Haitian horses benefit from ‘staggering’ public generosity

World Horse Welfare has thanked the public for its “staggering” response to the charity’s Aid Match Haiti appeal.

The Helping Horse-Owning Communities in Haiti campaign raised £826,153.74, which includes £396,988.44 of match-funding from the UK government.

The money will be used to support projects working in rural Haiti to provide training for communities, improving care for working horses and donkeys while also strengthening people’s independence and benefiting their livelihoods.

“This is a staggering outcome,” said World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers.

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated and all those who gave their support to promote the appeal including Horse & Hound, The Eastern Daily Press, Scottish Farmer and the Daily Mail.”

“This hugely encouraging result will not only allow us to fully fund our expanded project in Haiti but also to provide crucial support for several other of our projects in countries such as Nepal, Zimbabwe and Nicaragua.”

The Haitian World Horse Welfare project aims to reach 2,000 households in 10 rural communities surrounding the capital Port-au-Prince. The charity plans to share knowledge and provide training in saddlery, horse care and veterinary treatment.

“Not only will the project support owners in improving the health of their working horses, it will also open up income-generation opportunities for local people to train as veterinary agents, saddle pad-makers and saddlers,” a spokesman for the charity said, adding that working equids are essential in Haiti.

“World Horse Welfare’s project will help communities learn new skills that can be passed down from generation to generation.”

The charity is now working with the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) to review the detail of the original Haiti proposal. A key challenge is the growing civil unrest in the country.

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“This will inevitably mean we will need to make changes to our original proposal but DFID has plenty of experience of working in hugely challenging environments,” said Mr Owers.

“We are starting the next chapter in a very exciting journey for World Horse Welfare and our work in low- and middle-income countries. Thank you again for helping make this possible and we look forward to updating you on progress.”

International development secretary Alok Sharma added: “Working horses are a lifeline for rural communities in the developing world. World Horse Welfare’s project in Haiti not only helps protect the animals, but also provides jobs, and boosts economies.

“I am delighted UK aid has matched the generous donations by the great British public, boosting the total raised to over £825,000.”

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