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Animal-Kind International Partner Organization: Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO)

TAWESO

AKI’s partner organization in Tanzania, Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO), was registered in Tanzania on 18 April 2008, to promote animal welfare country-wide to companion, working, and farm animals. TAWESO is run by a group of dedicated veterinarians, teachers, agricultural workers, and others who care about animals.  AKI is a proud supporter of TAWESO!

Tanzania Animal Welfare Society

TAWESO at work: Discussing the importance of sterilization and vaccination against rabies before TAWESO starts spay/neuter surgery and rabies jabs in Mpigi Magohe village of Dar es Salaam..

In response to our question about what TAWESO hopes to gain from the TAWESO-AKI partnership, Executive Director, Dr. Thomas Kahema replied: "The AKI partnership will help us to have a great positive influence on the welfare of animals which are in need in the country. The situation for animals is terrible as most people are poor and the animals are in distress, to some extent the food animals are considered by their owners but majority of the dogs, cats, and working donkeys live in agony. AKI’s partnership will help us to change peoples’ behaviour towards building more compassionate and kindness attitude to animals and also reach many more of the neglected animals in the country."

You can read about how TAWESO has used AKI donations here, and you can designate your AKI donation to help TAWESO’s quest to improve the lives of domestic animals in Tanzania here!

Donkeys in Tanzania

Photo above: Donkeys wearing their humane halters: In TAWESO workshops, donkey owners make these halters (using inexpensive, locally obtained materials), and learn about good donkey care.

TAWESO Activities

TAWESO’s main programs are Dog and Cat Vet Outreach Clinics and Population Control, Donkey Welfare Programme, and Humane Education.

Vet Outreach Clinics

Photo (above) shows Executive Director Dr. Thomas Kahema spaying a dog in Mpigi Magohe village of Dar es Salaam.

TAWESO holds Vet Outreach Clinics when funds allow, where they spay and neuter street dogs and cats, and at very low cost, also provide this service for pets owned by poor people. The clinics combine population control with general animal health care for stray animals and other animals in need. During these clinics, TAWESO provides veterinary treatment for various diseases and wounds, washing and dipping for mange, fleas, and ticks, vaccination against rabies, and de-worming.

TAWESO mainly provides these services in the rural, poor village areas of Dar es Salaam and in the upcountry district, Mpwapwa in Dodoma, some 700 kilometers from Dar es Salaam.

TAWESO’s Donkey Welfare Programme raises awareness of humane donkey care and handling, and provides basic veterinary treatment for working donkeys.

donkey in tanzania

The program is best described by Tina and Emily, two vets who volunteered with TAWESO during October-November 2010: Donkeys were mainly brought to us for de-worming, but presented with a number of concurrent complaints, all of which involved wounds across the withers and backs from poor harnessing. All working donkeys had evidence of chronic skin changes and a significant proportion had ulcers.  One particular case had a large abscess measuring ~10cm in diameter!  Whilst donkeys are a necessity to the villagers, veterinary care, attention to injuries and rest of affected animals is overlooked. TAWESO addresses this mindset through organized community meetings to educate donkey owners, not just about care of their donkeys and the provision of this care, but their perceived value and the importance of healthy, happy donkeys: “Mtunze Punda Akutunze” (Take care of the donkey and the donkey will take care of you.) 

TAWESO’s Donkey Welfare Programme

Photo (above): UK volunteer vets, Tina and Emily, assisting TAWESO’s Donkey Welfare Programme

Dr. Thomas adds: "The working donkeys in rural areas are not treated and when they are terminally sick they are left to die on their own in bushes or eaten by hyenas leaving alone that they are overworked, overloaded, and beaten and have many wounds. 

All this made us see the need of helping these neglected and really suffering animals, all of it came because of compassion as the animals feel pain and need to be cared regardless the owner is financially able or not."

Community Humane Education: Through this program, TAWESO creates an increase in pet ownership responsibility and love of animals. They’ve developed humane education leaflets for communities and for schoolchildren.

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Photo left: As part of TAWESO’s Humane Education Programme, UK volunteer vets Tina and Emily conducted humane education classes with primary school pupils.

Photo right : Two volunteer Canadian vet students, Jennifer and Stacey, help TAWESO conduct humane education classes to standard six pupils at Anniny Nndumi Nursery and Primary School in Dar es Salaam.

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AKI asked Dr. Thomas, “what does the future hold for TAWESO?”

“Tanzania being a country with an area of 940,000 square kilometres with about 120 districts and 90% are in the rural areas, needs more effort to reach more districts. So far we have three representatives in three zones out of six zones the country has.  We plan to have six representatives and when we have resources these representatives can use more local media (TV, radio, newspapers) which are very useful to disseminate humane education to the public, but through local approach as the cultures vary from one zone to another.  We also hope to expand the dog and cat population programme and donkey welfare programme, but this depends on funding and supplies available to us.  Now that the Animal Welfare Act 2008 has passed, with support from TAWESO, we will work to make sure it is implemented.  Also, I am happy that I am appointed by the minister to be a member of the Animal Welfare Advisory Council representing animal welfare organizations in the country because I think this will help us expand our outreach.” 

AKI asked Dr. Thomas Kahema, to elaborate on the difficulties in fundraising for animals in Tanzania:

“Here in our country it is a bit difficult because animal welfare is a very new thematic area and people are faced with other life challenges like hunger, extreme poverty, and street children. TAWESO has been doing our works through members’ subscriptions, donations, and few small grants. When we conceive a project we write a proposal and try to send to some people and organizations. Whatever we get we use for the works planned or we scale back depending on the funds we receive. Sometimes we do not get the funding, thus we use our own expertise for the little urgent works which need the most attention.” [TAWESO receives no government support.]

AKI asked Dr. Thomas why the founders started TAWESO:

“Having worked as a vet practitioner for more than ten years, I and other people in the community saw the need of having an organization which could help animals which were very much neglected and others posed a health risk to the community. The policy here is that all the veterinary service is done by private vets/para-vets and you can see that only people who are able can meet the costs of veterinary care to their animals, and Tanzania is a very poor country and most people are very poor and hardly they can meet their basic needs, you can see many animals in this situation are not taken care of, the dogs end up being poisoned or brutally killed.”

TAWESO’s most active volunteers are:  

1-William T.Kwalazi (Chairman ) - A retired teacher of mathematics and education in secondary schools and universities.  He was much involved in the country’s curriculum development.  He continues to write books for nursery school to university levels.  He is the head of the Humane Education Programme, and designs the training leaflets for schoolchildren and community members.

2-Henry J. Msigwa (Vice Chairman) - An agricultural and livestock officer, he is the head of the Donkey Welfare Programme.

3-Thomas W. Kahema (Executive Director) - A vet and head of the Dog and Cat Vet Outreach/Population Control Programme, he oversees all the programmes.

4-Evelyn Nyanginywa (Treasurer) - She is the controller of all TAWESO funds, including member subscriptions, donations, and small grants.

Country Representatives

1-Richard Itaba - Coastal zone, he is a para-vet and the assistant head of VetOutreach/Dog and Cat Population Control Programme.

2-Neema Simon - Central zone, she is a para-vet and assistant head of the Donkey Welfare Programme.

3-Mrs Youze Pauline - Lake Victoria zone, she is a secondary school teacher and assistant head of the Humane Education Programme.

Info/Photos

TAWESO now has a small kennel/shelter, which they constructed with AKI funds! It can hold about 8 dogs and 6 cats.  (See the photo gallery for more pictures and information.)

TAWESO shelter

AKI donated supplies and funds to TAWESO in September 2012 and again in January 2013, which will help them to continue their donkey welfare, spay/neuter, community vet care, and humane ed activities. Click on a photo for a larger view.

TAWESO volunteers

Dr. Thomas Kahema

Dr. Thomas Kahema 2

TAWESO's Dr. Thomas Kahema

Humane Education

One of TAWESO's veterinary volunteers wrote this complimentary and informative article about her time spent with TAWESO: click here