Working donkeys in South Africa are a lifeline for the communities that rely upon them. Thanks to SPANA’s outreach project with The Farm Animal Centre for Education (FACE), they are receiving the respect and compassion that they truly deserve. Find out how we’re working together with the local community to improve the status and welfare of these hardworking animals.
Peter Ngbase noticed that the young boys in his village of Nobumba had little knowledge of how to treat their donkeys correctly, so he made it his mission to change this and improve the lives of these forgotten creatures.
Peter contacted FACE and, along with other local donkey owners, he enrolled to train as a Working Donkey Champion (WDC).
Peter learnt about working with donkeys from his grandfather when he was just a boy himself.
Things were different in those days. People understood their donkeys better.
FACE’s programme focuses on changing children’s attitudes towards working animals, helping them understand that animals can experience pain and suffering, just like humans, and that proper care is beneficial for both the community and the animal.
After receiving FACE Working Donkey Champion training in 2015, Peter brought his new-found animal husbandry skills back to his community, working across the region to deliver working animal welfare classes to both children and adult animal owners.
When Peter first started running his classes, many children feared animals, viewing them as ‘different’ from humans and not realising that they had basic needs to be met.
But Peter has brought his passion to working animal welfare to the people of his community, teaching them about how to care for their donkey’s needs. His natural compassion for donkeys and understanding of his local community has helped him transform attitudes – with impressive results for donkey welfare.
Recently, SPANA has run a competition to recognise and encourage the good work that goes on across our education programme. Educators were asked to submit a case study to share good practice and show how humane education can change the future for both communities and their donkeys.
Although all of the entries are inspirational, after much deliberation, SPANA has decided that Peter’s passion and commitment to educating children is exemplary and has recognised him this year’s award winner.
Peter was so humbled that his work with the children won this competition that he cried when he heard the good news. He said:
The future of South Africa’s donkeys is much brighter thanks to children’s changing attitudes.