Factors Influencing The Performance Of Donkey Welfare Projects: The Case Of Heshimu Punda Project In Mwea West Sub-county, Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Yambu, Stafford Mbithi
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Animal welfare, refers to the ability of an animal to cope with its current living conditions. An animal is in a good state of welfare if it is comfortable, safe, healthy, and well nourished. Such an animal is free from distress, pain, and fear, and can express innate behavior. Consequently, good animal welfare requires humane handling of animals, provision of shelter, proper nutrition, and prevention of diseases according to The World Organization for Animal Health, OIE (2015). Mankind has used donkeys for thousands of years and hence they have been a very important facet of the human livelihood. Donkeys around the world and in particular Kirinyaga County were used majorly as a means of transport. Despite all the usefulness, the welfare of donkeys was never a priority to the owners, this led to the formation of several animal welfare organizations to champion the rights of animals the world over. Heshimu Punda is one of the projects that address donkey welfare issues in Mwea West sub-county of Kirinyaga County. Despite the project being there for several years, the welfare of donkeys seemed not to have improved much. This study therefore sought to look at the factors that influence the performance of donkey welfare projects in Mwea West Sub-County, Kirinyaga County. The specific objectives of the study were: To determine the influence of donkey owners’ perceptions on the performance of donkey welfare projects; To determine the influence of donkeys’ contribution to owner/user livelihood on the performance of donkey welfare projects; To determine the influence of rise in demand for donkey products on the performance of donkey welfare projects; and to determine the influence of owner/user training on the performance of donkey welfare projects. This study would enlighten the existing animal welfare projects on the areas to focus so as to improve the performance of their projects as well as adding to the available literature on the topic of study. The study was anchored on the Kantian theory and Utilitarianism and the researcher discussed how the two theories were related to the study topic. A descriptive study design was used for the study and the target population for the research study was one thousand five hundred (1500) donkey owners/users in Mwea West Sub-County. Krecjie and Morgan formula was used to determine the sample size for the donkey owners while a census was done for project officers, the chief and the veterinary officers. Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires, key informants and observation, quantitative data was coded into SPSS v25 for analysis using descriptive study design while qualitative data was analyzed thematically, where coding was done and then themes developed based on the content of the data. The study found out that donkey owner’ perceptions, donkeys’ contribution to owner/user livelihood, demand for donkey products and owner/user level of training had influence of on the performance of donkey welfare projects in Mwea west Sub-County in Kirinyaga County. Donkey owners’ perception affects how they treat the donkeys; donkeys contributed largely to the livelihood of the donkey owners and users. The findings of this study will be of help to the donors and other stakeholders as they will help them to mainstream their programming to ensure donkey owners and users change their attitude thereby improving the performance of the donkey welfare projects. The findings of this study will provide policy makers and implementers at County and National level with information that they will use to ensure that donkey owners and users have the necessary knowledge and skills to handle their donkeys well. The study has built on the existing knowledge and literature and also suggests areas of further study and research. The recommendations of the study were that there is need for more sensitization and training to donkey owners/users on donkey welfare issues. In addition, lobbying to the government should be done to improve policies that protect the welfare of donkeys.
University of Nairobi
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