The township dog training initiative Funda Nenja has its 10th anniversary coming up later this year.
“When looking back to the early days of the dog training programme, one of the things that stands out is the remarkable change in the relationship between first time learners and their dogs,” says project administrator Lisa Button.
“In those early days, we had to work really hard to encourage new handlers to touch their dogs appropriately and to be comfortable hand feeding them, which is necessary for training,” she said.
“These days, we see a much more relaxed and caring interaction between new handlers and their dogs, which are mostly in excellent physical condition.”
Funda Nenja put this down to the knock-on effect the programme has had in the Mpophomeni township as a whole, with those who have attended the dog school being agents of change in their wider community.
Lisa urged continued support for the initiative so they could continue their work and so outreach could be expanded. Those wishing to make a financial contribution, should use the following bank details:
FNB – Howick
Account number: 6245 8766 197
Branch number: 220 725
About Funda Nenja: Started in 2009, the name roughly translates from isiZulu to mean “learning with a dog”.
The Funda Nenja model aims to nurture children into caring and responsible young adults while at the same time opening up possibilities for their self-development.
The dogs are used to teach these principles and in so doing creates the bond between child and dog. By using the training technique, the youngsters learn discipline and respect when interacting with parents, teachers, people of different cultures and their environment.
The programme is delivered in a safe and secure environment using the dog training technique.
Funda Nenja works in Mpophomeni township just outside Howick, which has more than 30 000 residents.
An extension of the project is the School Education Progamme. Facilitators are equipped to deliver life skills lessons to develop primary school pupils as well as to provide education on animal and environmental welfare.
More information is available on the website.