Working livestock play a key role in water provision

Working horses, donkeys and mules carry water that can be used for crops, human consumption or for other livestock.

Everyone needs water to survive, and yet globally 785 million people don’t have clean water close to home (WHO/UNICEF, 2019). In low and middle income countries, 100 million working livestock (horses, donkeys and mules) help farmers and their communities access water that is essential for their survival.

Donkeys transporting water in Kenya

Water for human consumption

Working livestock help their owners transport water from the source to the home, which is then used for drinking, cooking and washing.

Water for agriculture

Livestock and water graphic

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.

Brooke is helping communities around the world access water

A water pump in the community

Brooke is helping communities and their animals access clean water close to their homes, supporting the attainment of SDG 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.

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.”

A water spring in Guatemala’s ‘Dry Corridor’

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.