Narok County in Kenya is home to the Maasai pastoral community, who rely heavily on donkeys for commercial and domestic purposes. The infrastructure in the area is poor, so animals are used to ferry water and goods such as charcoal, timber and farm produce, and are vital to the Maasai way of life. Sadly, many of the donkey welfare issues that arise here are because of local indigenous knowledge that relies heavily on myth.
SPANA is funding Vetworks, an organisation that aims to address the knowledge and skills gap of around 200 local animal health service providers through specially designed training workshops. These workshops will give these vets and vet technicians the ability to provide better quality care, allowing them to reach and treat around 12,000 donkeys and working animals each year in Narok County.
In order to create a demand amongst the community for the improved animal welfare services, a radio programme is also being developed in local dialect, to educate the communities about the importance of proper donkey care. It is estimated this radio programme will reach 24,500 households.
So far, two training workshops have taken place; the most recent one was attended by over 50 participants. It covered topics such as donkey behaviour and handling which included a two hour practical session using local donkeys.
The success of the programme will be evaluated by monitoring changes to the condition and health of the donkeys and assessing behaviour changes of animal owners.