Rwanda Animal Welfare Organization (RAWO) is a local Non-Governmental Organisation based in Rwanda. The RAWO’s vision is “a world in which animals are treated with respect and compassion.  Its mission is to advance animal welfare in Rwanda by improving the wellbeing of animals and humans. RAWO aims to engage the local community in promoting the Five Freedoms (Five Needs) of animals through education and communication, and to work with key stakeholders to ensure animal welfare is always considered in decision-making at the local, regional, and national levels. Additionally, RAWO is committed to managing dog populations humanely, improving environmental conservation and public health, and exploring the implications of technology on human and animal wellbeing.

The organisation has five permanent staff, including an Executive Director, Program Manager, Accountant, and two field veterinarians. RAWO collaborates with Rwanda local and central veterinary institutions, primarily providing advocacy and occasional in-kind support.

RAWO’s Executive Director, Dr Jean Claude Masengesho, is a Rwandan veterinary surgeon passionate about animal welfare who has a strong educational background and extensive professional experience in veterinary medicine and animal welfare advocacy. He graduated from the University of Rwanda, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine (BVM) between 2010 and 2014. He also undertook further training in animal care and welfare at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, in 2015 for a period of 6 months. He later, in 2018, completed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on Project Management. He has been involved in several Animal Welfare and One Health projects in Rwanda, for instance; he played a pivotal role at the New Vision Veterinary Hospital, where he served as a veterinarian and heads of the laboratories and he was the project Manager of WTS in Rwanda where he contributed in advancement of Animal Welfare in Rwanda specifically through Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of Rwandan Vets and Para-vets. His career and contributions have made a significant impact in the field of animal welfare and veterinary medicine, and he continues to be a driving force in advancing these causes both within Rwanda and on a global scale. He is the founder and Executive Director of Rwanda Animal Welfare Organisation (RAWO).

RAWO is establishing an international animal welfare network and is in direct contact with animal welfare experts from various parts of the world, including Professor John Cooper and Mrs. Professor Margaret from Cambridge University, Mr. Harry Eckman, Co-Founder & CEO of Change for Animal Foundation, Dr. David Williams from Cambridge University, and Dr Fordyce B.Vet.Med, PhD, DWEL, DECAWBM, AFHEA MRCVS from University of Cambridge.

The RAWO is implementing the following projects:

  1.  Raising animal welfare awareness for livestock farmers in Musanze district 2021-2023, was funded by WTS – from Germany.
  2. Cage-Free Awareness Campaign Project: RAWO in cooperation with Open Wing Alliance are implementing the project which discourage chickens battery cage usage and adoption in Rwanda.
  3. RAWO is undertaking the project named Humane Education for children in Musanze district, with the RAWO team reaching out to students from high school and primary schools. RAWO is teaching them about animal welfare, environment conservation and the One Health Approach. RAWO is assisting students to establish animal welfare clubs in their schools 
  4. RAWO is in cooperation with Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) in implementing the project named: Humane Dog Population Management, where they are organising together canine mass vaccination, identification and castration of dogs at the same time raising awareness about animal welfare, Five Freedoms of animals and Responsible Dog Ownership.

RAWO is working officially under the Certificate of Legal Personality No 788/RGB/NGO/LP/12/2021 given by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB)

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