Situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, agriculture is vital for Kenya’s 38 million people and accounts for 60 per cent of national employment.
There are over 1.8 million donkeys, two-thirds of which play a major role in Kenya’s economy especially in rural poverty reduction by providing employment opportunities and income that support people’s livelihoods.
In addition, the donkeys are the most common means of transport and tillage operations in most rural and per-urban communities in Kenya.
Equines are no doubt one of Kenya’s greatest assets. In recognition of this, the Brooke has been funding equine welfare programmes in Kenya since 2001. These programmes provide veterinary treatment and promote sustainable equine welfare among owners and users.
The programmes are delivered through a number of partners: Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT) in Central and Mt. Kenya regions, Practical Action (PA) in Mandera and Vétérinaires Sans Frontières - Belgium (VSF-B) in Garissa, and more recently Farming Systems Kenya (FSK) in Nakuru, Animal Welfare and Public Health (AWAPH) in Kisumu, Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) in Kajiado, and Vetworks in Narok and Kericho counties. The current coverage stands at 161,128 equines.
The launch of Brooke EA Office
The Brooke recently established its East Africa regional office in Nairobi for the closer management, development and further expansion of its programmes in Kenya and the region, and to enhance capacity to support local partners in equine welfare interventions. The Brooke formally launched the office in Nairobi on 3rd July 2013 officiated by the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Felix Koskei.
Making a difference
- We’re providing training and support to local vets and community-based animal health workers, training them in preventative health measures, such as when to de-worm animals.
- We’re building shades and water troughs for working donkeys to help them cope with high temperatures, as well as working with owners to improve harness and equipment and donkey transport.
- Practical Action has pushed through an animal welfare friendly by-law in Mandera County. KENDAT has been instrumental in launching National Donkey Welfare Day celebrated on 17 May to highlight the plight of donkeys.
- KENDAT’s weekly national radio show Mtunze Punda Daima (‘Care for your donkeys always’) has been dispensing advice and awarding prizes to exemplary owners. It reaches thousands of poor communities and is also heard in neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
- Kenya Veterinary Association has been spearheading engagements with other stakeholders for better policy environment to safeguard welfare of working animals
- Pupils perform messages about donkey welfare, through drama, poetry and song, learnt at the donkey care clubs in school.