Horses, donkeys and mules vital in providing water

In parts of the world where accessing water is increasingly difficult, equine animals play an essential part in the transport of water supplies.  We are working to provide better support for these animals and their owners.  

Help us to support horses, donkeys and mules as crucial water providers

Lack of access to fresh water causes terrible suffering to working animals around the world, every single day. Water is becoming increasingly hard to find, and thousands of working horses, donkeys and mules are suffering as a result. Right now communities are struggling as the effects of the pandemic squeeze their already scant resources and, as global warming continues, this problem is ever more urgent.

Brooke is helping communities and their animals access clean water close to their homes, supporting the attainment of the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation.

In Ethiopia, water pumps and cattle troughs built by Brooke are benefitting nearly 250,000 people in the Oromia region and 71, 500 people in the SNNP region. This new infrastructure is managed by water committees made up of local people, with the support of local authorities.

Members of the community enjoy the opening of a new water trough in Bucharaya, Ethiopia

In La Esperanza community in Guatemala’s ‘Dry Corridor’ (a region suffering from severe water shortages), Brooke and its partner ESAP have constructed a water spring that has benefitted 150 animals and more than 200 families. This spring is the only source of safe water for the families in La Esperanza and neighbouring villages of El Cujito, El Morrito and La Candelaria.

In Burkina Faso, Brooke and our partner Inades-Formation Burkina have built a new borehole that includes a solar pump for people and a water trough for cattle in the village of Silmiougou. The new infrastructure provides clean drinking water to an estimated 5,000 people in Silmiougou and neighbouring villages of Tangasgo, Tansega and Tansablougou.

Maria, 40, said:

“Before, we had difficulty getting water. Now, with this borehole in the village (...) we have drinking water. Before, donkeys used to drink once or twice a day, now they can drink three to four times a day.”

Water for human consumption

Many people may not realise that those living in rural areas of developing countries often have to travel vast distances to obtain fresh water, and for many this journey is made easier by owning a horse or donkey. The water is used by families for drinking, to cook, maintain basic hygiene standards, water crops and provide drinking water for other farm animals.

Water for agriculture

The water transported by working equids is used to irrigate crops. It is also given to other species of livestock. This helps the owners increase crop yield and livestock production, leading to improved livelihoods.

"Farming is made possible by donkeys. All household animals rely on donkeys which are the ones carrying and bringing feed and water for cows, chickens, sheep and goats." 

- Participant from Brooke's 'Voices from Women' report.

In the groundnut basin and the sylvo-pastoral zone in Senegal, donkeys supply water to 400,000 small ruminants every day.

(Brooke West Africa, 2018)

Empowering women and girls

In many communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America, women and girls have to walk long distances to fetch water from a water hole or a pump. This means they have less time for other tasks, and many girls are pulled out of school in order to help with water provision and other household chores. Equids are able to transport more water across large distances, freeing women’s and girls’ time for other activities, from community meetings to education, thus leading to greater gender empowerment.

In Pakistan, women who own a donkey cart can bring water, wood and fodder home in an hour and a half, as opposed to four hours for women who do not have a donkey.

- Brooke’s ‘Voices from Women’ research project.

Brooke is calling on governments and international organisations to recognise the role of working livestock in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, including SDG 6 – clean water and sanitation.