Learning animal empathy in Mauritania

Learning animal empathy in Mauritania

Our teachers in Nouakchott are spreading the message to ensure dignity for working animals. This is one student’s story.

Every Monday morning nine-year-old Sassé walks across her dusty neighbourhood in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott, to the SPANA centre for two hours of animal welfare education.

Through engaging worksheets, presentations and hands-on learning with the animals at the SPANA centre, Sassé’s teacher, Ahmedou Bah, is encouraging young Mauritanians to consider working animals as sensitive and sentient creatures rather than simply as a working tool.

Sassé loves feeding and stroking the donkeys and horses at the centre where she learns the value of their welfare. She’s also been taught how the health of these trusty working animals directly impacts her own family and community’s well-being and happiness.

Her family, including her parents and brother, own three goats and one donkey which is vital for transporting materials. Her attitude towards her animals is gradually changing. This heightened compassion is spreading to other animals, as one of Sassé’s classmates, Tolli, remarks, ‘I used to be scared of dogs but now I play with them.’

SPANA in-country staff are already observing how the educational seeds are spreading to create a new generation of Mauritanians who respect and care for their hard-working animals.

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