AKI Grantee: NYEMOVEC-Zambia
Our 2021 Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grantee, Nyendwa Mobile Veterinary Clinic, successfully implemented their project, "Tackling the Terrible Suffering of Dogs and Cats Ward by Ward during the COVID-19 Crisis." Here's what they did during their 5-month project:
For this grant project, NYENDWA worked in Mututu village, Muswishi village, Chisaka and Chola villages, Elioti village, Chisamba, and Lwiimbo villages, Kabangwe and Kapuntula villages. These are very poor areas in Zambia, where there is no practicing vet or even community animal health care workers-except for the Nyendwa mobile clinic. During most of the grant period, the weather alternated between extremes of drought and flooding, making already difficult lives more challenging-for people and animals.
January was the wettest month with tropical cyclone Ana affecting the area at the end of the month and the extremely wet weather sticking around into mid-February, with another tropical cyclone moving in from Zimbabwe. The NYENDWA team witnessed animals swept away by the floods, animals that had fallen into rain-filled ditches, they heard of many pets missing from their homes. Many pet owners were living in flooded houses and huts. And to make matters worse, food for people and animals was in short supply during the wet months.
Still, NYENDWA persisted and in January, carried out activities door-to-door, wherever they could reach. Because of the flooding the team could only get to 6 villages. In Mututu village, over a 2-day period, they treated 3 dogs who had bad cases of diarrhea. Next, in Muswishi village, the team rescued 4 puppies whose mother had died of starvation. They found 2 dogs and a puppy who had fallen into flooded ditches. The team rescued them and stabilized them over a 3-day period before sending them back home.
Because of the heavy rains and flooding, in January, the team treated only 23 animals. Along with treating the pets, they educated pet owners and kids about how to look after their animals during droughts and floods.
In December, the weather was extremely hot with highs of 41 degrees Celsius for 2 weeks! People were panicking because there was no rain (little did they know that in January they'd be wishing for dry weather). Animals and people had to walk long distances to get to water.
Not only that, in December wave 4 of the Covid-19 pandemic struck. People were scared and the team had to go door-to-door rather meet communities in groups. Also in December, Zambia's new government increased the fuel price and electricity price, and related to that, prices for just about everything rose by 25%. This was a big challenge for NYEMOVEC when it came to purchasing veterinary drugs and paying for fuel.
Even under these conditions, every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the NYENDWA team visited different football pitches to carry out education and awareness campaigns to over 100 children who would come to watch village football matches (covid couldn't keep them away). The NYENDWA team (Annie, Harrison, Edina, Samson, and Christopher) talked to the kids for an hour before the games start. This is the way to get a captive audience!
Working under these harsh drought conditions, the NYENDWA team treated 256 animals in December. Most were treated for fleas and ticks and de-wormed. Some sick pets were attended to, and one with an abscess. The team reached about 420 kids with information about how to care for their pets.
The team was heartened by the way the people were sharing with their pets during these drought and hot conditions. These women were sharing food with their cat, and the dog in the picture below shared a home (inside the house)-and chair, something unheard of before NYEMOVEC started working here.
In November, the NYEMOVEC team, led by Christopher Bwanga (Project Monitoring and Evaluation Officer) with 4 other field officers: Annie Njovu-Project Coordinator, Edina Mwale-Administrative Officer, and Chimano and Gabriel, both volunteer staff. The team visited a number of villages treating animals and carrying out education activities.
In November, 614 dogs and cats were de-wormed and treated for fleas, ticks, and biting flies. The team also treated several sick animals. They found 7 emaciated dogs and gave them multivitamins and nutritious dog food. Three dogs were treated for wounds due to fighting. They rescued 2 orphan kittens and 3 orphan puppies; they were told the mothers of these animals were weak with hunger and probably went off and died.
The team also visited schools during November. They held 2 sessions with students from grades 5 and 6. 125 students were taught about the Five Freedoms and “to care and treat animals the way they treat themselves.”
Edina and Agnes attended village meetings to raise awareness among community members about caring for cats and dogs. 1069 community members were reached through village meetings!
In October, the NYEMOVEC team vaccinated 169 dogs and 23 cats against rabies. They treated a number of dogs with diarrhea. Over 500 dogs and cats in 8 villages were treated for internal and external parasites. Three dogs were treated for wounds due to fighting.
As always, they held awareness raising sessions. Over 50 young people aged 10-16 attended, gaining an understanding of animal welfare and animal health issues.
In September, NYEMOVEC held an education program at Mututu village and then in Elioti village. The topics were about the importance of vaccinating dogs and cats against rabies and de-worming them. The following day, 47 dogs and 2 cats were de-wormed, vaccinated against rabies, and issued with a vaccination certificate with a government date stamp-making it all official!
About 2 weeks later, the team vaccinated 49 dogs and 4 cats against rabies and de-wormed them. All pet owners received their official government certificate.
In September, 96 dogs and 6 cats were vaccinated against rabies and de-wormed. 181 people were educated on animal welfare, health and management at community village meetings.
This project deserves a huge round of applause, a standing ovation. Imagine working under the conditions NYEMOVEC works in, made extra difficult due to droughts and heavy rains, and not giving up, going out to the field for 5 months, helping animals, talking to people at every chance they get-raising awareness of good animal care. The team looked back and were grateful for all the animals they could help thanks to the AKI grant. One of the most positive factors they noted was that animal owners are gaining skills, knowledge, and experience and can now better care for their animals.