January 18, 2017
By Janice Biehn
Zainabu Kilaza is a mother of two living in the village of Stesheni in Nachingwea district, Tanzania. Her two dairy goats produce eight litres of milk each day. She and her two children drink two litres a day and sell the remaining six. The income allows her to buy more food, as well as clothes and school supplies.
For more than 15 years, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has supported the Diocese of Masasi of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, among others, by gifting one or two purebred dairy goats to families of subsistence farmers and other vulnerable groups. Raising funds to match money invested by Global Affairs Canada, PWRDF also helps its partners monitor and report the results to Canadian Anglicans and the Government of Canada.
That’s a lot of goats!
This past Christmas, through the 2016 Gifts for Mission gift guide, Canadians were encouraged to give a gift of $80 for one dairy goat or $160 to cover the cost of two goats (for breeding).
PWRDF is proud to report that Canadians donated just over $54,000 this year towards the purchase of goats — enough to buy 681 goats for families in need in Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique and Rwanda, in villages where our programs are running. PWRDF will work with local leaders to identify families and individuals who will receive the goats in the coming months.
The goats do more than provide milk and protein. By selling two goats in 2015, Kilaza was able to earn the Tshs 1,200,000 (approximately $728) necessary to send her children to school. In an interview with Joachim Sapuli, one of two livestock officers from the Diocese of Masasi, Kilaza said it wouldn’t have been possible without the dairy goat program.
The typical nanny goat provides between two to four litres of milk per day, offering a higher nutritional value than cow’s milk. This is particularly important for pregnant women, lactating mothers, children, people living with AIDS, and senior citizens who require more calcium in their diets. The goats’ propensity to produce kids, often twins, on an annual basis can provide other families in the community with goats of their own, while surplus milk can be sold on the market to supplement incomes.
An important part of the project is ensuring that one billy goat is available in a village and rotated among five or more nanny goats. When the nanny goats give birth to kids, beneficiaries are required to pass the first-born to another family selected by the diocese and local leaders. The original family is able to keep all subsequent kids produced by their own nanny goat. Beneficiaries must sign “pass on” agreements and follow stated regulations, while a livestock officer and other diocesan project staff members visit beneficiaries regularly as part of normal monitoring duties.
A small goat makes a big difference
The positive impact of a single dairy goat on families can be profound, providing a source of fresh, nutritious milk on a daily basis, as well as manure for gardens. For those suffering from AIDS, goat’s milk helps boost the body’s immune system, which in turn increases the effectiveness of anti-retroviral medication. Moreover, the sale of surplus milk can help provide families with an additional source of income, particularly for those with two or more goats.
“I am grateful to God that I am alive,” said Kilaza. “I feel happy and healthy. If I would not be the beneficiary of this dairy goat program, I would have died. Many have died, but I am glad I have been alive to see this change.”
The Government of Canada matches every dollar raised by PWRDF six to one. So with the budget for the dairy goat project recently halved in the “All Mothers and Children Count” project — to free up funds for desperately needed water wells in some areas — the gifts of Canadian Anglicans supporting the goat program are more needed than ever.
– with files from General Synod Communications