Sustainable Change

Program Dharma

Program Dharma is an innovative, community-based One
Health initiative that aims to build healthy communities,
based on the principle that protecting your dogs
will also protect your family and your neighbours.

Healthy Animals, Safe Communities

Program Dharma, a collaboration between BAWA, Udayana University, and the Centre for Public Health Innovation (CPHI), works to empower village leaders to take charge in the fight against rabies.

The program provides communities with the knowledge, training, and tools to ensure their animals are healthy, cared for, and vaccinated, to maintain herd immunity and control the threat of rabies in both dogs and humans.

Support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), FOUR PAWS Australia, Green School Bali, and independent funders has made this program possible and seen it expand in recent years.

Teams go from house to house, sometimes by foot across rough terrain, collecting information on the number of dogs within the village, their vaccination status and date, and overall health.

Teams provide face-to-face advice and information on animal care, rabies and it’s prevention, rabies first aid, and the benefits of the One Health approach, raising the overall awareness and understanding of how animal health is tied into human health.

Program Dharma villages organise their own Animal Health Days through BAWA as per the needs of the community, to provide sterilisation and routine rabies vaccination, and address any animal health issues or concerns.

Indonesia’s First Regulation Against Dog Meat

In 2018, Program Dharma was instrumental in establishing Indonesia’s first ever village regulation in Sanur Kaja, explicitly banning the dog meat trade and all related acts of cruelty to dogs. Since then, a further two village regulations and one cultural village regulation have been introduced in Program Dharma villages.

In the fight against rabies, dogs are not the enemy. They are the guardians and protectors of our communities.