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Donkey feeding in IDP camps in Darfur (Special Supplement 3)


By Siham Osman, Practical Action-Sudan, Sudan

Women collecting and transporting fodder in the donkey feeding programme in South Sudan

According to the UN, the number of war-affected people in greater Darfur was about 2.5 million in July 2004, of whom 85% were IDPs. In North Darfur, the number was 725,730 of whom 431,135 were IDPs living in IDPs camps in the state.

The hardships and suffering due to the conflict affects humans and household animals - particularly donkeys. A livestock assessment carried out by FAO in September 2004 found that 75% of donkeys in the IDP camps died during the pre-rains season from a lack of feed, water and stress.

When asked about their priorities for return, IDPs identified donkeys as second to security, and even before food and water. Donkeys are key asset for IDP livelihoods, in terms of transportation (of humans and non-food items), water hauling, and firewood collection for sales. Donkeys are also movable assets to be turned into cash in times of need.


Practical Action-Sudan has implemented two projects targeting IDP donkeys in the IDP camp of Abu Shouk. The camp is located 3 km north of El Fashir, capital of North Darfur State, and populated with 45,000 IDPs who own about 1,400 donkeys.

The first project was funded by the FAO and aimed to feed IDP donkeys to reduce their death rate. The process of purchasing and distribution started on 11th May 2004 and ended on 16 June 2004.The total number of donkeys fed was 2,597.

The second project was funded by SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad - UK) also aimed at reducing donkey mortality in the IDP camps. This donkey feeding activity was implemented as a part of the Emergency Donkeys Healthcare and Feeding Project over an eight months period (December 2004-July 2005) with a total budget of £74,974. The project was preceded by a deworming project. A beneficiary committee was set up to distribute the grass bundles. Contractors collected hay bundles from neighbouring areas in November and stored these in a rented warehouse near Abu Shouk camp. The distribution process was made through distribution points appointed by the community leaders. A total of 1400 donkeys belonging to IDPs received feeds for eight months. This activity resulted in improved health and higher survival rate for donkeys (as reported from the field).

Lessons learnt

  • Hay collection was started at the right time, as during November pasture was relatively rich and prices were low.
  • The deworming project had a marked impact on animal capacity to utilise the fodder.
  • Active involvement of the community (sheikhs, paravets, beneficiaries) led to unproblematic distribution.
  • Close monitoring and notifying beneficiaries one day before the distribution helped overcome potential for over-registration.
  • Treatment of store walls and floor with salt prevented termites.

Imported from FEX website


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