Who We Are

We’re run by a small but passionate team of unpaid volunteers who are determined to improve the welfare of domestic animals across Botswana. Each member of our core management team works full time in a non-MAWS job but we somehow find the time to help protect Botswana's wildlife through domestic animal welfare.
Tana Hutchings has lived in Maun since she was three years old, and is a founding member of MAWS. Tana is completely focused on animal welfare and has five dogs of her own – including two three-legged hounds. Without Tana there would be no MAWS, and she can often be found dashing around town in her canine collection unit, collecting outpatients and handling emergency cases. 

The infamous (in a good way) Mervyn Palmer has lived in Maun all her life, and first brought MAWS to life as The Dog Project in 1998. The present day MAWS clinic sits within Mervyn’s grounds, a situation that has resulted in Mervyn’s large collection of rescue dogs which numbers from 8-12 at any one time. Sterilising dogs is Mervyn’s purpose in life and she will educate anyone who'll listen about the many benefits of neutering.


Ally Lamb arrived in Maun in 2010 and was flabbergasted at the volume of Botswana’s free-roaming dogs and donkeys. Completely animal crackers, Ally realised that the only way to retain her sanity was to get involved – and she joined MAWS shortly after. Ally left Maun in 2013 but she is still heavily involved from a distance – coordinating our volunteers, and managing both our marketing and grant seeking. 


A long term resident of Maun (20 years and counting), Virginia Possemiers is another of the founding members of MAWS. Virginia’s rural property sits on a large plot of land – which is just as well given that at the last count she had 10 dogs and 10 cats. Virginia looks after the majority of the kittens that we find, and is often spotted in Maun cajoling raffle prizes from local businesses and selling event tickets for our community fundraisers.


Swiss national Marie Van Meer has lived in Botswana for more than 20 years. The softest touch imaginable when it comes to animals, Marie has around 6-8 of her own dogs at any one time and fosters the vast majority of the puppies that pass through MAWS’ doors. On average Marie homes one puppy per week, a spectacular result which thankfully keeps her own canine community at a manageable number.


Our Canine Elder Statesman, Buffalo Bill, is named after the Vet (or buffalo) Fence where he was abandoned in 2011. Buffalo Bill is a well-travelled boy: rescued from the bush some 2 hours’ drive from Maun, he was then driven 8 hours south to Gaborone for rehoming, and subsequently collected for the 8 hour trip back when the planned home fell through. Buffalo Bill has earned his retirement and can usually be found snoozing in the sunshine on the grassy lawn at our vet accommodation.