Senegal - West Africa

We have worked in Senegal since 2010 to improve conditions for the country's working horses and donkeys and to explore the potential for expanding our work further into West Africa.

Senegal at a glance

Population: 15.8 million
Percentage of people living below the international poverty line: 47%
Number of working equines: 1 million

Sources: World Bank 2011/18, and FAO 2018


Our work in West Africa covers Senegal, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Niger. All countries lie in the drought-prone Sahel area with poor soil and erratic rainfall. A large proportion of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood, and working equines are used heavily in this sector. Equines are also used in rural areas to transport water and people, and in cities to transport people, construction materials and general merchandise.

Many of these animals are affected by poor welfare, including poor body condition, fear and aggression, feet-related problems, ectoparasites and body lesions (linked with inadequate harnesses and beating).

Horses transporting people, goods and building materials at a market 

What are we doing?

Our goal is to improve the welfare of 150,000 working equines in Senegal and Burkina Faso by 2021 through:

  • working with service providers and equine owners to improve the welfare of equines used to pull carts and carriages in urban areas
  • working with farming communities in semi-arid and arid areas to improve their animal welfare management and disaster preparedness skills
  • working to strengthen animal welfare law and elevate the importance of working equine welfare in the eyes of regional, national and local policy makers.

Working with service providers

We provide training to service providers such as vets, paravets, farriers and harness-makers resulting in both better services for the animals and improved income for the provider. We also work with equine owners to encourage them to use services available to them. Right: Brooke-trained local vet  


We carry out a range of advocacy work, aiming to create links with and influence local, regional, national and continental government departments as well as veterinary clinics, medical organisations universities and non-governmental organisations.

Some of our work to date includes:

  • the adoption of OIE equine welfare standards
  • involvement in national advocacy to achieve the adoption of a bylaw on equine-drawn vehicles (with provisions on issues such as overworking and overloading)
  • successful lobbying of Senevet, the largest veterinary drug wholesaler in Senegal, to import oral forms of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which provide pain management and relief to equines affected by ailments such as lameness, wounds and illness. 

Equine animals are the key to agriculture in Senegal

Working with communities in arid areas

In semi-arid and arid areas, food security and livelihood problems frequently undermine communities’ abilities to provide consistent care for working equines. When rainfall is limited, crops suffer and water supplies diminish. When these resources are in short supply, working equines are often the first to experience reduced feed and water. We work with communities to help them develop resilience-oriented strategies to cope better with the impact of drought. We also encourage and provide training to equine owners to produce forage crops for their equines and help them turn agricultural by-products into animal feed.

If your donkey dies, it means death for you as well. 

Hadjiratow SOW, Ferlo community member


Related news

Brooke is supporting local services to tackle an outbreak of a fast-spreading disease in donkeys across West Africa. 

Brooke West Africa has opened a new shelter which will provide owners and working horses, donkeys and mules with vital shade and water.

Brooke launched a new partnership in Senegal with Eclosio in 2018

A regular donation can help us reach more communities and more working equines.


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