Young people living in urban setups are at a higher risk of involving themselves in devious activities. This is because of the environment that they are exposed to that is of hardships and one that is very versatile and the dynamics of living in an urban setup makes the young people to engage in such activities to keep themselves busy. Mwea in Kirinyaga county is not an exception of this scenario. Young donkey owners living in Mwea who depend on them for their daily income have been affected by the social-urban culture. They use these donkeys for transportation of rice to the mills, fetching water for people, transportation of construction materials and relocation of tenants among other numerous that the donkeys are used.
Donkeys in Mwea have been affected by a myriad of welfare issues due to the youth in Mwea who use them, engaging in drugs and substance abuse, as well as having low self-esteem. KENDAT initiated a program whereby the youth ae engaged in a football tournament and are trained on drug and substance abuse, financial investments as well as positive handling and welfare issues of the donkey.
Dennis Muchira is one of the young donkey owners living in Mwea. He is the chairman of Kahuruko donkey Riders. He has been engaged in the football tournament and has since been able to sensitize other youth members to stop drugs. “Since the beginning of the KENDAT football tournament, drug uptake has reduced in the young donkey owners and users. This has been as a result of the trainings that we have been given and the engagement in the tournament,” Dennis attests.
“The tournament has brought about unity in our donkey owner groups, more young people are now joining donkey owner groups as they have been brought together by the tournament,” He adds. The young people have also been supported due to the awards they get of donkeys that they have since used them for sustainable breeding to which they attest has increased their donkey population.
The youth donkey owners have also been trained on financial investments that they have articulated. 8 groups have already started contributions that they save up in the group and provide as loans to the needy members of the group at an interest. This has become a way of resource mobilization and they are able to use their group savings to cater for the needs of their donkeys through health care assistance and providing fodder for their animals through the finances they collect.
This has resulted in the reduction of negative handling of animals and whipping for donkeys have significantly reduced in Mwea. Drug and substance abuse have also been on the downward trend and is not as rampant as it was before which ha consequently led to practice of positive husbandry and handling skills among the young donkey owners and users in Mwea.