Introducing Harry Hall’s 2022 Charity Partners
When you join the Harry Hall One Club, take out insurance, go shopping, either online or on the Harry Hall Riding App, we donate to our charity fund. In 2021, with your help, we raised over £13,000 for our charity partners! And in December 2021 we asked you to choose the next three Harry Hall charity partners. After 7,000 votes, the chosen charities for 2022 are:
World Horse Welfare
World Horse Welfare helps improve the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide.
The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust
Helping reduce poverty in Gambia by improving the welfare of it's animals.
Rescue, rehabilitate and re-home horses, ponies and donkeys in need.
In this blog, we meet The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust to find out how they work to improve the lives of working horse, donkeys and animals in The Gambia.
Meet The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT)
The GHDT was founded in 2002 by the late Stella Marsden OBE and her sister Heather Armstrong. They are a small (but mighty) organisation and Heather continues to run The GHDT today. When she’s not in The Gambia, Heather is based at their “global HQ” - situated at the bottom of her garden.
How are horses and donkeys used in The Gambia?
With no tradition of horsemanship in The Gambia and a combination of poor management, high disease risk and poverty, farmers were investing comparatively large amounts of money for a working animal only for it to die, too often within six months. Not only was this causing further hardship for the farmers, but it was also creating a serious animal welfare problem and the veterinary services did not have the infrastructure or finances to be able to help the farmers.
A healthy working animal can increase a farming family's income by up to 500% and buying an animal is a big investment for a family. If the animal becomes sick or dies not only the animal suffers, but its owners suffer too. The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in Africa and is unable to provide all the veterinary support that the farmers require, so when the animals become ill, sometimes the owners are simply unable to find help for it.
Keeping horses and donkeys healthy in The Gambia is a real challenge; insect borne diseases such as Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis), African Horse Sickness, and tick fever are all too common and when these problems are combined with poor nutrition and management caused by lack of knowledge and poverty, the results can be disastrous for the farmers.
Aims of The GHDT
The aim of the GHDT is to reduce rural poverty in The Gambia through improving the health, welfare and productivity of all animals, but working animals in particular.
The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust has now been running for eighteen years and over those years its remit has broadened. It became clear that they could not simply promote equine welfare, they needed to promote good welfare to all animals.
The GHDT rely heavily upon dedicated volunteers who offer their time and services to help, and they employ a team of local Gambian staff. They are a small charity that has had many great achievements, but to continue this work our support is urgently sought.
Their aims are achieved through a variety of projects including:
Annual Show to raise awareness and much-needed funding
Case Study – Residential Equine Workshop creates a legacy
In 2015 we held a residential workshop for students of the University of The Gambia in conjunction with a German animal welfare charity. It was remarkable how at the end of the week, after learning with the animals, how relaxed the students were with them and how much empathy had built up as a result of our evening discussions. These students were so enthusiastic that they went on to form The Animal Welfare Advocates. They are a group in their own right and carry out their own fundraising. Many of those students are now graduated and are stationed throughout the country.