Animal-Kind International Grant Program for Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organizations 2020
We'll announce the opening of AKI's 2021 (our 4th!) Annual Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant Program here, on our Facebook page, and in our monthly e-newsletter. We anticipate that we'll begin accepting proposals around June 1, as we have in previous years. The grant application, guidelines, and answers to FAQs will be posted here.
Our Grant Program reaches worthy Africa-based organizations, beyond our 11 Partner Organizations and supports them to implement high impact projects aimed at improving the lives of domestic animals. Our 2019 grant recipients can be found here and our 2018 grant recipients here.
Out of 50 proposals that we received for the 2020 grant program, we selected 9 Grant Recipients to receive funding under AKI's 3rd annual Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant Program! The organizations we selected and the projects we're funding are described below along with their grant project Progress Reports.
Thank you to our extra-special donors! We had budgeted for 4 grants, we hoped to be able to fund 6. One donor offered a $2000 donation if we could raise funds to match it. You came through and more than matched the donation. Result-we're supporting 9 grantees: in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (2 grantees), Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. They include 3 projects that will help donkeys and 6 that focus on cat and dog welfare.
Thank you to our outstanding external evaluation committee! They recommended proposals to the AKI Board, who then reviewed the proposals, the committee's recommendations, and subject area expert input. It was a highly competitive process and showed us how much Africa-based animal welfare organizations need our support!
Note: All applicants were required to include information about how their proposals will be covid-19 compliant. We were looking for innovative projects that inspire and we think we found them......
Progress Reports from our 2020 Grantees
AKI's Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grantees-2020
Animal Welfare Society of Cameroon
With the grant from AKI, Animal Welfare Society (AWES) of Cameroon will continue their work with cotton-producing farmers in Garoua in the north region of Cameroon, who use donkeys to plow their fields. The donkeys are worked hard during the farming season in Cameroon, and their welfare is often neglected. AWES has found many cases where farmers continue to work donkeys who have wounds and are suffering from lameness. Other problems that AWES will address are poor harnessing, inadequate feeding, and high worm burden. AWES will work from August through February 2021, on an ongoing basis, with about 100 farmers and other partners to improve the condition and care of approximately 200 donkeys.
AWES's proposal was particularly attractive because of the partnerships they've developed, which we felt help guarantee sustainability of their efforts. AWES works with the SODECOTON (association of cotton producing farmers) Livestock Services, with the National Livestock Department playing a supervisory role. Dr. Achiri Fru Martin, Founder & Director of AWES, told us that "SODECOTON is not aware of the notion of animal welfare. AWES brings animal welfare to the attention of the SODECOTON staff and the farming community as part of the veterinary care we provide. For example, the working donkeys need shelter and proper feeding and should not be allowed to roam around exposing them to highway accidents. SODECOTON does not consider this. It is an ongoing effort to change mindsets, but we can see that SODECOTON and the farmers are now appreciating our inputs."
Sauvons nos Animaux-Democratic Republic of Congo
The AKI grant to SnA will support the construction of two "sheds" at the Sauvons nos Animaux refuge in Bukavu in eastern DRC. One shed will provide shelter for 25 dogs to use when they are not freely moving around the SnA refuge and the other, which will have 2 sections, will be for quarantine for new arrivals and for sick animals.
Akonkwa Bushunju Paterne started SnA in 2014 to "welcome a large number of dogs and cats which, every year, are abandoned, mistreated or taken from their owners." A benefactor (who died in 2019) had helped Paterne raise funds to build shelter infrastructure and then, when threatened with eviction, to purchase land -SnA now owns the 3000 m² plot of land where the SnA refuge stands (see 2 pictures below). We wondered how it happens that dogs and cats are "taken from their owners," and Paterne told us that, "Every year, we carry out several dozen investigations in the town of Bukavu and in villages on reports of negligence or mistreatment, resulting in advice, support, or withdrawal of animals."
Although there is no official veterinary clinic in Bukavu, as of this moment, all SnA dogs and cats have been spayed or neutered thanks to SnA's partnership with Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center and their veterinarian, who kindly attends to the SnA dogs and cats.
We spoke to a few people we know in Bukavu and they spoke so highly of SnA's work that we knew this was a winning proposal. One example: "I am happy to fully support Paterne in his application. They are doing amazing and so needed work. Lots of dogs suffer here and it is great that a Congolese took this initiative. I am very proud of him."
Save Animals-Democratic Republic of Congo
In Kinshasa, on the other side of the Democratic Republic of Congo, SA-DRC works to raise awareness of the value of all animals. Their mission is to "give pets a place of heart in our families and discourage irresponsible adoptions and reproductions."
The AKI grant will fund 5 one-hour episodes of SA's TV show, "Save Animals Universe." The show will be broadcast on Sundays at 20:15 with a repeat broadcast on Mondays at 14:15. Each episode promotes animal welfare in the DRC and denounces bad practices against animals, such as dog fighting. Importantly, the TV show helps SA "attract the attention of local people, including the authorities, and influence improvements in the living conditions of animals." We thought this is a perfect project for covid-19 times.
SA-DRC is a three time AKI grant recipient. The TV show was one of SA's activities we funded last year. SA found that the show was very effective; among the reasons: "We set a phone number for people to ask questions, send videos, contact us if they want to be a guest….and yes they call for all of this, many, many calls." Ekwa Ntende Dieumerci, Projects & Administration Manager, added: "If not I tell you honestly that we would stop broadcasting the show. In our logic, we always stop unproductive projects once we see that they are not effective. We focus on projects that help our community to grow more and more."
One friend we spoke to who lived in Kinshasa for the last two years and volunteered with SA-DRC told us how Save Animals consistently went above and beyond to help her when she rescued animals. She's a big fan of their TV show, as is so many others in Kinshasa: "People in Kinshasa are hungry for local programming. Save Animals Universe fills an enormous gap."
Animal Protection Foundation-Egypt
APF is dedicated to improving the lives of animals in their community (Cairo/Giza) and throughout the whole country by:
Promoting the humane treatment of all animals in general and responsible pet guardianship.
Working towards ending dog overpopulation through awareness, education, and CNVR (Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release).
Working to keep homeless dogs safe, cared for, re-homed or sheltered at their dog shelter, where they currently have 1100 rescued dogs (see pictures below).
Recently, in Cairo, hundreds of dogs have been dumped on the streets, thrown out of their homes, under the false belief that dogs transmit the covid-19 virus to humans. To tackle the root causes of the problem, APF is increasing their CNVR efforts in parallel with awareness raising. Currently, they are working on CNVR in a part of Cairo that has one of the highest numbers of free-roaming dogs. However, the lack of enough rooms at the APF shelter for surgeries and post-surgery care limits their efforts and dramatically slows the CNVR process down.
With this grant from AKI, APF will build two rooms to accommodate the dogs post-surgery, where they can stay and be cared for and medicated until they are fully ready to be released.
Hanan (APF co-founder) told us about the challenges of covid-19. With air travel grounded, APF's main adoption lifeline was cut off (APF adopted 570 dogs in the past 6 years to homes in the US, Canada, and Europe). "In Egypt there are very few good homes, most of which are already occupied with more than one dog. However, from March until June 2020, we managed to find 21 homes for our dogs in Egypt. In my opinion this happened for 2 reasons: First, people have time to visit the shelter and can spend more time with the adopted dog; and second, we spent an extraordinary amount of time looking for good homes: we read 350 adoption applications, interviewed 150 applicants, and performed 30 home visits of which only 21 were approved."
Nairobi Feline Sanctuary-Kenya
Founded by Rachel Mugure Kabue in 2013, the Nairobi Feline Sanctuary is part of the Vegan Society of Kenya whose vision is a holistic society that normalizes proper treatment of animals, a healthy lifestyle, and conservation of the environment. Their goals include: To demystify felines, which are largely seen as bad omens and in so doing create a safe environment for them, especially the feral feline community; and to reduce stray and uncared for cat populations through spay/neuter and rescue.
With this grant from AKI, the Nairobi Feline Sanctuary will build a structure that will serve as:
A quarantine space for cats entering the sanctuary.
A safe and quiet place that will hold about 20 cats recovering from s/n and other vet care.
A space where ferals can be de-wormed, de-parasitized, and acclimated before joining the other resident cats at the Sanctuary.
Rachel works with 2 vets who spay/neuter Sanctuary cats for free (the Sanctuary covers their transport). One vet has his own clinic a few kilometers from the Sanctuary; the other vet has a mobile service.
Given the bad rap that cats get, we felt this project was so important and could inspire a much needed surge in kindness to cats. Also, we were impressed with Nairobi Feline Sanctuary's partnerships and efforts to become more sustainable: In addition to the vet partners, Rachel is in talks with the county government for funding and/or allocation of a parcel of land for a larger feline sanctuary (the structure to be funded by this grant will be moved when the time comes to transfer to a larger plot). Rachel said, "The county has already seen the difference our intervention is making, especially on spay/neuter. To help cover Sanctuary costs, Rachel is setting up an online gift shop with handcrafted unique items. And since June 2020, they have partnered with a local pet supply shop in Nairobi, PETZONE.
One Health Development Initiative-Nigeria
We asked for innovation and we got innovation from One Health Development Initiative (OHDI). The AKI grant to OHDI will:
Establish on-site and virtual training on humane education, pet care, and animal welfare among community pet owners (specifically dogs and cats), enthusiasts, and service providers in Nigeria; and
Launch a hotline platform for pet care and referrals to veterinary and welfare services in Nigeria.
This project has the potential to reach so many people and improve the way they interact with animals. Plus, it's perfect for our covid-19 world. OHDI will host 4 virtual training webinars; build a directory of certified and verified animal health and welfare services, shelters, shops, trainers, and veterinary hospitals across Nigeria; and establish and promote a hotline/whatsapp platform manned by certified veterinarians, that people can call in or send messages to and get quality information and advice on animal care, health and welfare issues, and be referred to verified animal welfare and veterinary services in their vicinity. The establishment of the directory and the hotline service as go-to resource platforms for animal health service in Nigeria will help eliminate quacks who so often contribute to poor animal health and abuse in Nigeria.
OHDI is a nonprofit organization that works to promote news, education, advocacy, research and solutions to interrelated issues of human, animal, and ecosystem health through an integrated One Health approach. As an organization primarily led and championed by a group of veterinarians, one of their core areas of work is the promotion of animal welfare and quality veterinary care and services in Nigeria. This grant not only has the potential to benefit 1000s of animals, it will help strengthen OHDI, ensuring their influence grows and their reach expands...resulting in a Nigeria that is kinder to animals.
Giving is Living- South Africa
Giving is Living is a 2-time AKI grant recipient (2019 and 2020). We'll once again support G is L to build fences at homes in townships/rural settlements around Cape Town so that dogs can be released from their lives on chains and be free to run in safe, secure yards.
The reasons that dogs are kept on chains vary. Many of the homes in townships don't have fences, so owners use chains to keep their dogs from running away. But also, many of the troubled teens find pleasure in abusing dogs, so owners keep their dogs on short chains, close to their property as a way to protect their dogs. The law states that it is only illegal if the dog is on a chain less than 1 meter long.
G is L will work with local animal welfare organizations to identify dogs in need of unchaining, and with the owner's consent, will put up a fence around the yard or the perimeter of the house. AKI's 2019 grant to Giving is Living was hugely successful, with 17 dogs gaining the freedom to run (2 were placed on running lines because it was impossible to build a fence). G is L has found that "the owners are happy with the arrangement as it offers them additional security whilst also allowing the dogs to roam freely."
This is a win-win for all: G is L provides the fencing material and labor (thanks to the AKI grant); this gives the local animal welfare organizations an opportunity to work with owners to de-worm, provide tick and flea treatment, and convince them to spay and neuter (a prerequisite of getting support from Giving is Living). Sioni (founder & director) said, "We work together as a combined unit to educate the owners how to look after their dogs. We have found that many of the owners truly do love their dogs but they just don’t have the knowledge or resources to care for them properly." The animal welfare organizations in charge of that specific township will check on the dogs regularly to ensure the fence is still intact and to ensure the dogs are being looked after.
Zambezi Working Donkey Project-Zambia
ZWDP is an equine welfare organization based in Livingstone, Southern Province, Zambia. The charity’s overall aims are to improve the lives of working donkeys, and support their owners in a sustainable way, by:
▪ Educating and empowering rural farming communities on how to train and care for their donkeys,
▪ Providing training to make appropriate harnesses and helping to modify scotch carts, and
▪ Rescuing and rehabilitating donkeys in need of short or long-term care.
The grant from AKI will support one of ZWDP's major goals for the next 6 months: to train a network of volunteer Community Livestock Officers (CLOs) in key villages. As a small organization with only one-full time paid member of staff, ZWDP struggles to reach as far as they would like, both logistically and in terms of impact. The AKI grant will expand ZWDP's reach.
The role of a CLO will be to:
▪ Educate owners and those who use donkeys for farming and transport to better care for them, and train them how to use a donkey under draught power, including making and maintaining correct harnesses;
▪ Provide basic wound care and liaise with veterinarians for treatment of sick or injured animals;
▪ Monitor and report back on donkeys to help identify issues in the field so ZWDP can be more mobile and respond quicker;
▪ Empower farmers with information, technical support, and the tools for income diversification and generation;
▪ Act as ZWDP's ‘eyes and ears’ in the field, alerting them to information regarding the donkey skin trade and other illegal practices as soon as possible.
With grant funding, ZWDP will:
▪ Identify 24 CLOs to be identified from key villages.
▪ In groups of 6, each CLO will attend 3 training sessions.
▪ Once they are deployed into the villages, ZWDP will check in on each CLO every month and will establish a basic reporting system.
According to Tikobane Trust, improper harnessing is contributing to the abuse and suffering of working donkeys in Zimbabwe. To do any kind of work, from plowing fields to pulling carts, donkeys are attached to their load using chains and harnesses. In an effort to attach more donkeys to a cart so as to do more work, wires and ropes are usually used. Instead of helping working donkeys to do their work, these makeshift harnesses injure donkeys.
With the grant from AKI, Tikobane Trust will make 100 humane harnesses and repair 150 harnesses that are in poor condition (see pictures below). The project will target working donkeys around Hwange National Park, an area where donkeys are over-used and abused, in particular, the donkeys who carry firewood. Tikobane will also educate donkey owners about the benefits of proper harnessing and train 100 donkey owners in 7 villages how to make and repair humane harnesses - a huge step toward sustainability and ensuring that these humane harnesses become more common and the inhumane ones disappear from use.
Tikobane's office is in one of the 7 villages that they are targeting. The furthest of the 6 other villages is 17 km -Tikobane staff walk or ride bicycles to reach them. This ongoing presence in the villages where Tikobane works means they can quickly respond to problems and that their advice will be accepted as trusted members of the community.
Ndlelende Ncube founded Tikobane Trust in 2016, and although small and young, they have a very positive reputation in Zimbabwe and we believe they have a bright future as a voice for donkeys in Zimbabwe.