Thousands of working donkeys in drought stricken Kenya are being provided water by global working horse and donkey charity Brooke, with an emergency appeal aiming to raise £23,600.
Below average rainfall has caused a drought in Kenya, and on February 10 the Government declared the current drought a national disaster. It is affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas and is expected to last until July 2017.
Following a drought in 2014, rains were also poor in 2015 and 2016, making recovery even more difficult.
A predictive livestock early warning system developed by the United Nations and Texas A&M University revealed that April and May would be difficult months. The system shows how much forage is expected to be available in Kenya up to May, using computer modeling of water flows and vegetation growth.
Government aid has started, but working donkeys are currently being left out of current emergency response action, so Brooke’s team in Nairobi have stepped in. Alongside their day to day work, they will be providing water to 13,100 donkeys, and feed to 800.
It is estimated that one donkey can support a family of six, so the work is also set to benefit 80,000 people.
Dil Peeling, Head of Animal Welfare and Sustainability at Brooke said: “Crippling seasonal drought is becoming more frequent in Africa. We saw it where we work in Senegal in 2015, and now in Kenya.
“Working donkeys are vital to people’s livelihoods here – they carry water and food for families, fuel and building materials. They help people earn the money they use to put food on the table and children in school.
“Time is running out – we need to act now.”
A delayed start and below average rainfall is predicted for Kenya’s long rain season, from March to May. Last year’s long rains were also below average, leaving 1.3 million people needing food aid.
Brooke launched its appeal only last week, and already more than £15,000 has been raised through JustGiving.
Brooke said that funds needed to deliver its Kenyan Emergency work total £23,600. Any donations received after April 30, or over the target amount, will be used to support its work helping horses, donkeys and mules in Kenya.