In May 2013, we launched a four-year pilot partner project in Nicaragua, a country with an estimated 325,000 equines. In 2017, we registered a branch in country.

Cart pulling horses, Masaya, Nicaragua

Nicaragua at a glance

Population: 6.5 million
Percentage of people living below the international poverty line: 25% 
Number of working equines: 325,000

Sources: World Bank 2016/18, and FAO 2018


Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and access to basic services is a daily challenge for many, especially farmers and indigenous people. The political and social context of Nicaragua in particular and the region in general imply a series of challenges.

In rural areas donkeys and mules are used in agriculture and in urban areas horses are used for transporting people and goods by cart. Some of the main welfare issues they face are poor body condition, heat stress, tick infection, abnormal eye conditions, inability to walk normally and untreated injury or disease.

What are we doing?

Brooke’s work in Central America began through a pilot project in Nicaragua in 2013.

Working in partnerships with local Development NGO Oikos, Brooke launched a four-year pilot project to:

  • train local animal health practitioners such as agrovets, farriers and harness makers
  • engage local communities in learning and practicing positive animal welfare techniques, and
  • engage with governmental bodies to promote the importance of equines to Nicaragua’s economy.

In 2017, Brooke registered a branch in country to continue innovative work in Nicaragua which is based on Rebecca Garcia’s One Welfare framework and rooted in Brooke’s Theory of Change. 

Our approach

We recognise the interrelationship and interdependence of animal welfare, human well-being and the environment and work holistically to achieve sustainable positive change.

Brooke America Central works on joint initiatives with multiple partners to complement and reinforce the livelihoods and resilience projects they are already doing; the integration of an animal welfare component enhances results and adds value.

The projects are designed with community actors and partner organisations in the communities through processes of reflection and collective construction which enable community ownership of and responsibility/buy-in for these projects.

How we work

Brooke America Central has established 10 partnerships across the region and is looking at a further three organisations with which to partner.

All projects aim to build a group of community based welfare “champions” who can become a resource network in handling and animal husbandry skills in the future.

Our work with government is based on contributing to broaden the impact of their institutional mandate, incorporating animal welfare practice.

Farriery workshop, Nicaragua

Working with animal health practitioners

We train local animal health practitioners such as agrovets, farriers and harness makers in good practice, basic veterinary care and good handling as well as encouraging them to exchange expertise and experiences among themselves. We also help practitioners run meetings with communities on the benefits of equine-friendly practice.

Working with communities

We engage local communities in learning about and carrying out best practices for equine welfare through approaches such as equine welfare groups, developing community “equine champions”, holding events and awareness days and distributing welfare-related newsletters, magazines and story books.

Advocacy work

We engage with government bodies and other organisations at national and local level, promoting the importance of equines to Nicaragua's economy. Our aim is to achieve better representation of basic equine welfare standards in the country's laws, policies and programmes.

Related news

Working horses in Nicaragua are now lighter on their hooves thanks to an expert farriery workshop. 

Make a difference to working equines in Nicaragua


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