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Working Donkey Health and Welfare Camps - Tanzania

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 working donkey health and welfare camps to tackle these important issues and improve donkey welfare across the district. As well as giving donkeys vital veterinary treatments, this also provides 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) and run by WVS equine vets, as well as an equine veterinary volunteer, where available. Whilst participating on this camp you will experience the raw beauty of rural Tanzania whilst you have the opportunity to practise and improve your veterinary skills, 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 the experience of helping to treat donkeys with medical issues, 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 do NOT include travel days.

  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Location
  • Requirements
  • Notes



The camp will be run by our WVS equine vets and an equine veterinary volunteer, and will comprise being part of donkey camp clinics helping to treat local working donkeys in the area. The range of cases that you 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. 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, participants 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.


Open to fourth and final year veterinary students.

You will be required to arrange travel insurance that covers you for veterinary work. However, this is included in WVS membership. To become a member and take advantage of this offer, click here

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
Mon 22nd Jul 2019Sat 27th Jul 2019
Mon 29th Jul 2019Sat 3rd Aug 2019
Mon 7th Oct 2019Sat 12th Oct 2019
Mon 14th Oct 2019Sat 19th 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 Nurse
  • Other
Details 8
Spaces available
Cost 500
+ Return Flights + Spending Money + Business Visa vaccinations
Details 8
Spaces available
Cost 500
+ Return flights + Spending money + Business Visa and vaccinations

Questions? Call us now:

+44 (0)1725 557225