SPANA was founded by women – Kate Hosali and her daughter Nina – and many women play key roles at the charity to help improve the lives of working animals in the world’s poorest communities. To celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s meet some of them…

getimage-6Francesca Compostella, Director of Veterinary Programmes

How long have you worked for SPANA?

Two and a half years.

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?
The surgical training course we did with our staff in Morocco last year. We got the opportunity to help so many animals and the families that depend on them, while bonding as a team and learning new skills. One of our patients came in unable to walk, due to severe tendon damage to both hind legs. That same day we operated on him and he was able to walk normally once again. The young lad that brought him in was speechless, as were we to see his joy.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

Meryl Streep. A fabulous artist who has worked hard to get where she is. Aged 32 she was turned down and used that experience to bounce back and her determination led her to winning 18 awards!

getimage-7Diana Hulme, Director of Education Programmes

How long have you worked for SPANA?

I’ve worked for SPANA for about 26 years!

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?

Organising team games for groups of school children in a hill town in the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

Miss Reed was the headmistress of my junior school who believed and put into practice modern (participatory) methods of education. These were later reinforced when I was a student at Teacher’s Training College, and I have incorporated the same sort of teaching into SPANA’s Education Programme.

getimage-5Dr Hanna Zewdu, Veterinary Team Leader, SPANA Ethiopia

How long have you worked for SPANA?

I’ve been working as a veterinary team leader for SPANA in Ethiopia since July 2010.

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?

It always makes me happy to see animals get cured after I have helped them with any of their problems. I feel as if I have helped my own baby with his difficulties. Animals and babies are alike as they both can ‘feel’ but can’t speak out.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

It’s my mother who has influenced me most in my life. I always find her by my side and she keeps on showing me the way out through my problems. I wish her a long life with very good health.

getimage-3Cecilia Gath, Veterinary Programme Advisor (Outreach and Overseas)

How long have you worked for SPANA?

For almost two years.

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?

Planning and running the emergency Ethiopia feeding programme – it’s been so satisfying to know that we are making a direct impact on these people’s lives. Livestock is so important to them and if their livestock die, the hope for recovery from the disaster and future resilience is significantly impacted. Hearing the people’s personal experiences and seeing the benefit of our work first hand was fantastic.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

My mother. She was so supportive throughout my extremely long education and I couldn’t be where I am today without her. I remember the days of textile projects, maths tests and spelling tins and she made sure I had everything I needed to get my grades for vet school!

getimagePippa Young, Country Director, SPANA Botswana

How long have you worked for SPANA?

Just over one year.

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?

Treating an unhandled/wild foal which had wounds after a leopard attack and taming him to be able to give treatment. We managed to be scratching and stroking him after two and a half hours of working with him. He now trusts us and enjoys having attention. Animals never cease to amaze me and always give you something to aspire to.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

Dr. Temple Grandin. I believe through such adversity of her life with Asperger syndrome, she has created a worldwide awareness for animal welfare and people with autism, despite her struggles to deal with the world as ‘normal’ people perceive it.

getimage-1Hannah Davies, Veterinary Programme Advisor (Education)

How long have you worked for SPANA?

I’ve worked for SPANA for six months.

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?

Taking part in the organisation of the emergency feeding project in Ethiopia. I travelled out to Ethiopia with Jeremy, our chief executive, to help finalise some of the details for the feeding project after Cecilia’s initial visit. We visited the village of Dudub and saw the devastation that the drought is causing to the local people and animals. We were able to provide the first round of total mixed ration feed and Jeremy and I stood and fed the cows from small metal fed troughs – such an incredible experience for me. Without the help of SPANA the future for these animals and people would be pretty bleak… What an amazing thing for me to have been part of.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

My mum, because she is a wonderful person and has supported me all through my life so far. She is always happy and smiling and always there when I need her! I love her loads!

getimage-4Elaine Packer, Veterinary Nurse Advisor

How long have you worked for SPANA?

Since August 2015.

What’s been your favourite experience from your time with SPANA?

Camping out with the mobile clinic in Zimbabwe.

Which woman has influenced you most in your life and why?

Too many to mention! I think Kate and Nina Hosali who started SPANA are really inspirational.