The Brooke/DCA partnership
|Donor / contractor||The Brooke Hospital for Animals|
|Period||April 2017 – March 2018|
|Area||Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Nangarhar, Samangan, and Bamyan provinces|
The Brooke Hospital for Animals is a UK registered charitable organisation, which aims to improve the welfare of working equine animals in developing countries. The partnership between Brooke and DCA commenced in April 2008. While Brooke implements the equine focused activities, DCA facilitates the project itself, e.g. by accommodating the Brooke staff and bringing in DCA’s professional expertise. The partnership is very fruitful, as both organisations learn from each other’s best practices. From 2008 onwards, the partnership has been annually renewed.
The situation of working horses and donkeys in Afghanistan is very bad. Working in harsh conditions, they have to carry heavy loads, and most equine owners lack awareness of good animal husbandry practices. Many horses and donkeys therefore are exhausted and suffering from untreated sores, injuries and diseases.
The primary focus of the DCA/Brooke is to change human behaviour to the benefit of working horses and donkeys in Afghanistan.To this end, DCA/Brooke trains different animal service providers in equine health, welfare and medicine. Training and awareness is provided to paravets, farriers, saddlers, traditional healers, religious leaders, animal lovers, and community activists. The combined efforts of these actors in raising awareness on the needs of equines are very successful. In addition, DCA/Brooke is directly training groups of equine owners in equine husbandry and equine-friendly behaviour.
One of the biggest strengths of the DCA/Brooke programme in Afghanistan is our work with children. Children are an important group because culturally they are able to interact with anybody and can go into the homes of others in their community. Many of them also handle animals or grow up to be in charge of them.
To educate children in good practice, we have printed children’s books in conjunction with role-play exercises. Child volunteer groups also help to measure sustainable changes in equine welfare. They practise this using a tool called a Participatory Welfare Needs Assessment (PWNA), which the community uses to assess the physical and psychological welfare of their working animals.
In 2017/2018, DCA/Brooke will be working with 63 paravets, 71 farriers, 60 harness makers, 58 traditional local healers, and 75 traditional and religious leaders. In total DCA/Brooke will reach over 5,000 males, almost 2,500 females, and 2,200 children equine owners. By advising them on simple measures like watering, diet, housing, foot care, and reduced workload, DCA/Brooke are expecting to sustainably improve the welfare of over 37,500 animals by 2018.