A new radio show on donkey care is being broadcast in Ethiopia as one of The Donkey Sanctuary's latest initiatives to improve donkey welfare in the northern regional state of Tigray.
The weekly five-minute slot, broadcast on the popular regional station Dimtsi Woyane Tigray on Sunday evenings has increased the number of donkey owners attending the Sanctuary’s treatment sessions held at government veterinary clinics within a 100km radius of the region’s capital Mek’ele.
The Donkey Sanctuary provides the broadcast material with the help of a presenter from the station. It will continue running for most of this year, giving listeners advice and information on the commonest donkey health and welfare problems, including:
- illnesses affecting donkeys and how to prevent and treat them
- common problems such as colic, parasites and hyena bite wounds
- dental care
- hoof care
- grooming, harnessing and proper loading
- road traffic accidents and how to avoid them
- the dangers of poisoning
- the special needs of older donkeys
The Sanctuary’s education officer Negus Abrha says: “Since we launched the radio show in December, we have seen newcomers to the treatment centres because they had heard about our service on the radio. Some owners have told us how good it is and how it helps them improve their management of donkeys.”
The Donkey Sanctuary has publicised the show widely through organisations including all 35 district agricultural and rural development offices in Tigray who can help spread the word among animal health workers, development agents, and people involved in farmers’ associations.
School communities have also been informed and encouraged to tune in, and The Donkey Sanctuary team have been making a point of mentioning the programme during their other community visits.
The Donkey Sanctuary is now looking into the potential for using radio to promote donkey welfare in the regions of Amhara, Oromia and SNNPRS, where it has a further five mobile teams and two treatment centres, to provide care to sick or injured donkeys and training for donkey owners.
There are over 3.4 million donkeys and mules in Ethiopia. 80% of Ethiopians work in agriculture, living at subsistence level, and the donkey is often their only means of transportation of water, wood and fuel and goods to and from market.