7 Ways Goats Change Lives
Rosalina remembers a time when she could not afford to send her son to school. For lack of funds, the 13-year-old boy was stuck at home, with no opportunities except manual labor.
Rosalina also remembers when ADRA delivered a small herd of goats to Honokuma, her remote village in the mountains of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The goats were brought as a business opportunity for the local ADRA-supported Women Empowerment Group of 25 women, of which Rosalina was a member.
In the beginning, she did not understand the power of those ten little goats. But in the coming months, Rosalina would learn firsthand how goats can overhaul a local economy, elevate gender equality, and transform an entire community.
When most people see a goat, they see a cute barnyard animal. When ADRA sees a goat, we see an investment. Here are 7 ways goats change lives.
1. Goats Keep Giving
When goats breed, they make more goats. When those goats breed, they make even more goats. Within a few months or years, a small herd becomes a large family.
In Honokuma, it didn’t take long for the original ten goats to start making kids (that’s what you call a baby goat). Within a year, those little kids weren’t so little anymore, and the grownup billies and does (male and female adult goats) were ready to start families of their own.
When Rosalina first saw those original ten goats, it was hard for her to understand how so few animals could help the 25 women in her group, let alone transform the entire community.
Within a few months, however, she saw the herd grow in size. Thanks to the goat rotation system that ADRA implements, in which goats are bred and the offspring distributed, each woman in her empowerment group soon had a kid of her own. In conjunction with ADRA’s business training, Rosalina was beginning to see the real value of these goats.
2. Goats Earn Money
It did not take long for Rosalina to learn a big lesson: breeding those fuzzy, bleating creatures is very lucrative. Once each of the 25 women had a goat of her own, and access to other goats for breeding, they were free to sell any future offspring for money. And the money was more than any of the women had ever earned.
When her doe had reached maturity, Rosalina bred it with a billy goat and welcomed her first kid into the world. Before, the kids were redistributed to women who had not yet received a goat. Now that all the women in the group had goats, Rosalina owned everything her goat produced.
So Rosalina sold her furry investment for the equivalent of $50 USD. Soon after, she sold two more and had enough money to enroll her son in school. Now, her son is a student instead of an out-of-school statistic.
And the goats keep on breeding. Thanks to the supplementary business training, Rosalina has learned how to save and how to invest her money. Now, she does not depend on goats alone, but on additional income-generating activities, such as farming, made possible by the funds from her goats.
3. Goats Provide Nutrition
The reason goats bring in $50 USD in Honokuma is because they are very valuable. Milk from a goat has more protein, calcium, vitamins A and B6, potassium, fat and calories than cow milk, with less carbs and lactose. In addition, goat milk can be used to make cheese and yogurt for further dietary diversity.
4. Goats Elevate the most Vulnerable
Before ADRA implements programs, we conduct what is called a needs assessment. In short, it is a way