five chickens to take care of. I provide water and food for my chickens every day. Whenever they see me, they all follow me.’
In a recent monitoring visit to Sumbuya Junction in the Kanku Bramaia Chiefdom, Kambia District, the Town Chief thanked CAA-SL for continuing to educate their children and the communities. He remarked on how impressed he was when he saw children teaching their parents about taking good care of their animals.
This region has been particularly hard-hit by the Ebola crisis which swept Sierra Leone and much of west Africa in 2014. More than two years later, there is still a silent emergency with a lack of clean drinking water and proper sanitation in the area.
Communities are often in conflict with one another as crop farmers and animal farmers both struggle to get enough water. Thirsty cattle can consume or trample crops looking for water, sometimes resulting in frustrated farmers looking for revenge against animals as a means of punishing their owners. Education is the key to resolving these community issues.
Mabinty Saccoh a volunteer teacher supervisor at the Kanku Bramaia said:
I would like to thank SPANA for sponsoring CCA-SL to establish such a timely programme in our community. I strongly believe that the continuation of this programme will go a long way in addressing our impasse because the cattle farmers and crop farmers have not only sent their children to the centre but are part and parcel of CCA-SL organised animal welfare outreach.
We’re proud of our work with CCA-SL and hope to continue working closely together until all working animals are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve.
Fortunately, the CCA-SL team are all safe following the recent devastation caused by mudslides in and around Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. Our thoughts go to those who tragically lost their lives.