Some call it the beast of burden. They load it with any form of burden. What they care most is to see their load reach destination. They use sticks to beat it, causing damage to its skin. It develops wounds that cause severe pain. They do not bother to get medication for it. What they do not understand or simply ignore is the fact that the animal has its rights; just like human beings. It is commonly referred to as donkey.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.8 million donkeys in Kenya, mostly operating in remote areas. They are used to ferry farm produce, firewood and water especially in arid and semi-arid areas like Kajiado, Machakos, some parts of rift valley region and other areas countrywide.
Although the animals are subjected to very difficult activities under harsh conditions, some of those who use them do not take time to understand what the animals go through. They forget that the animals also have life, they get tired and experience pain when injured especially when they are made to pull an ill conditioned cart.
After an intensive research and analysis of the predicaments donkeys go through in their dairy chores, Africaqua, Water.org, The Donkey Sanctuary, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) among other partners came up with new models of donkey cart (INKUA donkey cart). The designs and fabrication of the donkey carts was done at JKUAT in the year 2015.
The INKUA donkey cart contest was open to engineering students in JKUAT and after thorough assessment, the best designs were adopted. The new designs of donkey cart have a lot of improved features that ensure convenience and safety of donkeys while ferrying luggage, in this case water.
March 22, 2016 marked a great breakthrough for donkeys and their users as Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa officially launched the new models of donkey cart.Through the donkey cart, Africaqua is determined in ensuring that donkeys ferry water to the required destination using very little energy. The cart is designed in such a way that the load exerts pressure on the axle as opposed to the old donkey cart where the load exerts too much pressure on the donkey’s back. This will make it possible for the donkey to carry water even uphill.
Africaqua believes that nothing should prevent people from getting access to safe drinking water. All this is being done in order to improve and make our water value chain different from others. Water will be reaching people at the right time and in its safest state.