In a nutshell
The aim of Funda Nenja, Township Dog Training Initiative is to improve the quality of life of both township children and their dogs. We cannot improve the life of these dogs without addressing the needs of the children as well, hence the hand in hand approach.
What we do
We believe that the values of kindness, respect and compassion are nurtured through the practical element of the program which develops an affectionate bond between children and dogs. By changing children’s attitudes and emotional response towards their dogs we are investing in the future and not just applying a “band aid” approach to animal welfare. These children will become agents of change and role models of responsible, caring dog owners in their communities.
How we do it
Funda Nenja Programme Areas
|Sterilisation||We work in partnership with the SPCA. The arrangement requires that every dog attending dog school, must be sterilised. After visiting homes of the children attending dog school, the education officer will provide a list of addresses to the SPCA to collect and sterilise dogs.|
|Home Visits||As noted above, home visits are conducted for each participant (handler) at the dog school. This exercise is undertaken to assess if the handler has made an improvement with regard to her/ his care for the dog at home.|
|Supporting Lessons at Schools||The education officer delivers supporting lessons at 5 local primary and lower primary schools addressing Grade R to Grade 7 learners. The topics delivered includes; ‘Being a responsible dog owner, 5 Freedoms, How to care for your dog during fireworks season’, etc.|
Awareness-Raising on Poaching
|Together with the EWT, we educate on the harms of poaching using dogs.|
|Supporting Life Skills Lessons||Topics presented by our social worker supports the ethos of our organisation, it includes topics such as; ‘Developing a respectable attitude, Moral values and caring for people’.|
|Parent Workshops||Parent participation is crucial and we are in the initial stages of providing workshops on subjects such as gender based violence, parenting skills and substance abuse.|
What we have achieved
Key outcomes for 2017 in the three areas of Education, Animal Welfare and Family Support.
|Number of children (Grade R - Grade 7) reached through school lessons|
|Animal welfare topics - such as ‘Being a responsible dog owner', '5 Freedoms', and 'How to care for your dog during fireworks season’.||1907 learners|
|Life skills topics - Developing a respectable attitude, Moral values and caring for people.||2857 learners|
|Number of children participated in the dog school activity||216|
The total number of dogs sterilised
|Total number of dogs vaccinated with the 5 in 1 Rabies vaccine||256|
|Total number of dogs vaccinated with standard Rabies vaccine||
|Total number of dogs treated for minor wounds / skin conditions/ infections||130|
|Total number of dogs dewormed||488|
|Total number of dogs treated for ticks and fleas||454|
|Total number of dogs collected and treated by the SPCA||40|
|Total number of home visits conducted by Social worker||148|
What we have learned
• Community perceptions must be understood, in order to achieve success in any program.
• There are many homes headed by grandmothers or single mothers with children living together in very cramped conditions.
• Parents, as much as children, need help in addressing a wide range of issues. Topics such as parenting skills, substance abuse and the importance of attending school need to be addressed.
• There is a great need for animal welfare education in the community.
We found that there is a need to educate older members of the community on the welfare and rights of dogs. Over the years, children and youth have been the prime target audience of this education.
• It was common belief that dogs would take care of themselves and find their own food to survive.
• The cultural and family dynamics need to be more thoroughly understood in order to more successfully address the welfare of dogs.
*This project profile was compiled by Sandra Naidoo, Project Administrator of Funda Nenja, Dog Training Initiative.