Meru Animal Welfare Organisation's donkey harness training

Meru Animal Welfare Organisation (MAWO) have recognised that one of the biggest issues in their area is working donkeys suffering wounds and trauma associated with poor harnessing. MAWO have been carrying out harness training and humane handling practices, as well as donating carts to groups of women to help them and their donkeys with house work and other activities. This past month, MAWO visited the Emboret and Naisinyai villages, where they connected with Inyuat group (Maasai name meaning Effort) and Ereto Osikiria group (Maasai name meaning Helping Donkey).

Here they were able to train 20 women and 4 men on proper harnessing, and how to make the harnesses which are more comfortable and harmless for the donkeys. The new style of harness is affordable and easy to make and use, as it is a modification of what they normally use, and most importantly, the backbone of the donkey is protected.

A modern, donkey friendly cart was also donated, along with a demonstration on how to use it correctly. The cart will allow the donkeys to carry more efficiently without feeling overloaded, meaning donkeys can be worked on alternate days, instead of every day.

There were some challenges due to a language barrier, and many of the villagers not understanding Swahili, so a translator was used. This carried the risk of some messages being lost in translation. It was also harvesting time, so attendance was not as high as was hoped.

MAWO will continue their program of training across villages to spread awareness and reduce the number of wounds caused by poor harnessing.

Thank you to AAA donors who allow us to continue the support for MAWO's fantastic work.

Janet Thomas