They are not just any old water trough, but massive 50-foot-long concrete watering centers for very thirsty working horses and donkeys in Ethiopia.
International charity Brooke USA is only a few thousand dollars away from its target of raising $98,000 to build five permanent water troughs in the drought-prone district of Shala, Ethiopia. So far the campaign has raised enough money for four of the troughs and anticipates funding the fifth by September 15.
The campaign to “Buy a Donkey a Drink” has been the Brooke’s main summer fundraising project, and the troughs will ensure lifetime access to water for 81,000 animals, including 13,500 horses, donkeys, and mules.
Brooke USA is only $14,500 away from raising enough money to construct this project’s final water trough. For less than $9 per equine, individual donors can provide lifetime access to water for these working equines and other livestock, in a busy market area where thousands of animals regularly gather.
The troughs will allow as many as 340 horses, donkeys and mules to quench their thirst with each filling, and will allow other livestock such as cattle and camels to drink as well.
It is estimated that the troughs will reduce the equine mortality rate in the area by 45%.
This project also includes training and facilitating “water committees” among the animal owners in the area who will be responsible for the day-to-day operation and management of the water supply service. These water committees have an important role in ensuring that the equines are properly benefiting from the water troughs. The project will also train the committee members on equine welfare so they can disseminate information and educate other equine owners and users coming to the troughs on equine welfare issues.
In Ethiopia, which is plagued by both drought and extreme poverty, working equines are a lifeline for their owners. They are crucial to carrying out backbreaking household chores, plowing fields, taking goods to market, earning extra money so families can pay school fees for their children and to buy food, clothing and medicine.
The animals haul construction materials, carry food and water to other livestock, transport relief supplies during natural disasters and much, much more, all of which contribute to the health and financial stability of individuals, families and communities. Unfortunately, these equines are suffering from a myriad of problems that are exacerbated by chronic dehydration.