In Ethiopia, our team in the Tigray region are forging a valuable relationship with the veterinary training college of Mekelle university. Ethiopia has a good network of government-employed vets based at clinics in rural areas, but their training doesn’t include donkey medicine.
Tumme Konton, her husband Sisay and their children live in a tiny settlement called Adankonsole, near the small market town of Soguba, not far from the Kenyan border in Ethiopia.
When asked who in his big family works the hardest, twelve-year-old Abraham says, “the donkey”. It’s true – his mum Birtukan, his dad Tilahun, he and his brothers and sisters, and their grandparents, all rely on one donkey to make a living. They use the donkey to pull a cart, delivering essential goods such as firewood and water around their neighbourhood.
Donkey-drawn carts are used in many areas of Ethiopia to transport vital goods such as firewood, water and building materials. All too often these carts are makeshift affairs, with shafts that lie heavily across the donkey’s back, causing painful chafing wounds.
Watch our amazing short film about our work with cart donkeys.
Ethiopia is one of the biggest countries in Africa and has Africa's largest population of cattle, sheep, goats, horses and donkeys. The rain falling on its mountainous central highland plateau provides 75% of the Nile's water, but it also has extensive arid lowland plains.
Most Ethiopian donkeys are used as pack animals, and one of the commonest welfare problems is the painful back wounds they develop, caused by inadequate padding underneath their heavy loads.