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"Education is the best way to train ourselves that we will secure our own well-being by concerning ourselves with others. It is possible to create a better world, a more compassionate, more peaceful world, which is not only in everyone's interest, but is everyone's responsibility to achieve." - Dalai Lama


School Education Programme

We run an educational programme in 10 local schools in the Niamina district of The Gambia, covering equine care and welfare. This programme is taught to children in Grades 5 and 6 where the children are typically between 9 and 12 years old. Young boys are usually the main carers for the family's animals in The Gambia so by providing them with education about how to correctly care for their animals we can help to make an immediate difference.

The school education programme covers basic management practices, appropriate handling, harnessing and information about equine diseases, illness and injuries. Many of the problems that we see with working animals could be prevented if their owners had the correct knowledge and knew what to do in an emergency situation.

Our lessons are focussed around being as fun and interactive as possible to ensure that they are very memorable for the children. This often results in great hilarity amongst the children and helps the children to absorb the information more easily and retain what they have learnt.

Through interactive lessons the children are able to gain a good understanding of the lessons we are teaching


Horse and Donkey Show

Donkey Club

We run a regular Donkey club for local children to attend with their donkeys. The Donkey Club aims to help the children to develop empathy towards their animals and an understanding of their needs. This is achieved through integrating donkey care with sport and has led to the development of a game now known locally as Donkey Ball. Donkey Ball is a cross between football and netball on donkey-back and has played a huge part in helping the children to develop better relationships with their animals. The desire to become part of the local Donkey Ball teams has encouraged the children to take excellent care of their animals and also to handle them kindly and gently. In order to be selected for the teams the animals must be healthy and well cared for, and as a Donkey Ball tournament is televised each year at the annual show it is seen as a great honour to be selected for the teams. The standard of care provided to the Donkey Club donkeys is now so high that they are usually the ones who take home all the prizes from the annual show!

Farmer Training

Workshops are held in villages and towns in The Gambia to teach farmers best practice for caring for their working animals. Poorly manufactured and poorly fitting harnessing materials are responsible for a large amount of animal suffering, but it is a relatively easy problem to prevent. Farmers are provided with information about the best types of harness and information about correct harness fit, loading of carts and equine care. The farmers rely on their animals and do not intentionally cause suffering. When provided with education they are very keen and willing to apply better practices and workshops are always extremely well attended.

Training for Equine Professionals

A number of training programmes have been carried out to train local professionals in equine related trades. With the help of a team from World Horse Welfare we were able to train 40 harness makers and farriers, enabling them to develop their own small businesses and also to help relieve the suffering of animals throughout The Gambia. The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust funded for 16 Gambia College students to undertake a two year course to become the first Livestock Assistants to have equine specialities. This course had a theoretical basis, with regular practical blocks held at the GHDT veterinary centre. The equine curriculum was designed and carried out by the vets from the University of Liverpool's Veterinary School. All of these students are now employed by the Gambian Government and are posted throughout the country, enabling them to offer veterinary assistance to animals in all corners of the country


Apprenticeship Scheme

Many of you will have heard of the recent problems in The Gambia, many of the youths have tried to go "the back way" and have ended up either drowning in the Mediterranean or in refugee camps in Europe. Unemployment in The Gambia is very high and the new Government faces a huge task to turn things around.

We came up with the idea of an apprenticeship scheme where unemployed youths can come and work with the GHDT and learn, then they can take their new found knowledge back to their communities to help the animals there. The cost of such a scheme would be 10.40p per week, 41.60 per month, or 500 per year, which would give a young person hope and skills which he/she could use to help his community. If you would be interested in participating in this scheme you would be given the details of the young person that you are sponsoring and would receive a report at the end of the year on his/her progress. You could even come to visit the person you sponsor.

This is really a unique way of helping both people and animals and though we know that 10.40 per week is a large amount of money, 500 as a fundraising target is achievable. It would be a wonderful thing to do and would give a young person hope and help with animal welfare too.

For more information about taking part in this scheme, please contact the GHDT Office.

Thank you!


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