Equine owners and equine owning communities’ engagement – focuses on building positive change in knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and practices among donkey owners, users and service beneficiaries – so that they can provide for the donkeys and treat them well.
The program engages donkey owners, users and handlers in identifying key welfare issues affecting their donkeys and prioritizing them so that by addressing them, donkey welfare will be improved. Donkey owners are trained on good donkey husbandry and management, handling and disease prevention and home based care. Donkey owners and users are engaged through:-
- Formation of owner/User groups – over 90 groups formed and counting
- Training the community on donkey welfare and husbandry.
- School based Donkey Care Clubs – over 30 schools engaged, which graduate over 200 donkey welfare ambassadors annually
Donkey owners: These are the main decision makers about use and welfare of their donkeys. HP works to ensure that these actors have the right knowledge, attitudes and practices to continuously improve the welfare of their donkeys. There are approximately 23,114 owners targeted within the six counties.
Donkey users: This category of actors does not own donkeys but they are either hired or employed to work with the donkeys. In most cases, they tend to have less attachment to the donkeys and usually are the people who poorly handle and abuse donkeys. There are about 4,744 users targeted within in HP program areas. The approach of targeting users has always been through the donkey owners because of the challenge of getting the users independently
Community Facilitators (CFs): These are selected donkey owners who are trained to improve their knowledge and skills on Acceptable Levels Change (ALC’s) priority welfare issues through implementing specific activities (community mobilization and awareness) geared towards improving these welfare issues. KENDAT–HP works with approximately 247 CFs in all the 7 ALCs.
Schools: This includes school going children in the Donkey Care Clubs (DCC) and the club patrons. Currently there are 45 schools with established DCCs in Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Meru Counties and are involved in donkey welfare awareness creation. The patrons are trained on donkey welfare and in turn train the pupils. Brooke EA together with KENDAT and other partners will develop a guide for training school club during the financial year 2015/16.
Community Leaders: They are leaders within the villages appointed by the government and mandated to oversee development issues within their locality in consultation with the county administration. They are very instrumental in addressing donkey related conflicts (donkey cutting, theft, and crop and property damage). The focus is to ensure that they have adequate knowledge on donkey welfare, relevant laws and by- laws supportive of donkey welfare. A total of 260 community leaders (chiefs, sub-chiefs and village heads) are targeted.
Donkey day – 17th May
The National Donkey Day celebration was set up after proposal by the Limuru Member of Parliament during a donkey camp held on 17th May 2006 in Limuru. The proposal was to set aside a day every year to celebrate the usefulness of donkeys. The National Donkey has been running every year since then during the month of May and is used as a forum to particularly promote special attention to donkeys by the society. It attracts partners and stakeholders from all sectors as it also serves as exhibition forum During the past years the main celebrations of the donkey day have been held in Mwea, Limuru, with this years celebration being held in Meru at the Meru National Polytechnic.
Some challenges experienced: one major challenge under this objective is the fact that most of the donkey owners do not recognize some of the welfare issues as a problem to the donkeys, because of existing myths and negative attitudes towards the donkeys. This is one area of focus for the program. HP documents key lessons and challenges from this approach for continuous improvement in the interventions. Some targeted changes include ensuring that:-
- Donkey owners and users feed and water their donkeys appropriately so as to maintain acceptable body conditions for working donkeys. That they also put in place drought mitigation measures like feed preservation and feed supplementation
- Donkey owners identify donkey diseases early enough and recognize issues like ecto-parasites. That they carry out home based wound care to treat wounds.
- Donkey owners, users and handlers understand when their donkey requires medical attention and seek veterinary services in a timely manner
- Donkey owners and users are able to appreciate hoof overgrowth as a welfare problem and seek farrier services from trained and qualified farriers.Donkey owners regularly check and clean the hooves of their donkeys
- Donkey owners and users groom their donkeys, name them and communicate with them, handle them using halters and avoid ear twitching and whipping.
- Donkey owners and users use appropriate harnesses, carts, hoof picks and halters.
Project Activities and services
- Quarterly trainings & meetings
- Disseminating information and communication materials
- Holding Community workshops
- Rolling out monitoring activities such as Acceptable level of change (ALC) Checkpoint assessment.
- Conduct outside broadcasting (OBs) sessions to record radio programs that are aired to educate donkey owners on priority welfare issues
- Public awareness campaigns during donkey day to build positive attitudes and perceptions on donkey image
- Conducting joint campaigns with key actors and stakeholders
Key partners and stakeholders
- Provincial Administration (including Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs, Village In-charges) are involved in village-based donkey welfare improvement activities including conflict resolution and public awareness. HP provides relevant information to provincial administration to ensure conflicts are resolved in a welfare friendly manner (without compromising the welfare of donkeys).
- Area Local Councils in the project regions who already provide forums to formulate and implement local by-laws are approached regarding putting in place donkey welfare regulations. HP provides technical advice, information and facilitation to guide and support formulation and implementation of appropriate by-laws.
- Kenya Police who assist in creating awareness amongst the donkey owners and users on the existing laws that govern animal welfare in the country. HP provides information to the police to ensure that donkey welfare information given to the owners and users is right and that in case of law enforcement donkey welfare is not compromised.
- Ministry of Education through local offices and schools board provide support for developing and running donkey care clubs in schools. HP sensitizes the Ministry officials and board members in order to enhance their support to the donkey care clubs.
- Ministry of Gender and Social services facilitate registration and develop the capacity of donkey owner groups. HP provides donkey welfare information and create the necessary linkage with local groups.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- Changes in key welfare parameters including body condition score, wounds and ectoparasite infestation are assessed through annual welfare assessment.
- Transects walks and focused group discussions are carried out to gauge the levels of utilization of the acquired knowledge and skills to improve donkey welfare.
- The quality of HP interaction and accountability to the community are monitored through biannual community audits