Zambezi Working Donkey Project (Zambia) Launches their AKI Grant
With eight trainees, the Zambezi Working Donkey Project launched their AKI grant project to train Community Liaison Officers (CLOs). The idea is to train a number of CLOs within each Senior Headman zone, who will support ZWDP's work and help to enforce ZWDP’s guidelines for the proper care and use of working donkeys and other animals. This first round of trainees was selected from villages in the Muchinga/Mutonga area of Zambia. Over the 6-month AKI-funded grant project, ZWDP is planning to train a total of 24 CLOs.
ZWDP sees CLOs as the best way to reach the owners and users of donkeys. As representatives of ZWDP, and as residents of the local communities, the CLOs will educate people and follow up on ZWDP's behalf. By reporting issues back to ZWDP, the CLOs will be ZWDP's eyes and ears on the ground.
ZWDP's training program incorporates theoretical and practical work. The CLOs were trained in the basic needs of donkeys and how to care for them (pictures below).
They were taught the difference between ox-yokes and correct harnessing and they learned to make harnesses at ZWDP's workshop in Livingstone (pictures below).
Then the CLOs received hands-on experience by joining ZWDP on their mobile clinic outreach program to their village areas, where they helped organize and then shadowed ZWDP staff. The CLOs were introduced to the community as ZWDP representatives and they were very well received.
This was the 1st CLO training that ZWDP ever held. The pilot program reinforced ZWDP's belief that besides being held in high regard by the community, CLOs must also have a natural interest and empathy for animals and animal welfare. It's exciting to know that the majority of trainees who attended the pilot were really engaged and have since been proactive in the diligence to their volunteer duties.
Although covid-19 and the restrictive measures put in place by authorities are affecting group activities everywhere in Zambia at the moment, ZWDP plans to continue CLO training. They intend to ensure their approach to organizing the training and subsequent village visits complies with all covid-19 safeguards.