Working animals – invisible enablers of SDG 6
Imagine a scene: It is early morning by the river under the African sun. Children are splashing around, women are washing clothes and filling yellow jerry cans with water. This water will be used in the village throughout the day for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering crops. But the village is an hour away – how will the women and children possibly manage to transport all these cans?
You know the answer, you have seen it many times, but you have never noticed. Every day, in millions of villages such as this one, water is transported from the source to households with the help of the humble donkey.
Working animals, in particular donkeys, are the invisible enablers of SDG 6 – clean water and sanitation. It is especially women and girls for whom donkeys are a true lifeline, as it is usually their job to provide water for the household. Having a donkey eases their work and enables them to transport more water at once and save time. Brooke’s research has shown that in Pakistan women who do not have a donkey have to walk 4 hours a day to fetch water, while those who have a donkey only need an hour and a half. This saved time and energy can then be spent on other activities – in the case of girls it is often school. Too many girls have been pulled out of school because their help is needed in the house, including for fetching water.
On 22-24 March 2023 the UN is holding its Water Conference, which will bring together over 6,000 experts in various aspects of water management. Over the course of 3 days the world’s greatest thinkers will debate how to resolve the global water crisis and advance the Water Action Agenda. Yet none of them will be thinking about the role of working animals and how to ensure that they can continue to provide this vital service to communities.
The International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE) wants to fill this gap and make the invisible visible at the UN Water Conference. Our official side event, titled ‘Women, water and working animals – towards intersectoral, locally-owned solutions’ will shine a spotlight on the unseen role of working animals in water provision and progress towards meeting SDG 6. We want to encourage all stakeholders committed to the Water Action Agenda to come together across sectoral barriers and support the local, low-cost solution that communities already have – the working animal. With investment in the health and welfare of these animals communities around the world can have reliable access to the water resources they need and deserve.
WOMEN, WATER AND WORKING ANIMALS – towards intersectoral, locally-owned solutions
Thursday 23 March 2023, 2pm-3pm (GMT) / 10am-11am (EST)
This is a free event hosted by The International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE) - Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA, World Horse Welfare.