How It Works
A unique self-sustaining program that produces exponential results.
The Goat Project operates through centers established in vulnerable communities throughout the country, with a local church in the community as a meeting point for beneficiaries. The local church leadership is responsible for supervising and ensuring the success of the in the community. Today we have 51 centers reaching over 700 women.
Typically, a community leader contacts the Project and asks for a center to be established. We evaluate their commitment, the need (not hard to find), and the availability of free grassland near the recipients. Once the request is approved, 10-20 initial beneficiaries are chosen by the community leaders. Initial beneficiaries are always the most vulnerable women in the community, with widows and single mothers being favored.
The identified beneficiaries are taught the purposes of the project and its policies, which are:
Each beneficiary who receives a she-goat must take good care of the goat. If the goat dies due to the beneficiary's neglect, she must replace it through her own means. If it dies from reasons beyond the beneficiary’s control, or is stolen, the church in the community must replace it. (This shouldn’t be much of a problem, as the goats are a local breed that is disease-resistant and very easy to care for, and there is plenty of grass in this areas for these goats to eat.)
The beneficiary must return the second and fourth she-goat offspring from her goat to the Project, so they can be given to other beneficiaries in the community. This ensures that once the Project is launched in a community, it is self-sustaining and can be continued until every woman in need has a goat. The offspring returned must be female and 8-10 months old. If the initial goat produces a male, the beneficiary works with community leaders to either sell it or exchange it for a female, until the beneficiary has at least one she-goat for herself and one to give away. Communities have access to billy goats, so finding a breeding partner is not difficult.
The beneficiary must continue breeding her goat until she has at least seven total goats (2 for the project and at least 5 for the beneficiary). This takes 30-48 months on average, depending on the reproduction rates of the goat(s). Before she reaches this milestone, the goats still belong to the project and the beneficiary is not allowed to get rid of the goat(s) by any means, including selling, killing, giving away, etc. If she does, she is obligated to pay for the goats by her own means and return the remaining goats to the Project, so they can be given to others. In effect, we are "loaning" her the goat until she reaches 5+2 goats. This keeps the beneficiary, her husband, or others from using the goat for other purposes, such as paying off debts or eating the goat.
Once the beneficiaries agree to these policies, they are given a pregnant she-goat. They then form a women's group and elect a chairperson and secretary of that group. The group meets regularly to share experiences, advise each other, receive training from local animal husbandry experts, etc. The secretary is responsible for recording their experiences and keeping track of the goats. Periodic on-site monitoring visits by the Project officers are performed to encourage beneficiaries, assess progress, and gather data for future use.
Once the beneficiary reaches the goal of at least 5+2(donated) goats, we arrange for a graduation ceremony. At this ceremony, she is officially released from the program and allowed full control over her 5+ goats. She is given information about other other women have used this asset to improve their lives. It is quite a celebration in the community, with much dancing and singing!
Because each beneficiary gives back 2 she-goats, the project will grow exponentially. We aim to reach 10,000 women by 2027. After 3 years of initial fundraising (with a goal of 600 "seed-goats") we will focus our efforts on managing the herd across 100 centers - expanding the number of beneficiaries. We will examine ongoing requests for help, such as assistance in healthcare, marketing, and transportation of goats.