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Volunteer to help run Working Donkey Health and Welfare Camps in Bukombe Tanzania 2019

Bukombe is a district in the north-west region of Tanzania with approximately 3,000 working donkeys. These animals face tough working conditions and are expected to work long hours, often day and night, pulling heavy loads each day to provide a source of income for their owners. The donkeys face a range of serious welfare issues, ranging from severe, non-healing neck wounds due to the type of cart they pull (designed for oxen not donkeys), to general poor health from a lack of veterinary knowledge and skills, and lacking awareness of basic donkey husbandry.

WVS have set up a working donkey health and welfare camps to tackle these important issues and improve donkey welfare across the district. The campis aimed at providing international vet students, as well as local Tanzanian vets and para-vets with a unique opportunity to learn and practise key equine medical and surgical skills whilst helping to treat these donkeys and improve their lives, and those of their owners. You will be based at a local charity (Tanzania Humane Charity, TAHUCHA) in Ushirombo. Whilst volunteering on this course you will experience the raw beauty of rural Tanzania whilst you have the opportunity to help supervise veterinary students, as well as make a much needed, positive contribution towards equine welfare.

The aims of the experience are:

1. To provide the working donkeys of Bukombe with essential veterinary attention to help improve their health and welfare.

2. To provide international veterinary students with a supported environment for them become confident in key veterinary knowledge and skills for veterinary practice (day one competencies), whilst experiencing a unique insight into the issues facing working donkeys in countries such as Tanzania.

3. To provide a focused learning experience to local Tanzanian vets and paravets who lack essential knowledge and skills in equine medicine and surgery.

4. To provide the local charity with support to continue treating local working donkeys, and provide expertise through veterinary specialist staff to improve local veterinary services.

2. To help educate donkey owners on how to care their working donkeys to improve the lives of both them and their donkeys (one health concept).

All dates below include travel days.

  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Location
  • Requirements
  • Notes


The trip will be run by our WVS equine vets and assisted by yourself. The range of cases that the students will experience will vary depending on what is presented during the donkey clinics, and students will be encouraged to actively participate in all treatments. Techniques such as clinical examinations, worming, vaccinations, routine dental examinations, lameness diagnosis and basic farriery will be covered where possible, as well as lectures and group discussions on a range of equine medical and surgical topics. Wound management will be commonly encountered due to the type of carts used for donkeys in this area. A focus on education of local donkey owners will provide opportunities for students to interact with the local community and to practise their communication and demonstration skills with the help of a local interpreter and depending on the number of equine cases presented during the course of the week, a day may be allocated to attending local canine cases with routine vaccination and deworming in the local area. There will also be a chance to visit the charity’s newly acquired donkey sanctuary and help treat in-patients. One evening will be spent enjoying a lively and fun display of dancing by the local community and a chance to join in and learn some new dance moves! Additional trip option: Serengeti National Park (additional cost) At the end of the course, you may wish to extend their stay and experience the magnificence of the Serengeti National Park, an area extending over 5,700 square miles and famous for its huge abundance of wildlife and high biodiversity. The charity can organise transport to Bunday (a day’s journey from the course location in Ushirombo) and provide accommodation locally outside the park. The next day, a jeep will take you into the park where a local guide will help you spot animals such as giraffe, hippos, wildebeest, warthog, crocodiles, lions and even leopards (to name just a few!). There will be another local stay overnight before heading back to Mwanza the next day (approximately 3 hours) before catching your international flight home.


Upon arrival at Mwanza airport, participants will stay overnight at a local hotel, with breakfast. The next day, transport will be provided to charity’s headquarters in Ushirombo, Bukombe. This journey takes around 5-6 hours and includes a ferry journey across the stunning Lake Victoria. Upon arrival in Ushirombo, accommodation will be provided at a local hotel comprising simple but private rooms with private shower and toilet facilities. All meals will be provided during the course  (breakfast only in the Mwanza hotel stays). Please note that the type and availability of food is limited to local cuisine and although vegetarian options are available, they are likely restricted to food such as beans, tomato relish, spinach and eggs. There are no vegan food options available. The availability of hot water may also be restricted. Snacks are readily available to purchase in the local shops and participants are encouraged to bring their own if required. Bottled water will be provided.

Country Tanzania, United Rep of


We required an experienced equine vet with at least 3 years experience and proven work with equines

Important Notes

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.

Trip dates

DepartureReturnVetsVet NursesOther
Fri 19th Jul 2019Mon 5th Aug 2019
Fri 4th Oct 2019Mon 21st Oct 2019
Join us on one of these trips… Interested?

Benefits of volunteering with WVS

By volunteering with WVS you are making a huge difference to the lives of animals and communities around the world. You will also receive the following benefits:

  • Full logistics support from our UK office
  • 24/7 emergency support in partnership with Red24
  • 10% discount at Cotswold Outdoors
  • 10% discount on travel insurance from Go Walkabout
  • Vet
Details 18
Spaces available
Cost £50 admin fee (accommodation, in-country transport and meals provided)
+ flights, visa
3 years
Country Tanzania, United Rep of

Questions? Call us now:

+44 (0)1725 557225