Bam Animal Clinics-Uganda, helping donkeys in Kween & Bukwo, August-October 2020
In rural areas in Uganda, where most donkeys are found (most of them in eastern Uganda), there are no veterinary clinics. Anyway, many people believe that donkeys are hardy animals (mostly true) and are able to survive without care (definitely false). These are the areas and communities that Bam Animal Clinics targets for their donkey welfare work.
As in most places, donkeys in Uganda’s rural areas are used for fetching water, construction material, firewood, and charcoal and for carrying farm produce to market and from market to home. Unfortunately, donkeys are overworked and not given enough time to rest and feed, rarely given clean water, are overloaded, and harness equipment is frequently of poor quality, causing needless wounds and pain.
In the picture below, you can see how the harness, essentially a rope, could cut into a donkey's hide; also, the rope is looped under the tail, where it creates horrible sores. Sadly, donkeys are too often forced to work even with these painful-yet easily treated and more importantly, preventable- sores.
The picture below shows the difficult terrain that donkeys work in. You can see why donkeys are so important in eastern Uganda: tracks like this are common and not easily passable.
Bam is the only organization actively working in this region. Since January 2020, Bam has been an AKI Partner and with funds from AKI, in Bukwo and Kween, they've held several donkey veterinary clinics and workshops to teach donkey owners how to make humane sisal saddles that protect donkeys from sores.
In August and September, Bam held clinics in Kween and Bukwo two districts -as we've mentioned previously- that were particularly hard hit by double tragedies: the locust invasion and the covid-19 outbreak. The locusts ate the forage that grazing animals rely on-by the time the locusts moved on, they had stripped most of the vegetation, leaving very little for the donkeys. And with the coronavirus lock down, people were unable to do their usual work and couldn't support themselves or help their animals.
The Bam team found that their services are more in demand than ever before. In addition to holding vet clinics and saddle making workshops, Bam brought food to some families who were particularly suffering from the double tragedy.
Clients at a Bam veterinary clinic in September:
A Bam sisal saddle making workshop in September:
Learning to make sisal sack saddles:
The Bam Animal Clinics team in Kween district, after a hard day's work:
In October, the Bam team was back in Kween and Bukwo and found many donkeys with sores that needed attention:
The team moved throughout both districts and visited individual homesteads, where they treated donkeys (de-worming, wound care, vitamins, and advice to donkey owners):
David Balondemu told us that "the support was much appreciated, but sadly, a drop in the ocean as scores of animals and owners still needed support."
And lest you think that Bam only has eyes for donkeys, in September, they held a community vet clinic at the Bam home office in Iganga, where they were overwhelmed by the number of pet owners and their dogs who showed up. Bam has a lot of work ahead of them!:
AKI and we hope you, our donors, will be there to give them our support. Read more about the AKI-Bam partnership here.