Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) is a non-profit organisation that works to save, protect and improve the lives of all animals in Bali. Founded by Janice Girardi, an American jewellery designer, BAWA is carrying the mission of improving the lives of Bali’s animals through rescue, rehabilitation, education and advocacy.
They provide emergency response and rescue, rehabilitation and adoption, while at the same time practicing humane population control, disease control and runs intensive education and advocacy programmes for sustainable improvement to animal welfare now and into the future. Having 40 Indonesian staff including veterinary specialists, investigators, educators, street feeders and dog walkers, they commit to do everything they can to ensure the immediate health and wellbeing of animals and to facilitate sustainable improvement of animal welfare.
While BAWA continues their frontline work to rescue and save animals in distress, their longer-term vision is to create natural sanctuaries for animals in Bali. The vision relies on education and advocacy for sustainable change and has developed partly from their important work in banjars (village organization) with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). They would like to further develop and extend this program with IFAW and an important new partner and to focus it on One Health principles that recognise that safe and healthy populations of animals help create safe and healthy communities for humans too.
As for the source of funds, BAWA relies on donations to fund its work. They have a truly wonderful network of supporters around the world. Many of them have travelled to Bali and understand that an environment that is safe and healthy for animals is safe and healthy for humans too. Because of this, BAWA hopes to see more tourist businesses come to Bali and support their work which clearly supports their industry.
Apart from the financial, another challenge they are facing is working effectively and sensitively in an environment in which both cultural and introduced practices can contravene accepted standards of animal welfare. Having very little recourse to the law, which does not properly protect animals from cruelty, is another.
They wish that the Bali government would revoke or amend the Regulation prohibiting the export of dogs from Bali. Properly regulated export is better for rabies control than uncontrolled, covert export which is what happens now. The government has shown little respect or appreciation for Bali’s pure indigenous dog which is at risk of extinction.
However, as difficult as it looks, Janice believes that animal rescue is the most heartbreaking work she has ever done. But it is also the most joyful and rewarding. In her eyes, rescuing animal brings such endless unconditional love.