the Notices, Fundraisers and Appeals etc are currently ongoing, unless specified otherwise
Do you have a GHDT
event or fundraiser that you would like listed on this page, and in the newsletter? If so,
please contact Web Producer, Liz Serinken, with all the details!
WINTER 2023 BI-ANNUAL NEWS REPORT
The Winter 2023 Bi-Annual News Report is now
available to read and/or download.
To access the Report please click HERE.
SAVE A LIFE ON WORLD RABIES DAY
September 28th is World Rabies Day - can you
help us to raise £5000 to save lives?
Rabies is a deadly yet preventable disease.
Every day this dreadful disease claims the lives of both humans and animals in vulnerable
communities around the world. Our team are faced with cases of rabies quite regularly -
each and every one is both terrifying and heart breaking to see. The dogs who contract it
suffer terribly as a result and having rabies cases nearby puts everyone in the area,
animal and human, at risk.
The pain and suffering endured by those
affected by rabies is immeasurable and it is within our power to make a meaningful
We are seeking your support to help us to
provide life-saving rabies vaccinations to dogs across The Gambia. Together we can
transform fear into hope, despair into resilience and suffering into healing.
If you would like to make a donation to
support our World Rabies Day campaign, you can do so through our dedicated JustGiving
campaign page *HERE:
Thank you for your kind support
RECENT LIGHTNING STRIKE
It can sometimes be difficult to understand
the challenges we are faced with on an almost daily basis, especially if you have never
visited The Gambia or anywhere similar. It is currently the middle of the rainy season in
The Gambia - this means we have a lot of much needed rain, but it also brings storms too.
Whilst we do desperately need the rain to help the grass and crops to grow, it also brings
us extra challenges in trying to cope with the huge numbers of biting insects, increased
numbers of staff contracting malaria and animals contracting insect-borne diseases and
roads becoming impassable.
Last week we had an additional challenge - our
house at Makasutu was struck by lightning. As well as being very frightening for the
people and animals living on site, this caused considerable damage to our electricity
system which we rely so heavily on. Aside from anything else, it is also yet another huge
expense for us to get everything back up and running again. The power of the lightning
strike was so great that it blew the plug sockets out of the walls of the house! We are
just so thankful that no animals or humans were harmed, it could have been so much worse.
We are extremely grateful to SweGam, who
provided our solar system, for their help in regaining some power and the kind offers of
both financial and physical help that we have been offered in the wake of this. We try not
to be constantly asking our supporters for money because we know that times are hard for
everyone at the moment. With this additional unexpected expense at an already challenging
time of year, we wondered if any of our supporters might be willing to hold a small
fundraising stall or event for us? We would be so grateful for any additional fundraising
efforts that people can offer to us this summer.
We believe that many hands make light work and
for this reason, we are so utterly grateful to anyone who is able to do any local
fundraising in aid of us. Perhaps you could spare a day to hold a charity car wash to
raise much needed funds for us? Or have a plant sale, a bake sale or a local raffle? Or
maybe you would consider doing a sponsored event for us if that's more your thing?
Please let us know if you have any fundraising
events planned so that we can help you to advertise or provide you with leaflets about our
work. No matter how big or small your fundraising help is, every penny really does help.
Thank you! We truly appreciate every little
effort made to help with our fundraising.
Hickstead is over for us for another year and
once again it was wonderful to meet so many of our supporters, put faces to names and meet
some wonderful people, dogs and horses. We are so incredibly grateful to the Bunn family
and their staff for their ongoing, kind support enabling us to have our charity stand at
such prestigious equine events. Hickstead is a big event for us each year and one that we
really love attending. Thank you so much to everyone who visited our stand and came to
chat with us - we really love being able to be connected directly with so many wonderful
supporters. We can't wait to see you all again next year!
KEREWAN - A DOG IN DESPERATE NEED OF
On July 23rd we were alerted to a dog in
desperate need of our help - most of the skin on her face was missing, across her nose you
could see bone and when we were initially sent photos we were unsure as to whether her
eyes were so damaged that they were no longer even there. The pain and suffering she must
have been going through was unimaginable. The difficulty for our team was that she was
more than four hours journey from our centre, with the owners having no way of
transporting her to us. It was decided that one of our team would travel to her to assess
- we were unsure whether euthanasia may be the only option but we wanted to check. She was
bright and alert and it was felt that it may be possible to treat her, so she was brought
back to our centre for treatment. We are still unsure as to the cause of her horrific
wounds - it is possibly a bacterial or fungal infection but we do not know for sure. There
was a possibility that it could be a form of cancer, but this is no longer believed to be
Since being in our care for a week, she is
making incredible progress and the healing we are seeing on a daily basis is amazing. It
is a very tricky place to keep dressings on because of it being all across her face, but
our team are never put off by a challenge and have done a great job so far. Kerewan is a
very elderly dog - 13 years is a brilliant age for a Gambian dog and she has a kind,
loving family. Whilst it is easy to judge and ask how she got into this state, we must
remember that she was in a very remote part of the country with no access to veterinary
care. It is just fortunate that her owners found out about us and were able to make
contact with us - they went to great lengths to try to find care for their much-loved dog.
When most of us can contact a vet with a quick phone call or trip in the car, it can
sometimes be difficult to even imagine being in a situation where something happens to
your beloved pet but you are completely helpless to do anything about it.
Thankfully her eyes are not as damaged as we
first thought and the wound is healing really well so far. We are not out of the woods yet
and she still has a good healing process ahead of her but we are quietly confident that we
may be able to help this old girl to live out her days, safely back with her family, in
comfort. Please help us in sending her healing thoughts so that she can be added to our
list of GHDT miracle cases. A big thank you to all of our staff who work so hard to save
the lives of animals in need.
PRESS RELEASE - FOOD CRISIS CAUSING
THE LOSS OF EQUINE LIVES
The combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,
climate shocks and conflicts such as the war in Ukraine are causing huge food shortages
across West Africa which is having a devastating effect on both people and animals. The
Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) are a UK registered charity who have been working to
improve equine welfare in The Gambia for the past 20 years and they are seeing first-hand
the horrific impacts of the food shortages.
Heather Armstrong, Director of the charity
said "It is becoming increasingly difficult to source enough food for the animals in
our care. We are seeing an increase in the number of completely emaciated animals being
brought to us for care, simply because their owners have been unable to source enough food
for their animals. Often they are too far gone for us to be able to save which is
heart-breaking for all involved." She went on to say "In the past couple of
years, animal feed prices have increased three-fold or more in some cases. This is
extremely difficult for us as a charity as it means our costs have risen dramatically, but
it is even worse for Gambian equine owners who simply don't have enough money to pay for
these continually increasing costs."
Many Gambian families rely on their working
equines for their own livelihood, using them for farming or transport purposes. If their
animal becomes malnourished and unable to work, then the family lose their ability to earn
an income and a vicious cycle of poverty is created. The GHDT is now having to look
further and further afield to source enough food to support the equines in their care,
which currently include 62 donkeys and 12 horses, not to mention the 3 camels, 2 cows, 14
goats and 7 sheep who also require access to forage. In addition to the equines, the GHDT
also care for more than 85 dogs and 40 cats in desperate need of help.
"It may become necessary for us to source
additional feeds, such as sugar beet, from outside of The Gambia to enable us to keep the
animals in our care alive and enable them to continue their healing journeys. We are fully
aware that this is not sustainable and it is also extremely costly, which puts a huge
amount of strain on a small charity like ourselves, but we have to take whatever steps we
can to ensure the health and welfare of the animals we are responsible for" said
When forage is so limited, the charity also
see an increase in the number of sand colic cases due to the sandy ground conditions and
the equines searching for tiny scraps of forage on the floor. This brings additional
welfare concerns as well as increased costs for treatments and nursing care at the
The GHDT are appealing to anyone who may be
able to help during this crisis for donations towards their feed costs, to enable them to
continue saving the lives of equines desperately in need. If you are able to help, you can
donate directly to the GHDT via our bank account:
Our bank details are:
Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust
Online donations can be given via Justgiving HERE
or can be sent by post to Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust, Brewery Arms Cottage, Stane
Street, Ockley, Surrey. RH5 5TH
To view press release please click HERE.
GHDT WEEKLY LOTTERY
Your Chance to Win £25,000 whilst also helping us to
improve the lives of animals!
For just £1 per week you could be in with a chance of
winning £25,000, whilst also helping us to raise essential funds to continue our work.
You will be allocated a unique six-digit lottery number, which remains yours for as long
as you would like to continue playing. You can purchase multiple tickets if you would like
Winners have to match 3, 4 , 5 or all 6 of the winning
numbers in the correct place in the sequence. Every Friday, the lucky winners are
automatically sent their prizes. You must be over 16 years old to play.
Anyone who has a UK bank account can play the lottery
To visit our lottery page, please click HERE.
Or to go immediately to our online sign-up form, please
follow this link HERE.
If you prefer to complete the form by hand and return it by
post, please download the PDF sign-up form HERE.
The promoter of this Unity Lottery is Gambia Horse and
Donkey Trust, Brewery Arms Cottage, Stane Street, Ockley, Surrey, RH5 5TH
Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust is licensed and regulated in
Great Britain by Mole Valley District Council under account number 059813.
A minimum of 50% of the total lottery proceeds go to
supporting the work carried out by Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust, 18.4% on prizes and
31.6% on expenses and administration of the lottery.
THE DOG PROJECT
In February 2023, Alison Scott, a Certified
Clinical Animal Behaviour Consultant and her colleague Jenny Baxter (Clinical Animal
Behaviourist) joined us at our Makasutu Centre to carry out the initial phase of our big
dream - The Dog Project. In recent years, due to the sad closure of some other small
animal organisations within The Gambia we have extended our remit to help to ensure the
welfare of ALL animals in The Gambia, not only horses and donkeys. There is a real need
for veterinary support for local animal owners who are unable to afford to pay typical
veterinary prices and therefore their animals were left with nowhere to go. As a result of
this we now do a considerable amount of work with both dogs and cats. We have even ended
up treated various types of wildlife in need too, from turtles to civet cats and monkeys!
We have had a dream for a long time to set up
The Dog Project - a project to improve knowledge of dog behaviour and welfare within The
Gambia, to help to reduce the number of dog bites. Rabies is endemic to The Gambia and
therefore poses a considerable risk to human health. With a better understanding of dog
behaviour, as well as more information about rabies and other dog diseases we hope to be
able to reduce incidence of rabies, particularly aiming to reduce the number of children
contracting rabies as a result of dog bites. We also aim to promote the benefits of dogs
and to demonstrate that dogs are capable of amazing things given the right care and
Rabies is one of the most neglected tropical
diseases that predominantly affects poor and vulnerable populations who live in remote
rural locations. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable infectious viral disease that is spread
to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva. Rabies is a considerable problem
in the area in which we work; it is an endemic disease in The Gambia and continues to be a
serious public health concern, as well as a welfare concern for animals. The Gambia,
Africa's smallest country, remains particularly vulnerable to rabies due to its crippling
poverty with 10% of the 2.2 million population living below the international poverty
line. Although in theory no one should die from rabies, the treatment is not readily
available, accessible or affordable to those in need, and this can have catastrophic
burden on the affected families. As most Gambians are also unable to access local
veterinary services to vaccinate their dogs, they have little defence or capacity to bring
There are several proposed steps to The Dog
Project. Primarily the project will teach Gambian school teachers how to teach a syllabus
about dog behaviour and welfare to their classes. We believe in sustainability and so it
is essential for the Gambian teachers to be able to deliver these sessions themselves.
Alison Scott has developed a comprehensive syllabus of lessons to cover one school year,
with detailed information for the teachers on how to present the information. Alison and
Jen's trip in February was to carry out the pilot project, to ensure that the lesson plans
were effective in their aims and that the Gambian teachers were confident to provide them.
This was a huge success and the small group of 6 teachers who took part in the pilot study
did a fantastic job of understanding the lesson plans and delivering them in a really
interactive way to their classes.
As part of the education project, the children
are all provided with a questionnaire to complete before and after receiving the lessons.
These questionnaires are to help to monitor beliefs and knowledge about dogs and to enable
us to assess whether the programme is successful in changing attitudes. The questionnaires
were also trialled during the pilot study and showed fascinating results of change, even
after just a couple of the lessons were delivered to them.
We have been working in close collaboration
with the Government's Department for Education, who are very excited about the prospect of
these lessons being rolled out in schools across the country.
An additional phase of The Dog Project will
see us training up a display team of dogs, to help to showcase just how intelligent and
helpful dogs can be with the correct training. Some initial training was trialled by
Alison and Jenny during their trip and they were able to demonstrate some positive
reinforcement training techniques to our team of Gambian staff. We will eventually be
searching for an experienced positive reinforcement dog trainer to volunteer at our
Makasutu for 12 months, to facilitate the training of the dog display team so if this is
your skill-set please do get in touch with us!
The next challenge for us now is to raise the
funds needed to carry out this amazing project in full. If this is something that you may
be interested in funding, or you would like further information about this project, please
contact Alison Scott by email HERE.
Alternatively, if you would like to donate
directly to this project, you can do so via the specific Just Giving page HERE.
GIVE A CAR!
Do you have an old car that
you no longer need or you need to send for scrap? Did you know that we are registered with
the Give a Car scheme for charities? Scrapping your car couldn't be easier - GiveaCar do
all the hard work for you. They will arrange free collection across the UK. Whether your
car has suffered an MOT failure, been in an accident or you no longer need it their expert
team can help. Turn your scrap car into a donation today and support you're the Gambia
Horse and Donkey Trust. It's quick, easy and free.
For more information or to arrange collection of your car, please visit '*Give a Car'
or call them on 02077 364 242 quoting Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust as your chosen
Details are also available on the Give a Car
poster. You can access it **in
WELL DONE GUYS!
These commendable young men arrived at our
centre with their beautifully looked after dogs, to have them vaccinated against rabies.
The youngest young man and his dog, Sprite, both have such lovely smiles!
The staff were so impressed by the condition
and handling of the dogs, that each dog was given a new collar to go home with. This gives
us so much hope! Well done guys.