Jordan is a beautiful country and holds a very special place in my heart, however, it has a very long way to go when it comes to animal welfare. Not only are the labor animals not being treated properly in Petra, but there is a huge problem when it comes to the treatment of the stray dog population across Jordan. In short, there is a canicide going on and the lack of resources and education are causing the government to choose shooting the stray dogs instead of seriously implementing an Animal Birth Control programme.
At the moment Jordan has a few animal rescue organizations, but resources are extremely limited due to many reasons, but a large part is due to lack of governmental support.
Back in October 2017, a new group of animal welfare activists came together and registered Al-Rahmeh Association. I sat down with Rasha Maitah, one of the founders to find out more about their mission and strategies to help rescue, rehabilitate and re-home Jordan’s stray dogs while educating the public.
How did Al-Rahmeh begin?
The start of Al-Rahmeh began when three animal welfare activists (Rasha, Muna, and Rami) were working together as a team to rescue, treat and find homes for injured animals they came across. The three of them had already been rescuing individually for many years at that time. Later on, a British couple (Jonny and Michaela) contacted them wanting to join the cause. They began by creating a Facebook group called Animals Jordan (now Mercy for Animals Jordan) then they decided to register as a legitimate charity organization. That’s when 5 more animal welfare activists (Hiba, Noor, Fadi, Farah and Randa) came onboard and they all joined forces to improve the lives of Animals in Jordan.
A Registered Charity – RAFAJ
In October 2017, the registration of RAFAJ (Rahmeh Association for Animals in Jordan) was approved by the Ministry of Development and we became registered under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.
The strategy was then put in place for the implementation of their mission and strategic actions.
Keep reading to find out more about Al Rahmeh and how you can get involved!
Al Rahmeh’s Mission
Al Rahmeh is committed to:
- Increasing the public’s awareness of its responsibility towards animals.
- Promoting a humane society.
- Preventing cruelty, alleviate pain, fear, and suffering of animals.
- Providing the best possible care for animals in need.
- Promoting the importance of animals in the Ecological Balance.
Main Drivers Affecting Animal Welfare Status in Jordan
To understand how they can successfully help animals in Jordan, they have identified the main common drivers affecting the welfare status of animals in the country:
- Lack of animal welfare culture and sympathy in many areas of the country.
- Lack of law regulations that protect animals whether from the abuse of the
public or even their owners.
- Lack of sanctuaries or shelters to accommodate rescued animals. There are only two shelters only for cats and dogs and usually, they are full.
- Tendencies by the majority of the public towards encouraging the rampage shooting of strays especially dogs considering them to be threats to their
children and disregarding the importance of animals in the ecological
- Disrespect towards the Jordanian National Dog Breed (The Canaan Dog); one of the best and most ancient natural breeds that survived the exposure to human intervention.
To begin to make changes, they have developed a strategy which includes 5 main pillars:
- Rescuing and Re-homing Program
- Awareness Program
- Advocacy Program
- Volunteering Program
In order to turn their strategy pillars into actionable items, they have broken the strategic actions into: establishment, a rescuing program, awareness, advocacy and a volunteering program.
Establishment is about creating the network that will bring together Animal Welfare activists in one community to:
- Discuss policies, issues, and activities.
- Identify sources of expertise, educational programs, and other animal welfare related issues.
- Form a Board that will be in charge of following up the implementation of plans.
- Form an executive committee that will be divided into 4 groups distributed according to the Strategy Pillars.
- Build relationships with all entities that contribute whether directly or indirectly to the welfare of Animals in Jordan and seek opportunities for collaboration, such entities include: Municipalities, Veterinary Union, Veterinary Clinics, Ministries, Jordan Rangers, Media and the Jordanian Parliament.
The creation of a rescuing program involves establishing a rescuing team will be in charge of:
- Locating animals that require immediate help and rush them to the nearest vet clinic.
- Vaccinate and Sterilize them after recovery.
- Move them to the Headquarter of the Association where a team of volunteers along with employees will be in charge of training and offering care for them.
- Look for a forever home for these rescued animals.
The Awareness Programs will be focusing on the following areas:
- Ecological balance awareness: Dogs in their habitats will be offered food and water by a group of volunteers who will seek the help of the residents around and educate them on the importance of these dogs in the ecological balance; this will keep them away from residential areas. Once volunteers establish communication and trust with dogs, with the collaboration of the Municipality, Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) will be applied then tagging them with available ear or collar tags. This program will be continued until all areas are covered.
- School/Universities Awareness program: In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, students will be taught on how to deal with stray dogs and precautions to take when coming across a stray.
- Social Media Awareness program: that includes videos promoting sympathy towards animals while highlighting their importance in our lives.
- Promote Canaan Dogs and shorthaired domestic cats to the public and encourage adopting our national dog and cat breeds.
Their Advocacy Program will focus on changing the law to prevent animal abuse, in collaboration with:
- The Jordanian Parliament
- Jordan Rangers
- Ministry of Environment
The creation of a volunteer program will focus on bringing as many volunteers as possible to help with the implementation of the above-mentioned programs.
*Want to volunteer with Al Rahmeh? More information at the end of the article.
Building a sanctuary for rescued animals will be broken down into two steps:
- The first step will be fostering the rescued animals in our headquarter which is located on a secluded farm 30 minutes away from Amman, a 2-floor building surrounded by 11 acres land that is equipped with kennels and quarantine rooms.
- The second step is to Collaborate with RSS (Royal Society of Science) and raise funds to build a sanctuary that will accommodate as many dogs as possible and train them to be service dogs, since our priority in the meantime to solve the problem of Canaan dogs being the major issue in the area. The sanctuary will also accommodate other animals in need of a shelter such as abandoned donkey and horses, abandoned cats, and animals that are in danger of going extinct due to being shot by farmers.
How You Can Volunteer With Al-Rahmeh
Animal Welfare activists can help by joining the Al-Rahmeh association and becoming effective members so that we all work together to improve the lives of animals in Jordan.
If you don’t have the time to volunteer, they also need donations of dog/cat food, scratchers, litter boxes, crates, collars, leashes, blankets, furniture, bowls, etc.
And of course, they are always looking for foster homes and adopters for their rescue animals.
Get in contact with them via Facebook: Mercy Animals Jordan
Contact e-mail: email@example.com
Contact Phone Number: +962 798450419