The Donkey Sanctuary has come to the aid of a group of donkey users who deliver milk to a processing plant in Kipkelion, in the Rift Valley province. They carry the milk from up to 20km away in plastic containers, using harness made of nylon sacks which causes wounds.
The dairy has been coming under pressure to improve hygiene and wants the carriers to use metal milk churns instead of the plastic containers, to avoid contamination. The company, which is supported by a development project to help the dairy farmers, has offered to put a small proportion of their payment per litre towards proper pack saddles designed to hold the milk churns, and the carriers asked The Donkey Sanctuary/Kenya Society for the Protection & Care of Animals (KSPCA) to help them develop these.
After a meeting with the donkey users, Chris Garrett (the Sanctuary's Harness Development Consultant) came up with two possible designs for wooden pack saddles, which a local artisan would be able to copy. Both types have found favour with the donkey drivers and are being tried out to see if either one performs better over a period of time. Local carpenters will then be shown how to make whichever model is chosen.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s support for the milk carriers reflects our strategic aim of working with other development organisations for the good of donkey welfare. The Kipkelion dairy is supported by the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) Project run by Heifer International. The EADD helps dairy farmers increase their incomes and increasing their production, and linking them to potential markets.