The story of Stephen and his two donkeys

Meet Stephen Kimiri from Kenya. Eight years ago Stephen bought two donkeys and a cart so that he could make money supplying water to people in Narok.

Stephen fills containers at the river and distributes them to clients. As he has a cart, he also substitutes his income by helping people move house. His two donkeys take it in turns to pull the cart.

Before I got these two friends of mine (the donkeys) I had no permanent job and no job security. Now I wake up every day, take the donkeys to the river and get money. I have gone far and taken my children to secondary school. I have also bought my own plot so I know we will have somewhere to live.

Stephen Kimiri

Stephen has known Brooke East Africa and our partner, Farming Systems Kenya, for a year. Stephen said: “I have seen the change. I didn’t know how to take care of my donkeys before Brooke came along, for example I didn’t know you had to deworm them.”

Stephen delivers water to customers in Narok, Kenya

The Brooke East Africa team are trying to set up a donkey welfare group in Narok but are struggling to recruit members. Stephen has been recognised as a donkey advocate and has been asked to assist with recruiting members. 

Stephen said: “Donkey owners in Narok are very busy and finding the time is the problem, but they love to come together so I’m hopeful. I show them how to teach donkeys without hurting them. I told them not to joke about donkeys because they can take you far. I tell them to be careful in the way you handle the donkeys because they are very productive. I can see the attitude change in the town. I can see people are taking their donkey welfare more seriously. There is a change, a great change.”

Stephen loads his cart with water collected from the river

Stephen also attended a peer to peer exchange in Homa Bay County, organised by Brooke and our partners. During the exchange, Stephen visited donkey owners in similar occupations to share his animal welfare knowledge as well as learn tips from other owners.

Stephen feeding donkey favourite food

Stephen said: “The trip was very exciting. People learnt about donkey-friendly harnesses used by other owners and were able to take these learnings back home. I was much different after the trip. I came back and saw people hitting their donkeys and felt bad.”

Stephen’s donkeys are happy to be petted and aren’t afraid of humans, which reflects well on his husbandry. 

Stephen said: “I appreciate my donkeys in many ways. The last jerry can of the day is for my donkeys. No one else can have it. If they get water, I know they are OK.”

See also

Improving the welfare of working animals means working closely with owners, their families and the wider community. This ensures improvements made to welfare are owned locally with guidance provided by Brooke and our partners.

We have funded programmes in Kenya since 2001, establishing an East Africa regional office in Nairobi in 2013 to allow further expansion in the region and greater support to the local partners that make such a huge difference to equine welfare.