The dream to have a goat-based enterprise came true for the Ramirez-Cano family in the community of El Pinal.
El Pinal is located in a pine forest area where local farmers had to change traditional sugar cane farming to corn, beans and coffee due to competition from industrial sugar cane production. The area is affected by chronic malnutrition and receives Save the Children food security support, including goat raising to increase children´s milk consumption.
Don Elmer and Doña Natalia took this activity at a higher level acquiring five goats and they now produce goat cheese in addition to providing a daily glass of goat milk to neighboring 10 children under 5 years old. Elmer and Natalia added a lot of personal effort to the training received and now generate a steady daily household income of $6 a day in addition to occasional sale of goat kids; three were recently sold at around $50 each. Given that about half of the population of Guatemala live in poverty on less than $2 a day, the goats have been quite a boon.
Household fertilizer expenses and exposure to chemical pesticides were also reduced as they now successfully use goat droppings and urine. They report a 10% increase in corn production since using these goat by-products as manure and pest repellent.
Elmer and Nathalia´s family has become a model for their community and many approach them to learn their goat raising and farming practices. Their future now looks more promising and the genetic quality of their goats is improving thanks to crossing with selected goats promoted by the Save the Children.
In Elmer´s own words ‘I am very grateful for the support and opportunity received, it has changed my family’s life and I am happy when I see the smile of children when they drink their glass of goat milk every morning’.
Julia Hernandez Lux and Isaias De Leon Hernandez live in the community of La Hacienda in Guatemala with their seven children. Isaias works as a carpenter as he does not have access to enough land to farm.
When the Save the Children-sponsored PROMASA began its activities in La Hacienda in 2007, The Hernandez's 1-year-old daughter Claudia Lizeth was malnourished and underweight.
Through the program, the family started a home garden which provided extra food and income for the family. Then in 2008, the family received a goat that at the beginning produced more than 2 glasses of milk daily. One glass was always set aside for little Claudia Lizeth.
With the fresh milk and vegetables, Claudia started gaining weight. After three months, she was fully recovered from malnutrition.
Her father Isaias recalls "she started growing normal, was not getting sick any more, and we no longer had to buy her medicines".
The Hernandez family gave the first goat to another family, but kept a female kid (baby goat) called Muñeca (Doll). In less than 2 years, the family had other kids and more milk thanks to improved breeding.
Muñeca provides about a half gallon of milk per day. Claudia's little brother, Luis Armando, is a healthy toddler and enjoys his milk every day. Plus, the family sells surplus milk to neighbors, helping the Hernandez children's playmates.
"I learned a lot about goats and all its various benefits. I have a goal which is to have my own milk production factory in about 5-year-time". Those were the words of Diego Sarat, PROMASA agricultural leader in Media Luna the community, Cunen, Quiché.
This action is supported by Save the Children as part a strategy to reduce malnutrition among children under 3 years old who are underweight and to promote the financial development of their families. The objective of this action is that 9 farmers get other 6 goats also in order to start to have their daily milk production.
Caprino II action was created to take a step forward in raising goats. Diego Sarat has received 6 goats to increase milk production for consumption and industrial processing.
He is the first beneficiary of this program, which aims to drive a more ´professional´ management of the goat-raising business, and was chosen because he was a leader who had prominent agricultural success in his model farm.
Besides that, he was willing to work hard on this project, he had physical space to accommodate goats and a source of food for these animals.
In order to be eligible, he committed himself to provide the milk extracted from those 6 goats to 10 low-weight children in his community under 3 years old. Besides, he is able to sell the surplus milk and cheese (which he makes every two days). Those practices help nourish children and increase the family budget.
The management of the goats have multiple benefits, from milk production through the use of manure and urine to fertilize gardens and farm crops.
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.
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