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Final Report Donkey Day 2010

Matunkha Centre Private Bag 62 Rumphi, Malawi


The Matunkha Donkey Day 2010 was another dazzling success for the Agricultural Departement. Although the day got off on a late start due to some transport issues everyone enjoyed themselves. The Paramount Chief, Chikulamayembe, was the invited guest of honour and took the opportunity to express his gratitute not only to the Matunkha Centre but also to DIO for sponsoring this event. Many local chiefs were invited, as well as the District Commissioner, Agricultural Officer and District Veterinary Assistant. Also, the local newspaper and radio stations had sent a delegation. Last year was the very first Donkey Day in Malawi, and since then there have been great improvements in the awareness among the villages about the donkeys. Many people have already requested to the Matunkha Centre to introduce donkeys in their villages. The day started off with the Most Beautiful Donkey Competition, in which the ladies decorated their donkeys with their own decorations. This proved to be a success, as many became creative and not only used the numerous flowers found on the Centre but also decorated their donkeys with stuffed animals, childrenʟs toys, chitenjes (local cloth worn by women as skirt) and the Lumemo group even gave their donkey a wig. Throughout the program there were also dances and drama groups all centered around donkeys. One dance group sang and thanked Matunkha for not only providing the women with donkeys but also assisting them with ploughs. A drama group reenacted the tension that some groups had experienced with the local CBO (community based organization) about the sharing and charging for the use of the donkey cart. During the evaluation held the day before, all the groups had talked about helping the village in times of a funeral (e.g. collecting firewood free of charge) and acting as an ambulance to bring the sick – free of charge – to Rumphi District Hospital. The second donkey competition of the day was the Best Traffic Donkey. This included walking on plastic, jumping a fence, walking under a tent and responding to voice commands. The first part proved to be the most difficult, but all women showed their expertise in handling and controlling their donkeys. The competition, which included the cart


was once again planned at the end of the agenda. This time, the cart had to reverse into a “parking spot” and then proceed to make a 90° turn, within boundaries. During this competition it was interesting to see how the other ladies commented on their friendsʼ skills. It is the hope that this attitude of helping and, when necessary, correcting one another will continue in the village during the coming years. This can pave the way for the setup of a so-called Community Animal Welfare Police that the Matunkha Centre at some point hopes to initiate. The act of reversing a donkey-and-cart was impossible for every group except for Chozoli. Every other group attempted to push the cart into the parking spot, forcing the donkey to follow the cart backwards. The Chozoli group, however, used a simple word command, “nji”, to which the donkey willingly stepped backwards. This made a lasting impression on the other groups, so hopefully next year there will be more donkeys that can reverse on a simple command. At the end of an eventful day the Paramount Chief and respective chiefs of the donkey groups presented the prize to the overall winner: Pacharo and Takwondwa from Buwira. The prizes were special lights for the carts and reflectors for the donkey. This will make them more visible when travelling at night; important as most roads are also used by motorized vehicles. The week before this donkey day the groups had received training in ploughing with a donkey, and so with all the chiefs present, the ploughs were also handed over to the respective groups. The next morning all the groups left for their journey back home, some a 5 minute walk ahead of them, others a full 5 hour journey.


Financial Report/Budget The donkey day was held on 13th August 2010. Unfortunately the financial computer system has crashed beginning of September. Files have been sent to the UK for repair. It will take some time before the financial report can be finalized. As soon as it is ready, it will be sent to DIO.


Report Donkey Day