Dairy Goat Project
If you give women equal rights as persons in a society, and assist them with the basic tools for sustainable agriculture, they take care of the well-being not only of their children, but of the community.
Most children in rural sub-Saharan Africa consume very little milk, meat, fish or fowl. Thus, they do not receive the high quality protein and micronutrients required for growth and development, including iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, vitamin A and vitamin D. Goats’ milk has been proven to be closest to breast milk as a supplement for babies and it can also assist malnourished nursing mothers to produce better quality breast milk. Goats’ milk is also of great benefit to adults who have weakened immune systems. In addition, the sale of male kid goats is a source of cash income that widows can use to pay for the health and education needs of their children; the sale of milk that is surplus to the family’s needs can also help supplement their income.
In 2008 we spent two weeks in Kenya researching community-based dairy goat milk production, which has been particularly successful in the Embu and Meru areas. Kenya is one of two countries in sub-Saharan Africa which maintains a stud book. We visited several communities in the western part of the country in which we could start a dairy goat project, and found in Songhor an enthusiastic community which had been moving in this direction since purchasing 96 pairs of local Kenyan goats in 2006, with help from Eastern Mennonite Missions (USA).
In 2009 we partnered with the Kenya Economic Development & Human Advancement Program (KEDHAP), a committee of the local Mennonite Church which started as an HIV/AIDS Project. We are in our fifth year of this community Dairy Goat Farming project and have paid for the professional training and certification of a Dairy Goat Manager by CREPP, the Community Rehabilitation and Environmental Protection Programme. On-site training supplied by government agriculture officials has been given to all 300 participating widows, who are grouped into twelve geographic clusters. Training covered animal husbandry, fodder planting, pen construction, breeding and record-keeping. A recent inspection by Mennonite Central Committee officials stated:
“As you hoped, we had a great time in Nandi and the turn of events over there is quite encouraging. More goat pens are coming up and most women have now enclosed their local goats to the pens!! No more goat roaming [which prevents] lots of ticks. This is indeed really good as a way of preparation for the upgrading process and for receiving the purebred goats.”
This has all been accomplished thanks to your dollars in support of Hands Up Out Of Poverty™.