High poverty rates and decades of conflict make Afghanistan a particularly challenging, but needful, context for Brooke’s work. Since 2008 we have worked in partnership with DCA Livestock Programs and in 2018 we launched a new partnership with Afghanaid.

Working donkey carrying brushwood for fuel in Afghanistan

Afghanistan at a glance

Population: 37.2 million (2018)
Percentage of population living below the national poverty line: 55% (2016)
Number of working donkeys, horses and mules: 1.6 million (2018)

Sources: World Bank 2016, 2018; FAO 2018.


Continuous droughts and ongoing internal warfare in Afghanistan make this a challenging country to work in. It is estimated that 36% of the total population lives below the national poverty line and over 80% of the equine owning communities fall within this category.

Equines in Afghanistan are involved in a variety of work from transporting people and goods, to working in agriculture and brick kilns. They play an important role in supporting the livelihoods of some of Afghanistan’s poorest communities yet many experience extremely poor welfare.

Some of the main welfare issues include poor body condition, harness wounds, external parasitic infestations, colic and lameness.

Many donkeys are involved with collecting bushes from the mountainous area to sell in the towns. They usually set off at 2-3am and they’re not back until 2pm and then they have two hours travelling to the town to sell to the customers.

Dr Naseer Darwish, a facilitator at DCA


Since 2008 we have worked in partnership with the organisation DCA Livestock Programs

DCA currently works in five provinces in Afghanistan; Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh, Samangan and Nangarhar. This project works to strengthen communities' and owners’ understanding of equine welfare, and ensure the standards of welfare services through working with local vets, para-vets, farriers, harness-makers and traditional healers.

Read more about DCA and Brooke's work here

In 2018, we have launched a new partnership with Afghanaid.

Afghanaid are working in four districts of Daykundi province to stregthen the livelihoods and livestock care of vulnerable households. This project will be integtrating working equine welfare into an existing livelihoods project, linking improved animal health and welfare to strengthened livelihoods and access to markets.

Read more about this new partnership here

Make a difference to working horses, donkeys and mules


Brooke research shows the importance of donkeys in the lives of the people in Afghanistan.

Dr Naseer Darwish, a facilitator at DCA, explains what it’s like to work to improve the welfare of Afghanistan’s equines.

Brooke has been working in partnership with Animal Health Training and Consultancy Service (AHTCS) since 2007 to help improve the working conditions and welfare of horses and donkeys in Nepal’s poorest communities

At 228,000, Guatemala has the highest number of equines in Central America. We have worked in country since 2006, through a partnership with Equinos Sanos para el Pueblo (ESAP)

We also work through a variety of smaller projects carried out in partnership through our Innovation Fund, a fund which exists to address persistent problems affecting working equids around the world in new and effective ways


Get the latest insights and updates from our programmes, advocacy and research.