Petplan Charitable Trust has donated £10,000 to Brook Ethiopia to help improve the lives of working animals and local communities.
Slated for completion in March 2022, the initiative by a local branch of the equine charity will provide a safe water source for communities in Merab Azenet woreda (district) in SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region). (Main image shows a similar project completed by Brooke Ethiopia in Oromia region.)
“Merab Azenet is located in an area known for its high production potential for crops, particularly wheat, and livestock. Communities’ lives (over 85% of the population) depend on traditional farming and livestock production,” explains Emma Buckley, Corporate Relationships Manager.
To access water, says Buckley, people and their animals often have to travel long distances. During consultations between Brooke Ethiopia and the local community, it became clear that a source of clean water closer to home was the top priority.
“Communities and animals are exposed to waterborne diseases, women and children have to travel long distances and queue up at water points meaning children miss out on going to school and women and children lose on any possible leisure time as hours are lost walking and queuing.”
According to Buckley, working equines such as donkeys feel the most strain as they are overloaded and carry jerry cans of water on their backs for many miles.
“They suffer from overloading, wounds form their loads, overworking, heat-stress and dehydration; this is fatal if left untreated,” she says.
The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Construction work is currently underway that, once complete, will provide 3,265 working equines and 1,520 households with access to safe water within an hour’s walk. A further 2,370 other livestock including oxen, cows, cattle, goats and sheep will also benefit from this project.
The welfare of animals will be improved as water trips will become shorter (less than an hour), plus more frequent trips can be made so equines are not overloaded. This will reduce the risk of wounds owing to heavy loads and the poor health that can result from such injuries. What’s more, equines will have access to drinking water from troughs reducing dehydration and heat-stress.
Animal welfare training will enhance skills and knowledge
In addition to receiving training on management of the water scheme, the committee has received training on animal welfare and the five basic animal freedoms to enhance skills and knowledge throughout the community.
The project’s Development Manager, Teshome Haile, is ‘exhilarated’ by the positive changes the new water sources will bring:
“Apart from reducing the toil and hardship, children will be relieved from waterborne diseases and school attendance will not be interrupted as the result of children travelling long distances to fetch water.”
The Trust is delighted to be supporting this fantastic project. Buckley is optimistic that the scheme will be up and running ahead of schedule.