4 May 2017

Brooke Re-launches Innovation Fund for 2017

We are pleased to announce that Brooke’s Innovation Fund is re-launching. After a successful first year that saw Brooke fund nine projects across the developing world and in the UK, we are starting to see the positive results and the lessons that trialling new approaches to equine welfare can bring.

The Innovation Project focusses on tackling particularly challenging situations facing working horses, donkeys and mules and their owners, such as drought. Droughts are becoming more regular events in the countries that Brooke works in, they have dire consequences for communities reliant on their working animals for food production.

Not only does drought force animals and people to travel further in search of water, the lack of water itself and the strict rationing it creates, presents health and welfare problems for working equines and people alike. Through Brooke’s Innovation Fund we have begun working with communities on drought and disaster preparedness to ensure food security in times of crisis.

Last year our Brooke India team developed a Hydroponics pilot project to help provide good quality green fodder to donkeys sustainably throughout the year. The pilot is still underway with 200 families in the state of Maharashtra.

Before starting the project, Brooke India recognised that availability of green fodder was very low and was often too expensive for donkey owners to buy. The Hydroponics project has allowed families who are not able to afford land for crops to grow fodder in trays in a corner of their homes or small areas outside. The method is also cheap as 1kg of maize seeds produces approximately 8-10kgs of green fodder, with minimal watering.

Gyanoba Raje, Avvalkonda Village donkey owner said "This method of green fodder production is very easy... we will be buying our own maize seeds and will propagate this method in other areas as well. This system will remove the scarcity of green fodder for donkeys,"

I never thought my 10 donkeys would have such good quality green fodder in their lives.

Thanks to Brooke’s generous supporters we were able to help families kick start their cultivation by providing five trays for green fodder production, a first batch of maize seeds and a green shade cloth. The team were also on hand to monitor progress and answer any questions the families had.

The Hydroponics crop growing project was successful and Brooke teams found that the families had found innovative ways of stacking their trays of fodder, using various household or backyard items such as cot frames, branches and iron bars. The donkey owners have been extremely positive about the project and are excited that their donkeys will become healthier and happier as a result of their improved diets.  

“The Brooke has helped us in green fodder cultivation through Hydroponics along with the donkey welfare – this is a new thought process for the donkey owners and we are very happy.

“This method of green fodder cultivation is cost effective and we don’t have to depend on anyone else. We will continue this as we know our donkeys will become healthy. We are very thankful to the Brooke team for their support.” said donkey owner Badiram Dake from Parli, Ambajogia.