Funda Nenja, Township Dog Training Initiative

Funda Nenja, Township Dog Training Initiative – Be inspired

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

Dog School
  • Run every Friday afternoon during the school term.
  • The dog school is a fun, educational activity, i.e. teaching basic obedience like ‘sit and stay’. Although basic animal welfare is taught, there are no strict rules regarding attendance and assessments. It is an entry point to start children thinking about the welfare of animals.
  • Dogs and children change sporadically over the period of a year.
  • Each handler receives a healthy snacks on arriving and departing the session each week. 
  • Special winter and Christmas drives allows us to provide blankets and gift packs for both children and dog.
Veterinary Clinic
  • Our animal welfare officer provides the following veterinary services at dog school each week.
  • Provision of Rabies vaccinations.
  • Deworm treatments.
  • Tick and Flea treatment.
  • Treatment of minor wounds.
  • Referral to SPCA for serious conditions.
Community Clinic
  • A community outreach clinic is provided bi-annually, especially to cater for those dog owners not attending dog school.
  • Provision of Rabies vaccinations.
  • Deworm treatments.
  • Tick and Flea treatment.
  • Treatment of minor wounds.
  • Referral to SPCA for serious conditions.
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.
Family Support
  • Our Family Support services provides advice and referrals on cognitive, medical, psychosocial and material needs.
  • This includes advice on securing government grants, counselling sessions and distribution of donated clothing.
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

Animal Welfare

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

Family Support

Total number of home visits conducted by Social worker    148             

What we have learned

Family Support

• 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.

Animal Welfare

• 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.

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