During this past quarter GlobalGiving donations were used to support the purchase 28 pure breed goats (20 female, 8 males) from Mexico. These animals will be used for the improvement of local breeds and increasing milk production for at least 1600 goat-owner families.
Goat milk is an important source of animal protein for young children, in addition to increasing their sense of caring for animals.
A recent formal, external evaluation of Save the Children’s activities determined that chronic malnutrition among beneficiary children (less than 5 years old) of Save the Children food security activities in the highlands of Guatemala was reduced from 78.2% (August 2006) to 70.3% (August 2011).
Save the Children and the rural indigenous population of Quiché are grateful for GlobalGiving donations in support of this relatively simple, sustainable initiative in favor of reducing malnutrition.
The project requires that each family build a pen that sits above the ground, with a slotted floor, lamina roof and attached trough for food and water (see Cartilla Técnica for Modulo Pecuario Caprino). Each family is provided with the lamina and nails, and expects the family to contribute the wood and any other materials needed to complete the pen.
This manner of keeping the goat has a number of advantages over the traditional pastoral method:
Allows the family to collect the manure that falls through the slotted floor for use as organic fertilizer;
Families are provided with three pieces of lamina, costing approximately Q83 (about $11) each. Pen construction requires at least 8 boards, which as of July 2008 cost approximately Q20 each, for a cost of Q160-200 ($21 - $27). There is also the opportunity cost of the time spent building the pen.
Specifications for building the pens are found in the Cartilla Técnica. In each community the GA builds the first pen at his home with the help of the male heads of households that will receive goats. In this way the heads of household learn the specifications of how the pen should be built, with the goal of replicating the specifications in their own pens.
While great variation was observed among the resulting goat pens, most met a minimum standard for safety and health. The most common problem observed with goat pens were floors with inadequate, or a complete absence of, openings through which the manure should fall. Poorly constructed floors causes the build up of feces, which is detrimental to the goat’s health. In one community families were concerned because the lamina for the pens had not arrived before the goats and so there was no way of protecting them from the rain.
The Cartilla Técnica specifies that the feeding trough be attached externally to the pen, and that the water source (usually a plastic dish) be kept in one end of the trough. While almost all pens visited had a feeding trough, a significant percentage of goats visited had no water source at the time of visit, or the water dish was kept inside the pen. The former is contrary to the best practice advising that goats should have water available at all times, and the latter is unacceptable because the water becomes dirty with manure. The Cartilla Tecnica also specifies that each pen have a small wooden box nailed inside the pen for holding salt and minerals needed by the goat.
Our project is moving along. We are very happy to report that the families who have received the goats are very grateful.
Every spring, we hope to have a healthy “kidding season” for the goats. Kidding is not making a joke! It is what farmers call it when mother goats give birth to babies. Like dogs have puppies and sheep have lambs – goats have “kids”.
Before a mother goat gives birth, it is important to prepare her pen – which will become the delivery room. Farmers have to make sure there is extra hay, clean water and special supplies for labor and delivery. Most of the time, kids are twins but some times there can be as many as 5 or 6 born at a time.
Thank you all so very much for your support. We will write again soon with news about the kids participating in this project – human and goat!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.