28 May 2020

Brooke ensures rural communities in Afghanistan receive vital support amid Covid-19 pandemic

As Coronavirus cases and deaths rise in Afghanistan, Brooke, through its partner DCA (Dutch Committee for Afghanistan), has ensured that equine-owning communities continue to receive vital support and advice on how to keep themselves and their animals safe.

DCA is a member of the Zoonotic Diseases Committee, which means it has been able to continue working despite lockdown regulations. Throughout this time, field workers have been accessing hard-to-reach villages in rural areas, delivering vital guidance on social distancing and hygiene. Brooke has also provided a number of PPE kits to ensure that staff and beneficiaries are protected.

Equine welfare community engagement classes have continued with smaller groups and appropriate social distancing measures. These are needed now more than ever, as large numbers of city workers have ventured back to their villages during lockdown. This has increased pressure on working horses, donkeys and mules . This in turn has increased the welfare issues, as people who are not used to working with these animals are now having to rely on them with limited knowledge of how to care for them. 

There have been almost 10,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the country. Prior to the pandemic, 60% of the population of Afghanistan was living below the poverty line, following decades of war, conflict and poverty. There are fears that this will increase as jobs and opportunities dry up due to lockdown.

There are estimated to be around 1.6 million working horses, donkeys and mules across Afghanistan. These animals are heavily relied upon for transport and agricultural work across the hilly terrain. Through DCA, Brooke currently works in five provinces; Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh, Samangan and Nangarhar. As the pandemic continues to impact communities, it’s important to ensure that animals are kept as strong and healthy as possible so to weather the inevitable economic issues that are expected to arise, post-pandemic.