With one of the highest population of equines in the world, Ethiopia naturally has some particular animal welfare needs. Brooke Ethiopia has been working on these since the first project started in 2006.  



At a glance

  • Ethiopia has a very high level of equine ownership, with over 2.2 million horses, 8.8 million donkeys, and 0.4 million mules.
  • There are around one million cart donkeys and 250,000 cart horses in different parts of the country serving millions.
  • Brooke has improved the welfare of over half a million working equids in Ethiopia, including those in the most hard to reach areas.
  • Part of this focus has been the creation of equine shelters and water points, directly supporting over 132,000 equids.

Take a closer look

Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, and has the fastest growing economy in the region. However, it is also one of the poorest, with a per capita income of $783 (World Bank 2019).

In rural Ethiopia, equines transport water, grains, fuel wood and agricultural products. In urban areas, they transport goods and people.

Although equines play a crucial role in the national economy, their welfare is extremely poor, especially in urban areas. Predominant welfare issues include wounds, eye problems, lameness, hoof problems, parasites and poor body condition.

How it all started

Brooke began working in Ethiopia back in 2006. At that time we were operational in only four woredas (districts) in Southern regional state, but currently the organization is operating in 13 different woredas across three regions (Oromia, Amhara, and Southern Regional state). We have intervention areas in 27 woredas, and there are also another 16 new intervention areas planned.

Equines are more than just a domestic animal in Ethiopia - their existence in the community is helpful in so many ways. There are about one million cart donkeys and 250,000 cart horses working all day long. On average, one donkey serves up to three families at a time. These equines work in harsh conditions and there are many welfare issues that need to be addressed with Brooke’s intervention. 

How we are helping today

Our goal is to improve the welfare of 446,681 working equines in Ethiopia, including those most hard-to-reach (who number 17,468). We will achieve this by:

  • working with equine owners, users and handlers to improve their welfare practices and the livelihood of equine owners
  • working with local animal health practitioners, including vets, farriers, cart-makers and saddlers to ensure good quality services are available for working animals
  • supporting the improvement of equine facilities such as shelters, water points and service centres
  • working to increase the access communities have to equine medicines through the Drug and Vaccine Revolving Fund (DVRF) initiative
  • raising the profile of equine welfare in government policy and legal frameworks


Ripple Effect (the new name for Send a Cow)


Brooke Ethiopia works in partnership with Ripple Effect (the new name for Send a Cow) to improve the welfare of equines in Ziway (in Oromia regional state) and Dawuro zone (in Southern regional state).


Find out more about our work in Ethiopia

Tel: +251 116610069
[email protected]
House No. 797, Woreda 3, Bole sub-city, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia