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Innovation…with donkeys?

One of our latest innovations is creating a lot of buzz: donkey ambulances! These “donkulances” (so named by GTLI friend and supporter Dr. William Himango) are specially constructed metal carts designed to transport pregnant mothers. They are outfitted with a canvas top, removable litter and mattress, and animal-friendly harasses. Slow and unconventional? Yes, but they are community-owned and community-operated and are always available. Previously a pregnant mother would either have to be carried by litter or walk one or two days to the nearest health facility.

GTLI Donkey Ambulance

GTLI Donkey Ambulance


We first introduced donkey ambulances in Dasenech, and after a few months the results are encouraging.

  • A trip made by a donkey ambulance can turn a multiple day walk into a six hour ride.
  • Within the first two weeks, pregnant Dasenech used the donkey ambulances seven times.
  • Patients pay what they can for the service, usually 5¢ to 20¢, which is used for donkey care.

Community acceptance of the donkey ambulances has been even better than expected. The Dasenech communities love the freedom and ease of transportation the donkey ambulances provide, allowing them far easier access to government health facilities.

As a community member states:

We like the donkey ambulance, which is why we constructed and prepared the village roads by hand. Before the donkey ambulance, we had to pay more than 2,000 birr in cows and goats to transport a patient or pregnant women to the health center. Now our community has decided each transported person must pay 50 birr. Thank you, GTLI (and APC) for saving our life and money.


Marti MartindaleInnovation…with donkeys?
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