NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) announced the establishment of its approach to helping communities living in fear or risk of attacks or health threats from roaming dogs as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action at the CGI Annual Meeting in New York.
IFAW's "Humane Communities: Security, Health and Animal Welfare Commitment" will develop a framework for communities to manage their dog populations humanely and sustainably in six Bosnian communities and one community in Chile.
"Too often we see communities resorting to dog culls or mass sheltering after roaming dog attacks or disease outbreaks, which sadly does little to alleviate the long-term problem. The dogs suffer cruel confinement or brutal deaths and the people continue to live in fear," said Kate Atema, Director of IFAW's Companion Animal program.
"The dogs are just being dogs. The causes for these problems and the solutions both lie in the value that the community places on the animals, conflicts over perspectives, information, and the power of communities to manage issues that concern them. IFAW's unique approach focuses on empowerment of the community to generate momentum and tools for humane, sustainable and long-term improvements."
Each community with a roaming dog population is unique and needs to find its own solutions that will improve security in the community in the long-term. We saw that the way to make a difference with roaming dogs was for IFAW to partner with a human development organization already working in the community using a truly collaborative approach."
As part of the CGI Commitment, IFAW is partnering with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to assist six communities in Bosnia that have identified roaming dogs as a security threat.
UNDP discovered that people were scared to walk on the streets or let their children play outside because of the dogs through UNDP Citizens Security Forums that identified roaming dogs as a human security issue.
"IFAW's community-based approach integrates with the work that UNDP is already doing and helps the communities themselves find the solution that works for them."
"We will use existing mechanisms and identify strengths already in the communities to empower people to help themselves and their dogs," said Ms. Atema.
The CGI Commitment also covers a project that IFAW is partnering on with Veterinarians without Borders- Canada, Latin America Regional Office to implement in Puerto Natales, Chile.
Puerto Natales is in Chile's Patagonia which has one of the highest prevalence of hydatid disease in the world. This parasitic disease is transmitted from dogs to humans causing cysts to grow on their organs and in some cases is fatal.
"IFAW's participatory process, which brings together key local stakeholders, may be the first time individuals on different sides of the issue come together to discuss and understand what's happening with the dogs in their city." said Ms. Atema. "In Puerto Natales, several participants entered our first workshop very skeptical of the process. However, because participants worked together to create a plan to address roaming dogs in their community, they all walked out with belief in that plan and a commitment to follow it. That is extremely gratifying."
"This community has struggled for many years with this issue, but through their willingness and dedication to learn and be part of a new approach, they are working together to find meaningful, relevant and long-lasting solutions for their community. I feel proud to be part of this process with IFAW, the local government and the people of Puerto Natales," said Dr. Garde.
As part of the CGI Commitment, IFAW is looking to work with CGI members to provide financial support, expert assistance with workshop design and populations/environmental modeling, facilitator training and methods to foster behavior change.
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEO's, heads of foundations and NGO's, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.5 billion.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United states, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American Leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare