The National University of Lesotho (NUL) and World Horse Welfare (UK), an international horse charity, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a new three-year project to help improve the care and welfare of horses and donkeys in Lesotho. 


The project is being implemented in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Maseru and Mafeteng districts. It will include regular clinics to treat animals as well as training to help government extension officials and horse owners to better care for their horses and donkeys. 


The project aims to reach up to 5,000 horses and donkeys, and to provide additional training and support to 80 District Extension Staff and other government officials working with horses.

In his remarks during the signing, NUL Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nqosa Mahao assured the partners of NUL’s commitment to efficiently and expediently see the project come to fruition. 

“We see an increasingly growing paradigm shift for NUL from working in isolation to getting more involved in what is happening in the communities. NUL is really becoming a University of the people”, he highlighted.


Prof. Mahao further indicated that horses were imported to Lesotho in the 1830s and have been historically associated with the landscape and the culture of Basotho. King Moshoeshoe I bought horses mainly for warfare and travelling and, later, for ploughing fields.


“We have become so used to the horses and even made them our cultural symbol yet we forget about their welfare. Being the caretaker of this project, NUL will focus more on the healthcare, feeding, research and also render community services for the welfare of horses and donkeys”, he added.


According to the acting Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Dr. Botle Mapeshoane, NUL, through the Department of Animal Science, has already developed modules on the welfare of horses as part of readiness for the project to kick off.


She also lamented on the plight of equines despite playing an essential role in rural households.

“Despite horses and donkeys playing a central role in rural households through supporting livelihoods, providing transport and herding and being a significant cultural symbol for the Basotho, very little attention is ever paid to the welfare of these animals. Due to their remote location and lack of access to services and medication, many horses and donkeys suffer from curable diseases, untreated injuries, unsuitable tack and poor nutrition”, she emphasized.


On behalf of World Horse Welfare (UK), Mrs. Penny Ward reiterated that horses and donkeys seem neglected in the policies and development agenda of many countries thus becoming invisible to stakeholders yet they are so important in people’s lives. 

“Our international programmes alleviate the suffering of thousands of working horses by providing essential knowledge for horse owning communities in the developing world. We also work tirelessly to change legislation and attitudes to horse welfare through campaigns and education, including our founding campaign to end the suffering endured by the tens of thousands of horses transported long-distance across Europe to slaughter each year”, she pointed out.


Meanwhile, the Director of Livestock at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. ‘Marosi Molomo affirmed that until now, there are no projects in Lesotho that promote care and welfare of horses and donkeys and they mostly go unnoticed by government and policy makers.

“The training and clinics done by the project so far have helped us assist farmers to treat wounds and to give them advice about feed and the health of their horses. By working together with the National University of Lesotho and World Horse Welfare, we hope to continue to share knowledge and skills needed to shine a spotlight on these hitherto invisible horses and donkeys and get them the help they need”, Dr. Molomo declared.



NUL Faculty of Agriculture, which will be implementing the project, covers horse care training and management through its Bachelor of Science (BSc) Agriculture degree programme (Animal Science, Agricultural Extension and Agricultural Economics). The Faculty currently enrols 125 new students per annum in this programme.


The World Horse Welfare is an international horse charity that improves the lives of horses in the United Kingdom (UK) and worldwide through education, campaigning and hands-on care of horses.  Having been founded in 1927, their approach has been practical, based on scientific evidence and extensive experience, and focused on delivering lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world.



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