Catch up with the winner of the 2019 World Animal Day grant

As you might be aware, the winner of the 2019 World Animal Day grant was the Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society (LAWCS), led by Morris Darbo. If you aren’t familiar with the project aimed at creating a caring and socially responsible environment where animals and people live together in harmony, then it’s worth checking out the link above.

We are pleased to share with you an update on the project funded by the 2019 World Animal Day grant in Liberia.

Written by Haja Talawallay, Administrative Manager, LAWCS

The project creates the opportunity for schoolchildren and community groups to sit, discuss, analyse and talk about the plight of all animals and how they can help address the inhumane conditions which companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife are subjected to.

During the three months prior to COVID-19, the LAWCS team established functional Animal Welfare Focus Groups in 20 new communities and Animal Kindness Clubs in 20 more schools. The purpose of these groups is to empower them to serve as voices for animals in their respective communities and schools.

Our team also met and inspired 2315 children and 1012 community people during the school and community engagement programme. The team visited four markets and created awareness among the stallholders about the protection of wildlife in the country and the negative impact of bushmeat and wildlife trafficking.

All of these activities have helped to reduce cruelty towards animals, the bushmeat trade, and wildlife trafficking. Community members are now aware of the wildlife protection law of Liberia. The students and community members are now serving as ambassadors for the welfare and protection of animals in their communities. With increased knowledge, they feel empowered and are now happy and willing to report any illegal wildlife activities, or cases of animal cruelty, to the relevant authorities including LAWCS.

The current pandemic has, of course, had an impact upon the movement of the team involved in the World Animal Day project. The first COVID-19 case was recorded in Liberia on March 16, which resulted in the country going into lockdown from April 1 to May 15.

While at home, the LAWCS team continued to reach out to children through phone calls and social media, doing all they could to ensure animals continued to be cared for and protected during this challenging time. Amazingly, they managed to contact 215 children with various messages on animal protection and COVID-19.

From May 18, the staff have been operating a door to door engagement programme. During the period May 18 to June 3, 212 homes were visited enabling the team to assess the condition of the animals and raise awareness of how to care for them properly. The training of community leaders and school authorities will resume as soon as LAWCS is able to return to normal activities.

Quote from Morris Darbo, World Animal Day Ambassador:

We are so grateful to you for the support. It has enabled us to expand our animal protection work and to include the importance of protecting the country’s wildlife. We have planted a solid foundation in each of the communities and schools about the welfare and protection of all animals. We are hoping to restart full implementation of the World Animal Day project again soon.

We will continue to update you on all the activities and achievements of the project. Thank you very much for making this project possible in Liberia which is helping to create permanent improvements for all animals. 

View our short video about this project 

- June 25, 2020