Voices from Women Project

“Voices from Women” is a Brooke’s project that focuses on building and disseminating the evidence on the relationship between women and working equine animals as a way of strengthening the Brooke’s advocacy on bridging the gap between human development and working equine animal welfare.

Using the increased attention given by governments, donors and other key policy actors at international level to the role of women in livestock keeping and management, Voices from Women seeks:

  • To position the role of working equids as livestock that provide women with a wide range of benefits, but also conversely;
  • To articulate and illustrate the role of women in using and caring for those animals and the subsequent benefits both animals and women get.

Voices from Women is first and foremost a participatory research project which puts the emphasis on listening to women’s views and experiences, and on understanding their needs and priorities with regards to the use and management of those animals in order to better inform policy.

Voices from Women Phase 1

The first phase of the Voices from Women research project was conducted in 2013 and the research’s international report published in May 2014.

The research was carried out in Ethiopia, Kenya, India and Pakistan in both rural and urban communities, providing an insight into the various types of work and functions performed by working equine animals in selected areas in those countries.

The most important overall finding of the research was that working equine animals provide women with a support system made up of 3 main pillars (help with household chores, income generation and access to social benefits). Women are actively involved in the care of donkeys, though they have limited access to training/education on donkey management and husbandry practices.

Voices from Women Phase 2

The field research will take place in three of the original VFW countries (Kenya, Pakistan and India). It will use existing structures where women are involved in working equine welfare such as women’s equine welfare/support groups (India, Kenya) and extension services women are involved in (e.g. Lady Livestock Workers in Pakistan). However, emphasis will also be put on individual women who have initiated their own projects as agents of change or/and advocates of working equine welfare. It will also explore the engagement of women in working equine welfare through policy processes at local and national levels, and identify opportunities for greater engagement of women in government and donor livestock projects and initiatives.

The findings of the research will be used for the development of a 2nd international voices from women report to be published in 2016-17. The policy report will be aimed at policy makers and implementers involved in women and livestock projects.