CAFOD’s Lazarus Walker writes:
One afternoon as we traverse through the dusty roads of Maralal in the north of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, we meet Catherine Lenguris, who benefited from a CAFOD-funded dairy goat project. Although this part of the Rift Valley is semi-arid, the short rains that came a few months ago have revived the vegetation, and everything is sprouting with green life.
Catherine is one of 70 people who benefited from the dairy goat project. A motherly smile brightens her face as she greets us in her home; her two-month-old baby is safely cuddled in her arms.
Before the project started in 2008, her life was a tale of living from hand to mouth. She owned no livestock and practiced subsistence farming on her small piece of land. The farm never produced enough to feed her large family. Food and other basic needs were hard to come by and many a time her family lived on empty stomachs or one meal a day.
Receiving a dairy goat completely changed her life. In a period of three years she has seen her family’s earnings increase, as well as the health of her children who consume the healthy goat milk.
After breeding her goats and selling one of them, which fetched 10, 000 shillings (around £75) – triple the price of the local breed – she was able to buy school uniforms for her children, which meant they could attend school without the worry of being sent home, as they sometimes had been in the past.
Catherine says that education is the foundation of a brighter future for her family and that is why she is doing everything she can to enable them to achieve the best in education. Her hope for the children is to see them finish school and get good employment in future
From the 10,000 shillings she earned from selling the goat, she also put one thousand shillings in a group saving account, and invested money in starting a small shop. She sells basic items like sugar, salt, soaps, tea leaves, and cooking fat.
Training from the diocese
The success of the project came from the way that the people involved came together to form groups. The diocese organized training on livestock management to the group members who then worked together supporting one another.
Catherine, who had little knowledge in managing an exotic breed, says that the training came in handy – especially in areas of disease management where the group leader was able to provide them with the support.
“I pass on my sincere appreciation of this project and the people who funded it,” she says. “My children have a constant supply of milk and their health is now much better. My small shop is also helping me meet my daily needs.”
As we part ways, we pass by the feeding trough where other family members are feeding the healthy goats, and from the big smiles they give us one message is clear: those goats have brought a positive change in their lives.