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GAMBIA HORSE AND DONKEY TRUST

Registered Charity No. 1096814

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EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES

"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

 

 

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