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Working Animal Programme, Afghanistan


Improving welfare

Working donkeys and horses are the life blood of the local communities in Afghanistan and Kabul is by no means an exception.

Where old meets new in the city; many families will have access to motor transportation (so much so that Kabul was recently compared to Delhi as the most polluted city on earth) whilst many more, particularly those who inhabit the surrounding mountains, do not.

The working donkey or horse is vital to carry supplies (water, food and building materials) to the steep hillside communities; which make up most of Kabul’s surrounding urban areas nestled precariously on the side of the unforgiving mountain terrain.

The brick kilns of Kabul are literally ‘hell-holes’ for working animals as they are more often than not, over-worked and completely neglected. The poor animals are worked to death.

With little to no education, their owners have limited knowledge on the fundamental needs of their working animals which would lead to improving working conditions and improve their overall welfare.

Nowzad promotes healthy Afghan donkey ownership through an effective campaign targeting donkey and horse owners and muleteers (especially at the brick kilns of Kabul) explaining and teaching the importance of basic health checks for their animals along with feeding requirements and required vaccinations.

We employ a farrier to relieve animals of painful and uncomfortable hooves, a small gesture that makes a big difference to the working animals quality of life and where required hospitalise any donkey or horse as needed to allow them to recover from injury and illness. Importantly too, we employ a harness maker so that we can replace ill-fitting and injury causing harnesses.

We just cannot post some of the injuries we are sadly seeing. They are just too graphic. It breaks our heart but also makes us more determined with you by our side to be the difference for these working animals who have no choice but to be there.

All donkeys that we treat are recorded so that we can follow their progress. Our veterinarians are experienced in tending to any donkey or horse that is sick or injured and we often offer ‘roadside assistance’ or outpatient treatment to animals in distress. 

In November 2023, Nowzad was thrilled to join the global Working Animal Alliance working group, working with other NGOs such as World Horse Welfare, academics, the private sector and international bodies across the sector to create a stronger voice for working animals, and recognise the role donkeys and horses have in achieving the global sustainable development goals.

In 2017 Nowzad opened the FIRST EVER donkey/horse sanctuary in Afghanistan, a refuge for former working donkeys and horses who have been discarded like rubbish onto the streets when they are no longer able to carry the heavy loads demanded of them by their owners. 

Be the difference today!

Please help us to continue making a difference for the working animals of Afghanistan by clicking here. You can watch Pen take on the 'Walk a mile in a donkey's shoes' challenge here where he explains our work direct from the streets of Kabul.

We cannot carry the loads for them but we are going to do what we can to make their lives somewhat easier. Be the difference today please!


Animal Aid Abroad (AAA) is kindly sponsoring 8 of our equine residents at the donkey shelter through their generous donations. Nowzad is so grateful for their support. You can read our report on their website here

A massive thank you for the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust for their very kind donation towards our mobile clinic - thank you!