Animal-Kind International | About Us
Animal-Kind International raises much-needed funds for our Partner Animal Welfare, Rescue, and Protection Organizations. Our Partners in resource-poor countries:
Operate animal shelters;
Rescue animals from the street and from cruelty situations;
Rehabilitate them and re-home them;
Provide vet care, including spay/neuter, for pets of impoverished families and for street dogs and cats;
Help working and abandoned donkeys and horses; and
Through humane education in schools and communities, as well as by example, change attitudes and behaviors towards all animals.
Our Partners are dedicated, local organizations, changing the world....one animal at a time, one day at a time.
We've chosen our Partners carefully:
They are organizations we know well and have worked directly with;
They have agreed to AKI's requirements for transparency and accountability; and of course,
They are effectively doing the lifesaving work that we all so value.
Donate to AKI if you want to help:
Animals beyond your borders.
Animals in parts of the world where your donation really makes a difference. For example, we can get emergency vet care to a cat or dog for $100 where in the US, the same treatment would cost at least $1000--and often several $1000.
Effective animal rescue and protection organizations, whose only constraint is limited funding: grants, foundations, and a realm of other programs available to animal welfare organizations in wealthier countries are not available to animal welfare organizations in Africa and other resource-poor regions.
The Challenges We Address
Animal welfare, rescue, and protection organizations in poor countries compete for extremely limited resources with so many other causes, raising funds from supporters in their countries—from government, individuals, and businesses—doesn't meet the needs. In most of the countries where we work, the animal welfare cause is just gaining momentum (and we're glad to report, becoming popular among young people), but still is a very low priority (we're trying to change that!) To give animals a voice in poor countries, animal welfare organizations have to look beyond their borders for funding. That's where you and AKI come in.
Together with our Partners and Grantees, we address many other challenges, some familiar to all of us in the animal welfare field, others specific to the local situation. Among them: the practice of eating dogs and cats; the belief that dogs shouldn't become used to people, kept in small wooden boxes without any way to see out, and should be made angry (using hot peppers in their food, banging on their dog houses, keeping them hungry) so when they are let out at night, they are ready to attack an intruder; that dogs and cats don't need water; that cats shouldn't be fed so they will be good at controlling rodents and snakes; that cats are witches; that donkeys don't need vet care, they are tough animals; extreme poverty in most of the countries where we work, so that even people who really care about their animals are unable to afford care; and MORE.
Why We Focus on Africa
It's a region where funding for animals is still so hard to come by, but where so many young people and dedicated, local organizations are stepping up to make changes. They just need a little help from us--financial, admin, technical--and they'll do the rest. Along with Latin America/Caribbean, it's where we have the most knowledge, experience, and colleagues--to ensure we reach the best and most effective organizations.
Did you know that:
10 poorest countries in the world (2023) are in Africa?
11 of the 12 countries with the highest population growth rates (2023) are in Africa?
If you believe, as we do, that kindness to animals has no boundaries, African animal welfare advocates need and deserve our support!
Animal-Kind International's Core Values
Our core values influence all we do:
• We believe that animal welfare has no boundaries.
• We believe that improving the conditions for animals goes hand in hand with improving the conditions for people in our AKI partner countries.
• In all we do, we show respect and understanding for the human community because we understand that working in animal welfare in AKI countries means working with the people who so rely on their animals.
• We believe that our Partners are best positioned to decide on their strategy and activities, and on how to use their funds. We do not dictate; our role is to oversee the use of AKI funds to ensure they are used wisely for animal welfare purposes only.
Our Strategy for Forming Partnerships with Organizations in Resource-Poor Countries
We have high standards for the organizations we form partnerships with. We look for these attributes in our Partners:
Local: We partner with organizations that are rooted in the local culture, either founded by local people or longtime residents, who respect the local culture and work within its norms to improve conditions for animals in their countries.
Community based: We partner with organizations that work at community level, and work mainly from bottom-up because lasting change happens when local people are behind it and advocate for it.
Sustainable: We partner with organizations who use funds efficiently and effectively, have programs that are worthy of broad support from the international community, and whose work has the potential to bring about lasting changes in their countries. Our Partner Organizations have worked in the animal welfare field for several years and our Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grantees have been active in the animal welfare sector for at least 3 years.
Our Strategy for Ensuring our Integrity
Due diligence: We conduct ongoing due diligence of our Partners to ensure that funds, supplies, and other support is used solely to benefit animals. Due diligence includes regular reports and receipts from our Partners and site visits by the Board and our network of supporters, in conjunction with other work that takes us to AKI Partner Organization countries (this is never at a cost to AKI).
Minimize overhead, maximize contributions: We conduct our business with minimum overhead, and to this end, currently we provide 100% of donations to our Partners (donations may only to be used for overhead costs if a donor states so).
Grow slowly and smartly: Although there are many worthy organizations, and as much as we would love to support more organizations, AKI will only add Partners to the AKI network based on our current and foreseeable budget, while not compromising our due diligence and support of existing Partners.
Communicate widely: We will communicate with AKI Partners on a regular basis so we remain aware of and updated on their activities. We will communicate with our donors on a regular basis so that they are aware of how their funds are used, and so that they truly become partners in AKI’s global animal welfare efforts (see the AKI Blog and our monthly e-newsletters. We will communicate with the media, the animal welfare community, and others to spread the word about the great work that our AKI Partners are doing.
Although Karen Menczer started Animal-Kind International in 2007, many of the relationships between AKI and our Partners go back much further. The seeds of AKI were planted when Karen lived in Uganda from 1997-2002 and volunteered with the Uganda Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.
Karen saw firsthand how USPCA’s dedicated volunteers and staff overcame many roadblocks and did so much with so little-they were able to spay, neuter, and rescue hundreds of animals, get the message across to so many people about kinder treatment towards animals, and they never gave up in the face of hardship or because of limited resources-and resources were always limited!
Karen had volunteered in the animal welfare field in the US for over 20 years before she moved to Uganda, so she was well aware of the difficulties faced by animal welfare activists in the States.
She also knew that if we in the US and elsewhere could share our experiences and knowledge with animal welfare advocates in resource poor/low income countries they could avoid some of the pitfalls that have held us back. And she knew that the dearth of supplies and funds in poor countries could be filled, in part, by caring individuals in wealthier countries--where there is so much compared to the countries where AKI works.
After she left Uganda, Karen lived in Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Botswana, Ghana, and Namibia, and in each of these countries, she volunteered with animal welfare organizations (in Cayman Islands, she was the shelter manager, a paid position). Because of her work in biodiversity conservation (working with US Agency for International Development), she also traveled frequently, and made contacts with animal welfare advocates around the world, wherever she went.
When she moved back to the States, Karen realized that because of her firsthand experience with animal welfare groups in poor countries, she had a deep understanding of their work, needs, and challenges, and she was well positioned to get the word out about the great work they do in the face of so much difficulty. She started Animal-Kind International to help get funds and supplies to AKI’s animal welfare Partners so they can continue to do the work that is so important to all of us—improving the treatment of animals around the world.