Using Animal Care to Promote Empathy in Children

by Vusumnotfo Vetted since 2011 Site Visit Verified


With your support, an education campaign and free, veterinary clinic will be conducted annually at one community in Northern Swaziland. The clinic will provide much needed veterinary services to 200 dogs and cats, while the education campaign will teach positive animal care practices. Daily examples of good animal care will help promote the development of responsibility and empathy in rural Swazi children. Over time, this will help reverse Swaziland's high rate of domestic violence.

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People in Swaziland value dogs for security, yet many fear their own dogs, treat them with animosity, and do not develop a companionable bond. Children who regularly witness dogs being kicked or hit will mimic this behaviour. In Swaziland it is a daily occurrence to see children with sticks in hand, playing the game of "shaya" ("to hit"). It follows that 87% of reported abuse in Swaziland takes place at family level - and that 58% of this abuse is emotional/verbal and 14% is physical.


Conducting a clinic annually brings much needed veterinary services to communities without access to these services. Vaccinations, spays, neuters, and de-worming improves the health and behaviour of dogs and cats, and this in turn encourages companionship. Conducting educational sessions teaches good animal care practices. Good animal care practices provide a positive, daily example that helps promote the development of responsibility and empathy in young children.

Long-Term Impact

Swaziland's pattern of domestic violence suggests that mimicking behaviour is a driving force. Through veterinary clinics and education sessions, people will provide better care to their dogs and cats. Children who witness positive, daily examples of good animal care are more likely to develop responsibility and empathy. Over time, this will help create new social norms that will replace the high rates of domestic violence children currently witness and experience in Swaziland.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).

Organization Information


Location: Piggs Peak - Swaziland
Project Leader:
kathy gau
Piggs Peak, Hhohho Region Swaziland

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