Celebrating our international colleagues 

Posted on 06/03/2024

Celebrating our international colleagues 

As we head towards our centenary we celebrate the role of women in our organisation, from our founder Ada Cole to our dedicated teams today who work to improve the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide. 

We continue to be inspired by Ada who was a fearless pioneer against cruelty to animals and a relentless campaigner. Her concerns around humankind’s duty of care and fair treatment of horses remain central issues today.  

Ada’s values, ethos and pragmatic approach still beat at the heart of the charity and in celebration of International Women’s Day 2024 we catch up with seven inspirational women from World Horse Welfare’s International team. 

Maria Batista – Regional Coordinator for Latin America

What is your role and where do you work? 

Hi! I’m Maria from Costa Rica. I am one of the Regional Coordinators for Latin America. I joined the team about six months ago and I work with the projects in Haiti and Cuba. 

What are your career highlights while working with World Horse Welfare? 

There are many highlights to being a Regional Coordinator, but there are two aspects that I hold close to my heart. The first is being able to collaborate with a multicultural team across the region and within the network. The second one is being able to support local organisations in their mission to improve equine welfare and the sustainable development of people in their communities. I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organisation that is committed to both equine welfare and social development. 

If I think about a highlight moment so far, it would definitely be meeting my peers in person at an event. I think there is so much that can’t be conveyed over a screen. It was a wonderful opportunity, and it meant a lot to me. I am grateful to be a part of World Horse Welfare and I look forward to many more years to come. 

Penny Ward – Regional Coordinator for Africa

How long have you worked with World Horse Welfare? 

I’ve been part of the International team since 2014 and I thoroughly enjoy working with a diverse group of people who are experienced, highly committed, hard-working and very supportive. 

What are your career highlights while working with World Horse Welfare? 

In my work with our African partners, I am often struck by seemingly everyday happenings, which represent the culmination of a great deal of hard work and dedication behind the scenes. Such efforts have had a positive impact on the lives of countless owners, horses and donkeys. 

For example, seeing community-based advisors, trained by veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe, giving sound advice to owners to help them better care for the donkeys; seeing animal welfare practitioners graduate from Cart Horse Protection Association’s comprehensive equine welfare training programme with better skills and knowledge; witnessing government veterinary officers actively engaging horse owners during outreach activities in Lesotho, and observing cart horse owners in Senegal able to support their households through taking better care of their working horses. These achievements demonstrate everyone’s contribution to improving equine welfare and it is very motivating to be part of these exciting projects. 

Lorena Barrantes – Regional Coordinator for Honduras, Colombia and Costa Rica 

Tell us what it’s like working for World Horse Welfare? 

Working for World Horse Welfare has changed my life, it has been an opportunity to make a difference, build meaningful intercultural relationships and to become an advocate for change in this world. 

This role has also allowed me to grow personally, reinforce my sense of purpose, connect with nature and work with joy and gratefulness. 

What are your career highlights while working with World Horse Welfare? 

Overall, working in animal welfare, human development and community growth has offered me the privilege of a unique combination of personal fulfilment, meaningful work, and opportunities to create positive change for animals and society as a whole. 

Knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others has given me a profound sense of humanity and gratitude. 

Debbie Warboys – International Programme Officer

What is your role and where do you work? 

I’ve worked with World Horse Welfare in a number of roles since 2010.  

I started as a consultant in education for business administration for local equine service providers in Latin America, which is where I was living at the time. I then worked as a Regional Coordinator and was responsible for the initial start-up of various projects in Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Colombia. In 2021 I relocated back to the UK and started the position of International Programme Officer, managing the countries of Cuba, Senegal, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. 

What are your career highlights while working with World Horse Welfare? 

My favourite part of the job is travelling, being able to speak different languages and working with people from across the globe. I enjoy working with external partner organisations, horse owners in local communities and children in the educational programmes.  

My proudest achievements include presenting at World Water Week in 2023, founding an Equine Welfare Charity in Costa Rica (C.R.E.W.) and presenting my research at the 7th International Colloquium on Working Equids in 2014. Most recently, it was ‘surviving’ a week’s long camping trip in the Senegalese bush where I stayed with local families whilst looking for evidence to demonstrate the importance of working equids with access to water. 

Natasha Lee – Regional Coordinator for Nepal and Cambodia

What are your favourite career highlights working with World Horse Welfare? 

Getting to meet so many dedicated and passionate people that want to help the neglected working equines. In particular, working with both Cambodia Pony Welfare Organisation and Animal Nepal, seeing them progress and making a real difference in their countries. 

Sue Millman – International Resource Officer

What is your role and where do you work? 

I am the longest standing member in the International department and have worked with World Horse Welfare since July 2000.  

My role is to provide administrative support to the department, and I’m the main point of contact for the finance department. As well as that, I liaise with the external partners – mostly with the Project Coordinators and the Regional Coordinators – who are located around the world.  

I coordinate all of the travel arrangements for the team, finalising logistical plans for anyone travelling internationally and ensuring that vital travel documents are completed and can be accessed in case of an emergency. 

What are your career highlights while working with World Horse Welfare? 

My proudest achievement was the vital role I played in the planning and implementation of the 7th International Colloquium on Working Equids. The week-long event took place at the Royal Holloway University of London for approximately 150 participants, many of which were from across the world. As well as liaising with the sponsored participants, I organised a vast amount of travel arrangements and ensured that logistics were all covered so that the event was successful. 

Susan Blanchard – Regional Coordinator for Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico and Romania

What is your role and where do you work? 

I am based in Tampa in the United States and I’m the Regional Coordinator for Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico and Romania. I have worked on the International team for almost three years. 

It is the most rewarding position that I’ve ever had. In addition to the experienced and compassionate team in the UK, I work with diverse projects that are multifaceted. I work with their distinctive leaders and staff within their unique cultures, norms, and governments to try to improve the welfare of working equids. 

What are your favourite career highlights working with World Horse Welfare?  

My project specific highlights include: 

In 2024, the project in Panama opened their own office which was a product of a land donation by the local government and subsequent help by World Horse Welfare, generous private donors and a committed team of local volunteers. They worked tirelessly to ensure the building was a place in which the equid community would feel supported and one that the community would use and be proud of. 

In 2023, the project in Mexico successfully trained and graduated 28 new rural vets with an expertise in equine care. This work will positively impact the many equids throughout the region of Oaxaca and hopefully beyond! 

In 2024, we began a new project in Romania working with an existing NGO and a strong female Project Coordinator. We are working in an area that still relies heavily on their horses to carry out their daily work and provide for their families. Although it is early, it seems like the project is off to a strong start and will be looking at how it can positively impact their equids, their owners and their communities. 

In 2023 the Project Coordinator in Nicaragua, working within the constraints of the current government, formed a new alliance with a private university who trains rural veterinarians. She works with the Director of the Veterinary Program (also a woman) and is focused on ensuring the equids are well represented in the curriculum and that the students know how to work successfully with them as much focus in veterinary programmes is usually on small animals. 

It is such a privilege to work with so many caring people in so many unique environments, it’s not fair to call it a “job”. 

Our international work with partner organisations and horse-owning communities, helps us to better understand the challenges that equids and their owners are facing around the world. We currently work in sixteen countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, where working equines are vital to livelihoods. 

Take a look at our international projects

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