Jun 5, 2019

#34/Early morning training at dip tanks

James Tsabedze teaching
James Tsabedze teaching

On May 23rd 2019, we took a 15-minute drive to Herefords dip tank for a 6am meeting, scheduled with the farmers who dip their cattle there. This is one way we reach out to communities within the Vusumnotfo area of operation, to sensitise them on how to use animal care to promote responsibility and empathy in children. Presenting at dip tank also allows us to reach a more male audience with this message.

Eswatini is cold at this time of the year and the sun does not come up until a little before 7am, but this does not discourage many farmers as when we arrived, most of them were already on standby with their herd of cattle, ready to drive them into the dip tank.

When the dipping began I noticed that even farmers with large herds of cattle know their cattle by name and colour and that only a few cows suffered minor tick infestation or showed minor signs of illnesses. This shows how much care and value these farmers have for their cattle as opposed to dogs and cats.

When dipping was finished, we got a chance to sit down with the farmers. We made the point that they just need to transfer their traditional attitude towards cattle to dogs and cats. We explain about the spaying and clinical services we will be providing on June 8th and the registration requirements.

We highlight a list of common problems caused by uncared-for dogs, such as; killing and eating chickens and eggs, spilling rubbish bins, causing road accidents, getting bitten. As we go through this list many bob their heads with agreement at each item. However, not many understood that the cause is in connection with how they are treating their dogs in their own homes; from not giving their dogs enough food and necessary treatment, to beating them up and showing no love.

Children copy from their elders, we all did. So if they watch their elders being cruel to animals, to them that becomes their norm and it does not end there. They apply the same behaviour to people as well. We are very happy to begin opening up people’s eyes on this connection, as domestic violence at all level is a major problem in the Kingdom of Eswatini. 

So your support helps address many issues - 1) increasing access to animal care services, which in turn 2) provides direct, personal experience with a well cared for dog and cat, which in turn 3) promotes a sense of companionship, which in turn 4) helps people understand how to use animal care to positively impact child development and learning.  We appreciate your support in helping make this positive chain of events happen. 

Heading to the dip tank
Heading to the dip tank
Ready to dip
Ready to dip
Sikhumbuzo training
Sikhumbuzo training

Links:

May 21, 2019

#33/Promoting June 8th Spay Day at Mcuba Dip Tank

Ready to register
Ready to register

In the run up to our annual Spay Day on the second Saturday in June, we head to cattle dip tanks in the area to spread the message about how owners can benefit from vaccinating and spaying their dogs and cats. Across eSwatini people take their cows to dips once a week to be treated for ticks. The gathering at the end of the dipping is an ideal time for Vusumnotfo to talk to the cattle owners about the spay day.

Early this morning I had my first experience of this process at Mcuba dip tank. Not having any first-hand knowledge of cattle disease control, I really did not know what to expect. I certainly assumed the word ‘dip’ was an exaggeration of the extent to which a cow was submerged into the chemicals. It was not. Dip tanks are a carefully constructed cattle kraal that funnel the cows into and out of the chemicals in single file enabling 300 cows to take the plunge in just an hour and a half. I greatly enjoyed seeing cows swim (or attempt to) for the first time in my life and was extremely impressed by the efficient process that was finished in time for the youngest cattle herder to get to school on time.

After the cows had made their way back to their fields and with the sun fully risen, my colleague James Tsabedze started explaining to the group of fifty cattle owners what Vusumnotfo’s Spay Day was all about - the benefits of having a healthy dog that was more loyal and friendly after treatment. This seemed to go down well with the group. I was surprised to realize from the questions people were asking, (after translation from James), that there is limited exposure to the range of medical services available to dogs and cats.

Coming from a country that obsesses over furry domestic creatures, (the UK), I was curious to note the massive contrast in attitudes towards dogs and cats compared to livestock. In the UK it is not unusual for dogs to sleep in their owner’s beds but attaching emotional or cultural value to livestock would be unusual. In eSwatini the case is very different. Cows mean wealth and status for their owners whereas for the most part dogs are often given much less care and attention.

The morning generated plenty of interest in the upcoming spay day. The man in the cover photo showed lots of interest in registering his dog. We anticipate that he will soon be the owner of a healthier, happier dog which will set a positive example of care and responsibility in his community. Treating and caring well for animals has a massive impact on how they behave towards you, a truth very similar for humans too!

We appreciate your support to help make the June 8th spay day happen. We are almost at our budget but need your help to achieve the full funds required. Please note that donations made on Wednesday May 22 fall within Global Giving’s Paws and Claws promotion - meaning that your donations will be matched by 30%

Dipping
Dipping
Drying off
Drying off
James explaining
James explaining

Links:

Mar 27, 2019

#32/Growing demand -

A positive example!
A positive example!

We originally conducted our first spay day as a once off event. Because of the positive response at community level, we have continued to do one a year.

Due to this consistency, it is now common for people to ask Vusumnotfo staff questions about caring for their dogs and cats, and to inquire about when and where the next spay day will take place. For this reason, we have now set the spay day as an annual event on the second Saturday of June.

The spay day is related to Vusumnotfo’s activity 1.1. Parenting - train in early childhood development and learning, including factors that influence this.

As part of our education sessions prior to the spay day, and in our parenting training, we raise awareness of how every day animal care practices contribute to the social norms that young children absorb. Currently in rural Swaziland these every day practices tend to be negative, setting up a negative cycle of unhealthy animals, and thus fear and animosity towards dogs and cats.

Our annual spay day, by providing much needed veterinary services, results in healthy dogs and cats, which is key for family members to develop healthy companionships with their dogs and cats. This in turn contributes to children absorbing positive social norms. We are now gearing up for our 5th annual spay day.

With your continued help, we will conduct this on June 8, 2019.

Waiting line for removing stitches
Waiting line for removing stitches
Waiting line for surgeries
Waiting line for surgeries

Links:

 
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