The first week of the new year very sad news was released that many animal rescues in Zimbabwe are closing due to lack of funds due to lack of money in the country. Firstly, to clarify, The SPCA is the name of the branches in Zimbabwe as in the 60’s they adopted to strict and well established policies of the UK organisation, the RSPCA. In no way are they affiliated with each other. Each branch runs their own fundraising events to stay open.
This is the press released by the Mutare branch close to the heart of a student (Natasha Woest) at the University of Salford:
Hoping that the New Year has started well for everyone and here’s to it being a positive one!
Having said that, I write to let you know that Mutare SPCA have hit a financial brick wall – despite YOUR AWESOME SUPPORT time and time again! – and face closure if we cannot secure more permanent funding.
As you are all painfully aware, we rely 100% on donations. Most of these come from YOU – either directly or through our fundraising efforts, and this year we were lucky enough to receive a wonderful bequest, without which we would have been writing this letter some months ago.
In these current times we find ourselves fundraising non-stop in our small and amazing community, but still being unable to meet the costs.
In a nutshell:
it costs us about US$ 2400 /month to run the SPCA
a large part of this is our 3 permanent members of staff, then obviously food for our residents, vehicle fuel and R ‘n M, vet costs, dipping service, euthanasia ‘meds’, phone bill etc etc. Our treasurer has a full breakdown for anyone who would like access to it. We are of course reviewing all costs to see how we can trim them further.
$2400 is no easy task to fund raise every month in Zimbabwe in 2017! And we are not the only charity in need and trying to do this. It is proving unsustainable.
So, if you find it hard to imagine Mutare without an SPCA, you will understand how our team feels about it. It is an absolutely unacceptable proposition to close an animal welfare organisation at this time when the needs just grow daily.
What are we doing about investigating other funding options? Everything that we know how and then some!
We are a handful of volunteers, many of whom work full time and none of us are overly expert at funding proposals – but we are getting that way! We are applying for anything and everything that we might possibly be eligible for. Needless to say we have been putting out appeals for some time – and will continue to do so. Bear in mind though, that even if we are successful, most projects will not cover staff salaries – it is just the way that they work. They will cover a neutering program or an educational outreach …but not salaries. Any funding at all would be awesome – but we can only accept it if we are able to use it as intended – which would mean that our already stretched staff and volunteers need to step up again and run these programs….. which I am sure we will manage one way or another.
We are also in the process – with some help – of establishing a web site, and trying to set up a PayPal link so foreign donors can donate easily should they wish to do so.
If anyone out there has ideas and/or time and energy to join our team during this precarious time please just make contact with any one of us. Every extra hand helps – and we need hands now! We desperately need folk who can take a task and run with it so that the load is shared and Mutare SPCA keeps ticking.
So, whilst the battle is not yet over and we assure you that we will fight tooth and claw to keep our SPCA open, this letter serves as a heads-up to our wonderful community that we have already sought legal advice on our position, and should we not prove successful with our efforts to secure funds we will give 3 months notice ahead of closing.
I personally cannot imagine living in a town where there is no safe haven for stray, abused, or abandoned animals.
Mutare SPCA Team.
Well, Natasha immediately contacted the committee to discuss the matters and how can the first world help. Due to an extensive knowledge from Natasha, having managed an animal rescue for 5 years before deciding to attend university, she had hoped her knowledge could be beneficial.
First of all, they do not have a website or a international donation facility, no volunteers apart from the stretched committee and only 3 staff who solely focus on rescuing, welfare, neutering and care for the animals from domestic to farm animals.
In a day, Natasha had built a free website and arranged a contact in the country to help set up a donation gateway. Volunteer job descriptions were drafted, International grant givers were documented to approach, a vet was contacted to help with a neutering program and a design of an International Volunteer Project was roughly designed with a chance to go on a free camping safari as a thank you. It is not like the UK where you can do this in the comfort in your office. Life in Zimbabwe is not easy and you have to fight for anything to get done, pay for any help, wait days to buy a loaf of bread, queue for hours to withdraw a limited amount of cash, not get change in a shop as there is none.
The aim is to win the hearts of all the Zimbabweans living in diaspora. The ones who were forced to leave the country when politics became violent. The remaining Zimbabweans are struggling to make any money to part from it and help one of many organisations needing funds.
The new website will launch on the 9th January 2017 and Natasha is arranging a fundraiser at the University together with the Wildlife Society and fellow classmates. Everyone seems keen to get stuck into this in the new semester.
We hope to post a big success story on the next blog but we will not allow this rescue to close as the animals will have no other help they deserve.