Our vision is a Zambia where working donkeys are free from suffering, treated with compassion, and truly valued by the people who rely on them.
Working donkeys in rural Zambia often provide a lifeline for their owners who use them for farming and for transportation of goods to market. It is a harsh life for many of these animals, with poverty and lack of knowledge about donkey care often resulting in suffering through neglect and injury.
At ZWDP we have begun to tackle these issues...
We aim to improve the lives of working donkeys and support their owners in a practical way by:
educating people about how to care for their animals; a healthy, happy donkey will be a worthwhile long term investment.
providing training to make harnesses and modify carts & ploughs, ensuring they are appropriate for equine use and the job they need to do.
rescuing and rehabilitating animals in need of short or long term special care.
Where it began..
Our story begins a few years ago when our founders, Sarah and Hesther, undertook a fundraising walk for another charity through the bush from Lake Kariba to Livingstone, on which we took five donkeys to assist in carrying our daily supplies. Another member of the party had sought to purchase these donkeys, stating he wanted seven 'fit, healthy animals able to carry saddle packs'… Unfortunately, the donkeys brought to us were far from it; two of them were only around a year old, tiny and also sick, one was in foal, one was small but would have been usable if it had not been for the gaping sore on her back, one had a foal at foot and one was just about ok - this was our introduction to how donkeys are viewed and worked in Zambia. Along the way we came across many other working donkeys and were grieved to see the sorry state of them, a lot of them having open wounds from being driven under ox yokes and in poor condition generally.
Time for action..
We felt impelled to do something but with other commitments it was an unattainable dream at the time. Fast forward to 2018 and a change in situation, with one of us now living 'on the ground' in Zambia, our vision of changing the lives of working donkeys started to look realistic. We had been introduced to Lynne, who had founded the pet rescue organisation Zambezi Animal Welfare Services in Livingstone, and who had also wanted to help donkeys for some time. In October of that year, sitting under a mango tree, we formed the Zambezi Working Donkey Project, which was registered as a Zambian not-for-profit organisation in February 2019, with our first outreach clinic taking place in May 2019 once the rains allowed travel.
Our work so far..
Since then we have conducted many outreaches with our mobile clinic out in the villages, educated owners on a one to one basis at our farm base in town, and made multiple rescues of donkeys in need of urgent care. Within our first year of operation we reached 165 owners from 53 villages, providing treatment (tending wounds and giving worm and tick treatment) to 473 donkeys, providing harnesses for 104 carts and modifying them for use with donkeys. But we have only begun to scratch the surface…
In June 2020 Zambezi Working Donkey Project UK was registered as a charity with the Charities Commission for England and Wales, in order to raise awareness for and provide support to Zambezi Working Donkey project and other charitable projects concerning equine welfare in Zambia.