How we work with communities
Most of the welfare problems that the Brooke encounters can be prevented if owners, service providers and local communities have adequate information and can access essential services and resources. The Brooke, through its affiliates and partners, works with communities to:
- Understand and respond to issues affecting the welfare of their animals and which can impact on livelihoods.
- Provide training in equine care to local vets, animal health workers and farriers.
- Deliver animal welfare information through radio broadcasts to people in remote areas.
- Support programmes in schools to engage with children who work with or can influence animal owners.
- Identify the most prevalent and severe problems affecting working horses, donkeys and mules.
- Develop appropriate activities to improve animal welfare in a measurable way.
The Brooke applies learning methods that have been used successfully in a human health and development context by other international non-governmental organisations. One such approach is Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) which uses a variety of means, group exercises, role plays and pictures, to share information between participants.
Another approach is to try to encourage communities themselves to come up with solutions, providing additional input where necessary. For example, one community we work with recently started to clean wounds by using water, salt and a small piece of cotton.
In India, we have worked with communities to show how old rubber tyres make a safer and more comfortable place to tether animals than inflexible and hazardous wooden posts. In Ethiopia, working with people at the timber market led to animals being unloaded between delivery and sale of timber – a simple sustainable change which has a big impact.
The Brooke and animal-owning communities can’t make sustainable improvements to the welfare of working animals on their own. We also need individuals, veterinary and training establishments, national and international institutions including governments to take responsibility and make changes.