Registered Charity No
The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust is a UK registered charity working to improve the lives of both animals and people in The Gambia. Founded in 2002 by the late Stella Marsden OBE and her sister Heather Armstrong, who is the charity's Director. 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, 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 animal owners require, so when animals become ill, sometimes their owners are simply unable to find help for them.
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.
In recent years, due to the unfortunate closure of some other animal welfare organisations working in The Gambia, the charity’s remit has expanded to cover all animals in need of help, not only equines. Due to the very limited veterinary services available within the country, we now treat and care for large numbers of dogs and cats who are suffering from serious illness or injury and rehome them when they are back to full health. Serious diseases such as parvovirus, tetanus and rabies are seen regularly and we carry out regular neuter clinics and vaccination programmes to try to reduce the risks of these diseases, amongst others.
We are a small charity who rely heavily on volunteers and our wonderful team of Gambian staff. We need your help to continue our work and we make every single penny count.