IFAW knows that communities benefit from healthy and happy dogs and cats. Our approach includes both urgent, hands-on care at flagship projects around the world, as well as strategies to help communities create long-term, sustainable plans to manage their companion animals humanely.
We strive to ensure that animals are happy and healthy because their basic needs are met, a concept we call Adequate Guardianship. This means that every dog and cat should get enough food, water and basic veterinary care. Equally, every animal should have access to shelter, exercise and companionship.
Even dogs roaming the streets can receive adequate guardianship so long as there is an individual or group of individuals to ensure their basic needs are met, and to take responsibility for providing any requirements that may be missing.
When a community begins working together to ensure its animals are cared for, they are able to improve the lives of dogs, cats, and people in the short and long-term. That is why we created Humane Community Development (HCD). This unique approach recognizes that every community needs its own unique plan, and that community participation is the key to effective solutions.
In order to help the most animals and support the most communities, IFAW’s HCD utilizes a set of participatory tools to better understand a community’s problems and unique population of dogs and cats. We bring community members together in participatory style workshops to help them understand the root causes of their concerns, and how to create management plans that addresses the specific needs of dogs, cats and people in their community.
In 2013, IFAW launched this new approach and set of tools through a partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Citizens Security Forums in Bosnia, which identified roaming dogs as a human security issue, and through partnership with Veterinarians without Borders-Canada, Latin America Regional Office in Puerto Natales, Chile, which had identified health threats to humans from roaming dogs. This partnership was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, and IFAW has committed to annual reports on the progress of the partnership.
For more information on this approach and our recommended tools, see Guidance for Communities.