Project #17105

Using Animal Care to Promote Empathy in Children

by Vusumnotfo


With your support, an education campaign and free, veterinary clinic will be conducted at Kandwandwe community in Northern Swaziland. This clinic will provide much needed veterinary services to 200 dogs. Combined with community wide education, it will support the care of, and companionship from, dogs - and how to use these to promote the development of empathy in rural Swazi children. Over time, the goal is to contribute to a reduction in 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 happens by family members - and that 58% of this abuse is emotional/verbal and 14% is physical.


Bringing a one-day free clinic and follow up to Kandwandwe, a community in rural Swaziland without veterinary services, will give needed care to animals, and be a positive example towards breaking this cycle. Education sessions on how to care for dogs (even when resources are limited), develop a companionable bond, and discipline dogs appropriately, will be conducted at the three primary schools and four dip tanks. The clinic will provide vaccinations, spays, neuters, and de-worming.

Long-Term Impact

Swaziland's pattern of domestic violence suggests that mimicking behaviour is the driving force, instead of the intent to do harm. With 70% poverty, 40% unemployment, 26% HIV and a life expectancy of 49 years, families struggle daily to meet their basic needs, and this stresses their relationships. Bringing animal care services, combined with education, to a rural community will help to support care and companionship for animals, promoting the development of empathy in young children.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a DOCX file (projdoc.docx).

Organization Information


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

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