Afghanistan

Overview

Afghanistan has the twelfth highest density of working horses and donkeys in the world with over 1.7 million animals. Many of these are vulnerable because they work in difficult conditions – pulling and carrying heavy loads in brick kilns and urban areas. The post conflict situation, the continuous droughts and the ongoing internal warfare in Afghanistan has severely damaged basic infrastructure, which has left the government and the aid agencies with very limited resources for development. Currently it is estimated that 36% of the total population in Afghanistan are living below the poverty line and over 80% of the equine owning communities fall within this category.

Making a difference

The Brooke has worked in partnership with the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan (DCA) since 2008, training Paravets to improve veterinary services for working horses and donkeys. The DCA provides six months of training to a considerable number of Animal Health workers every year, who provide key services for the working equines.

The primary focus of the Brooke’s work in Afghanistan is to improve animal welfare through changes in human behaviour. It’s important that animal owners and users are able to identify and prevent problems before they happen.

Linking the equine owning/using communities with the trained service providers is an important technique in making these services affordable for equine owners. We are supporting equine owners to use new improved tools to improve welfare, such as portable water troughs, grooming brushes, hoof picks, blankets, safe saddles, hobbling pegs and new harnesses. We also support owners/users in enhancing the living conditions of their animals through imroving the condition within the stables (mud-plastering, whitewashing, disinfecting and improving ventilation and lighting).

  • We are helping to train private animal service providers (Paravets, Farriers, Saddlers and Traditional Healers) in Kabul, Nangarhar, Samangan, Balkh and Herat provinces.
  • We are developing knowledge about animal welfare and practice among equine owing/using communities through enhancing the understanding, attitudes and practice of 1780 male, 780 women and 2,400 children animal owners (selected in 2014) and we are expecting to sustainably improve the welfare of over 42,000 animals by 2017.
  • Compassion building, behavioral changes and networking between the equine owning communities, service providers and the other key stakeholders are part of our interventions which will help to provide sustainable and long lasting animal welfare.

 More information about our partners can be found here

Read the latest blog posts about Afghanistan here and here

Afghanistan at a glance

Population: 29 million
Percentage of population living below the poverty line: 36%, with over 80% of the equine owning communities classed within this 36%     
Number of partners: 1
Number of working donkeys, horses and mules: 1.7 million (92% of this figure are donkeys)

Donkeys carrying water containers in Afghanistan

Donkeys carrying water containers in Afghanistan. ©The Brooke

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