Animal Welfare Advocates
Animal welfare is a major challenge in The Gambia. A lack of political framework and animal owners‘ missing knowledge of husbandry practices frequently lead to animal suffering although that could be avoided. Inspired by the VETS UNITED class at the University of Gambia and the Gambia College, students and alumni founded the Animal Welfare Association (AWAA) in 2015. The association has set itself the objectives to permanently improve animal welfare nationwide through general education in society and political campaigns.
Animal welfare work in the most remote areas of the country
The group travels together with their teacher Dr Kebba Daffeh (Project manager WTS Gambia) to the most remote areas of the country several times a year. Most of the people there make their living from animal farming, but there is also a lack of basic veterinary care. During their visits, the young Animal Welfare Advocates treat the farm animals for free and advise the animal owners on simple preventive measures. Through theatre plays in the local language, animal welfare knowledge is shared in an understandable and enjoyable way. Furthermore, the group produces a weekly nationwide broadcast, where they report about the latest animal welfare topics in the various different languages of Gambia. The activists are also frequently present on national TV.
Spreading of animal welfare in Arts and Politics
Thanks to the students‘ commitment, animal welfare has become a highly discussed topic in The Gambia within a short period of time and the first successes have been achieved on a political level. Due to pressure from AWAA, in 2019 the outdated Animal Health law from 1948 was updated and an Animal Welfare Regulation was added. Celebrities from The Gambia have supported AWAA’s concerns, such as the famous musician Jaliba Kuyateh, who now makes Animal Welfare a subject of his music.
Nationwide Sensitization Tour in September 2019
After only 4 years, the association has already counted over 700 members. Most of them have attended the VETS UNITED course held by Dr. Daffeh. WTS supported Animal Welfare Advocates for the first time during their Nationwide Sensitization Tour in September 2019. The volunteers visited 15 villages in 5 regions to treat animals, to inform and to advocate for more animal welfare awareness.