Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust


The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) is a small charity, registered in both the UK and The Gambia. Founded in 2002 by the late Stella Marsden OBE and her sister Heather Armstrong who is the charity's Director. With no tradition of horsemanship in The Gambia and a combination of poor management, high disease risk and poverty, farmers were investing comparatively large amounts of money for a working animal only for it to die, too often within six months. Not only was this causing further hardship for the farmers, it was also creating a serious animal welfare problem and the veterinary services did not have the infrastructure or finances to be able to help the farmers.

The aim of the GHDT is to reduce rural poverty in The Gambia through improving the health, welfare and productivity of working animals.

Keeping horses and donkeys healthy in The Gambia is a real challenge; insect borne diseases such as Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis), African Horse Sickness, and tick fever are all too common and when these problems are combined with poor nutrition and management caused by lack of knowledge and poverty, the results can be disastrous for the farmers.

GHDT believe in providing the Gambian people with the skills and knowledge to prevent and solve their own problems, creating a long term, sustainable solution.

The country this project is based in is listed as a high risk of Zika virus on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website. Please follow the advice on their website when considering participating in this project.


2 weeks minimum


Spaces available


£150 per week this covers Accommodation & meals
+ Return flights form UK approx £300 plus airport transfers £30+ £50 Admin fee


2 weeks minimum


Spaces available


£150 per week this covers Accommodation & meals
+ Return flights from the UK - Approx £300 plus airport transfers £30+ £50 Admin fee



Supported Charities

Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust




Dates available throughout the year.

Any questions?

+44 1725 557225

You will spend one week working at The Makasutu Centre and the other based at the Sambel Centre. Both centre's have more or less the same routine, except Sambel has more mobile clinics and Makasutu according to the time of year, has more teaching because students visit from the college and university in term time.

A typical day (if there is such a thing) would start by attending to inpatients, perhaps doing a bit of teaching, or attending a mobile clinic. We do very little major surgery, but there are usually castrations to be done or tumour removal or fistulous withers , or sometimes even an eye to be removed. In between all this there are the call outs mainly for Road traffic accidents or distochia, there are often harness injuries to treat too.

As far as I can see, no day is absolutely normal, but if we do happen to have a quiet day, we will take the opportunity to go to a new area to spread the word and do some treatments.

Vets and nurses are required to have 3 years post graduation experience. Ideally any experience on a similar volunteering trip would be beneficial.

Veterinary professionals may be required to provide/assist with a variety of treatments, performing surgeries and also provide training which may be for any staff, or to the students from the college and University who regularly visit the GHDT Centre. You don't need to have any teaching experience or qualifications , but must be willing to share your knowledge and have the ability, when doing a treatment, to explain whatyou are doing and why and giving the staff, students and anyone else, the opportunity to ask questions.

The areas you will cover during your placement will involve clinical examinations, injection techniques, bandaging, flushing, wound management, infection control and suturing.

Included as standard

Accommodation & Airport Transfers

Not included as standard

International Flights, Meals, Travel Insurance, Vaccinations

What to pack

Volunteers should take practical / comfortable clothes to work in e.g (scrubs). If you would like to purchase a WVS scrub top please contact the office or visit our online shop.

  • Practical / comfortable clothes to work in (eg. scrubs)
  • Wet weather gear and warm clothing for the evenings
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Ear plugs and eye mask
  • Headlamp
  • Toiletries
  • Prescriptions & over-the-counter medication (eg. Imodium, Paracetemol etc)

The project may be extremely short on certain supplies and would likely be very grateful for donations. Please get in touch with us to find out if there is anything in particular that would be helpful to bring with you. If you have any spare room in your bag on the outbound flight, it would be highly appreciated if you are able to bring some spare supplies to use during your trip. This is at your discretion and entirely optional.

Travel Insurance

It is essential that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this project which also covers you for veterinary work. We recommend Go Walkabout who offer tailor made travel insurance policies for WVS volunteers. Please note that fully paid members of WVS also receive a 10% discount on Go Walkabout policies.

Health & Vaccinations

This information should be used as a guide only. For up to date information on immunisations please consult your doctor. You will need to allow plenty of time before travelling for your immunisations to be effective. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. As you will be working with animals the Rabies and Tetanus vaccines are essential. We have provided links below to websites with useful information on immunisations and travel advice which we highly recommend that you visit.


​UK passport holders are required to obtain a visa before travelling. Please visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office website for further details: All WVS volunteers are required to organise their own visas.