World Water Day: Donkey Sanctuary Kenya Support Female Empowerment in Rural Areas


To celebrate the World Water Day, The Donkey Sanctuary Kenya is championing the crucial role that working donkeys play in empowering women across rural Kenya.

In regions where accessing clean water remains a persistent challenge, these resilient animals serve as catalysts for transforming entire communities.

Globally, a staggering 200 million hours are lost each day by women and girls who must collect water.

Particularly in rural Kenya, women and girls bear the traditional burden of fetching water, often enduring long, multiple trips daily.

This not only consumes a significant portion of their time but also constrains their opportunities for education, employment, and personal growth.

However, by acknowledging the value of working donkeys and enhancing their welfare, this narrative is beginning to shift.

Donkey Sanctuary Kenya’s Country Director, Solomon Onyango, says that by recognizing and valuing these animals, it paves the way for a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

“Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is a basic need for the health and wellbeing of both humans and donkeys. There are over 3,000 working donkeys in Nuu, many of whom make a daily round trip of up to 9km, carrying 80kg of water on their backs. However, like many of the country’s 1.2 million donkeys, their critical role is often overlooked, and their welfare is not prioritised,” said Onyango.

This World Water Day, The Donkey Sanctuary Kenya has focused its efforts in the rural village of Nuu, Mwingi, where these diligent animals are indispensable in transporting water from distant sources to households.

This vital task alleviates the burden on women, sparing them from carrying heavy loads across long distances.

The strength and resilience of donkeys make them ideal for navigating Nuu’s challenging arid terrains.

“Today we are providing free health checks and veterinary services for Nuu’s working donkeys, and offering advice to owners on how best to care for their donkeys, so these wonderful animals can continue to reduce the physical burden on women, enabling them to collect more water in less time, allowing for increased productivity in other aspects of their lives,” added onyango.

Their contribution not only improves water accessibility but also enhances the overall wellbeing of the community. Furthermore, it fosters harmony among communities, as they unite around the fair and sustainable use of water—a theme that aligns perfectly with this year’s focus on ‘Water for Peace’.

The Donkey Sanctuary Kenya’s initiatives not only highlight the essential role of working donkeys but also underscore the significant impact on female empowerment and community development.

 “We know when working donkeys are poorly fed, overworked or suffer illness and disease, they cannot achieve their productive potential and it is not only the donkey that suffers but the whole community.

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