Rationale of the Project in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region
Hawassa, the capital of the region is supplied with firewood, commodities for sale including potteries, sugar cane, clothes, false banana, construction materials (stones, sand, wood), vegetables, straw etc by cart pulling donkeys. Unlike other regions of Ethiopia, donkeys are uniquely used both for packing and cart pulling purposes to transport various commodities. However, their welfare status, particularly that of the cart pulling donkeys is highly compromised by overloading. Practically, almost all donkeys have physical injuries attributed to ill-fitting harnesses and extensive use of synthetic materials.
Many local and international observers agree that there is a real exploitation of draught power – the cart pulling donkeys work day and night and yet hugely overloaded. The Donkey Sanctuary UK launched a pilot project in 2007, signing a memorandum of understanding with the SNNPR’s Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development to be renewed annually. It was operational for two years. As was true for other projects, the SNNPR’s project was more of about health care intervention.
In 2009, the Charity launched a three years project having made an agreement with the regional Bureaus of Finance and Economic Development, Agriculture and Education. Objectives of the project are:
1· Providing Health care for sick and abandoned donkeys and mules
2· Working with owners and handlers to improve health and husbandry of working equines
3· Building skill and knowledge of community service providers including on job animal health professionals; training Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) where necessary
4· Nurturing empathy in school children for working animals (donkey as model animals
5· Working in collaboration with affiliated local organizations