The village of Metyassar in Northern Mauritania has a new Health Centre. The project was financed jointly by Kinross Tasiast, the Mauritanian subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation (KGC), one of the major gold producers in the world. HI financed the community's participation in the project.
What does a donkey have to do with gold? At first the answer may be a simple "Nothing!!!" Upon second thought "they are both golden". For both the rich and less privileged throughout history no treasure is valued more than gold. For the less privileged, however, the beast of burden glitters too; it is their substitute for gold, very important in their existence and (for those who also eat the meat) subsistence. Nonetheless, the donkey suffers wherever it is found; in some places lions are fed with live donkeys (visit youtube). As a result of persistent and severe beatings, many animals live with injuries. Because of the lack of education, some owners make the injury of their animals worse by applying battery acid on the wound thinking that it is the fastest way of healing it.
In many places in the world the donkey is as obvious as the car even in towns, but unlike the car and other animals in many countries (camels, sheep and goats) the donkey is always under whips designed only for it. Based on the premises that the donkeys maltreatment is based more on universal custom and the lack of education than anything else, HI came to the help of man and animal in April 2011by sponsoring a community sensitization programme in Mauritania for one month, including a TV interview, distribution of food and gifts to the animals and their owners and directly talking to the owners about the need for a more humane treatment of the beast of burden. Government, community and religious representatives were brought together in a very lively TV debate, with scenes of donkeys at work in Nouakchott. One of the two local NGOs HI sponsored for this project who visited, once a week, the centres in the city where donkeys and their owners were concentrated and directly talked with to the owners about the need for a more humane treatment of the beast of burden, even from a religious perspective.
First Annual Best Donkey Prize
HI has successfully launched the first Annual Best Donkey Prize in Mauritania. The ceremony took place on August 27th in an open space in Elimina, one of the lowest income suburbs of Nouakchott, the capital. About 80 donkeys and their owners normally spend the day in the square looking for jobs to carry all kinds of materials back and forth. The criteria for the award were established by local advisers and the winner was selected out of about 40 animals which were inspected. The prize for the best cared for donkey went to Mr Modibo Sissokho. The event was organized by HI, the Lundin Foundation and local NGOs (Association Elihsan and ONG Agir). The prize was financed by HI's representative in Canada, Sophia Shane. It was broadcast on national television.