In April we held our twice yearly programme meeting with our team who work on the ground in Darfur. For the first time, we were able to invite our Chairman of the Volunteer Village Leaders to find out how much impact we were having in a still tragic region and to find out what more can be done. We were delighted to be given a really fantastic and positive briefing from the Chairman who gave us incontestable proof that our simple long term help really is changing lives.
In the villages of Darfur, malnutrition continues to be at epidemic proportions. But not in Kids for Kids villages. We were told the amazing story of Azargarfa which was adopted by Kids for Kids in 2004. Our original goat loans have now been passed on every two years and the four rotations that have taken place have not only transformed the lives of the poorest families but have also had a positive impact on the whole community. Our other help such as a handpumps, donkey loans, midwives, paravets, first aid training and the rest have lifted the whole village.
Before Azargarfa was adopted by Kids for Kids in 2004, up to 50 children died from malnutrition died each year. Last year just 2 little ones lost their lives, none of them due to malnutrition. There is no longer any malnutrition in our villages. This is an incredible outcome that shows just how a simple goat loan, along with our other sustainable help can transform the lives of those most at risk.
Finally, please take a look at the attached photographs. The first shows a little girl who has lost all colour from her hair due to the effects of prolonged malnutrition. However, because we were able to lend the family six goats, the little girl and her brothers and sisters now have a cup of milk each day. The second picture, of the same girl, was taken 11 months later - the transformation is clear. Thank you for your help and please share Afaf's picture in the hope that more people will feel compelled to buy a goat to help a child just like her and change her life forever.
Over the last few months we have distributed 192 donkeys to the poorest households in the new villages which we are supporting. This brings the total number of donkeys provided by Kids for Kids to over 2,500. Having a donkey makes a huge difference to these families. A donkey can carry 4 jerry cans of water whilst a woman or child can only carry one on their heads. So this enables families to collect more water which has a significant impact on hygiene in the family and to spend much less time collecting water which in many cases takes several hours a day. This time can now be used for more productive purposes to help to earn more income for the family. More importantly still, children who are no longer spending hours collecting water have the time to go to school. It is not immediately obvious that providing a donkey to a family improves the education and future prospects of children and their families. Possessing a donkey also means that fuelwood and fodder can be collected more quickly - this often means that an additional quantity can be collected and taken to the local market for sale to earn much needed income for the family. Or the donkey can be rented out to other families - again bringing in welcome income for the family. We have also distributed ploughs to these families and with the donkey this means that the families can plough a much larger area of land in the same time it took to prepare a field by hand so the family can grow more food. At the same time the donkey drawn plough prepares the soil better and greatly increases the yields obtained for the crops. So a donkey is a very, very precious gift for a poor family and sets it on the road to a much better life.
We have recently received some interesting informaton from one of our earliest villages which really shows the lasting impact of a donkey. Many families which chose to buy female donkeys have had 7 offspring in 11 years and one lady now has three generations of donkeys - mother, daughter, and grand daughter - please look at the attached photo. I hope this makes you feel that your contribution has been really worthwhile.
The operation of our goat loan programme requires the beneficiaries to pass on six of the offspring from their initial goats received to another poor family at the end of two years - we refer to this process as 'goat rotation'. During the past month Selei village which became a KIDS FOR KIDS village in 2007 has completed its second goat rotation. 21 poor households initially received goat loans and these initial beneficiary families each passed on 6 of their female offspring to another 21 poor families in 2010. Now in December 2012 20 of these recipient families have in turn passed on 6 of their female offspring to another group of poor households. This means that as a result of the initial goat loans to the village a further 42 households have received help and around 250 additional goats have been distributed to other households. This means that 30% of the households in the village have now received goats as a result of the initial KIDS FOR KIDS' loans. This shows just how valuable your support to us for the goat and donkey loan programme is - you are not just helping one family to find its way out of poverty but through your generosity you help to spread the benefits more widely in the community. The person who has performed best under the goat loan programme in Selei is a lady called Nama Ahmad who even after passing on 6 goats to another family has a flock of 20 goats having initially received just 6.
Our Project Staff in Darfur regularly monitor the performance of the goats provided under our loan programme and in September they visited Tikalat village which received its initial goat loans in 2011. At that time 23 households received 115 female and 7 male goats giving a total of 122 goats and these have now increased to 181 goats. The household with the highest number of goats is 12. The average milk production is 1 litre per day and the highest production is 2 litres per day. This means that these families are now able to provide milk to their children giving them vital protein and minerals to overcome their malnourishment and they often have surplus milk to sell enabling the family to pay for books and uniforms which enables them to send their children to school. Six goats really do make a significant difference.
The remaining 15 poor households selected by the community in Mugabil to receive goat loans have now received their goats. So in total 195 female goats and 13 male goats have been distributed to 39 households in Mugabil. Immediately these goats provide milk which provides much needed nutrition and vital minerals to aid the growth and development of the children of these families who are generally malnourished. In time the female goats will have kids increasing the size of the household's flock. At this juncture the goats become a 'bank' for the families as they now have kids which they can sell to meet any emergencies affecting the family. This gives enormous peace of mind to the women knowing that they now have the means to buy medicines if their children become sick - previously families often could not afford to seek treatment for their children and some children died as a result. So the provision of a few goats to a poor family can genuinely save lives.
All 39 families have now also received their donkeys which has transformed their lives. The donkeys make such a difference as they enable the women and children to undertake their household tasks of collecting water, fodder and fuelwood so much more quickly. As well as saving time when women and children have to go long distances to collect water and fodder the donkey can carry so much more than a human being - a donkey can carry 4 jerry cans of water whilst a person can only carry one. So the family does not have to go so frequently to collect the water requirements for the household. The donkey also means that the women can collect greater quantities of fodder and fuelwood, more than the needs of the family generating a surplus which the women can sell in the market providing much needed income for the family. Now that the children can collect the water so much more quickly, taking perhaps less than an hour rather than 4-5 hours when walking, the children now have time to go to school and this provides them with the chance of a better future.
The goats and the donkeys have the potential to put the families on the pathway out of poverty. However, some families are not managing to increase their flocks of goats as well as expected and are experiencing a higher rate of abortions than is normal. Our Programme Manager who is a vet is carrying out investigations to hopefully determine the cause. It is possible that despite the training in animal husbandry given to all the recipients of goat loans the women are still lacking in skills and experience to manage their goats effectively. If this proves to be the case we will follow up with further training courses for these women.
The last three months has seen two important developments. The first batch of 120 goats has been procured for 24 of the families who have been selected to receive goat loans in Mugabil village. These goats have been vaccinated before being distributed to the families. This is clearly an exciting day for the families who now have an asset which will provide them with income in due course which will enable them to provide for their families better. Families experience a great sense of relief and peace of mind knowing that they have the goats as a 'bank' providing them with offspring which can be sold if an emergency situation arises in the family such as sickness of a child requiring medicines to be purchased. Before receiving the goats these families had no means of responding to crises which to us is an unimaginable situation. To ensure that the goats remain healthy the project has purchased a stock of basic veterinary drugs to treat the most common diseases suffered by the goats. This stock of drugs forms the basis of the Revolving Veterinary Drugs Fund which is managed by the Animal Loans Committee in the village. Households have to purchase the drugs when they need them which enables the stock of drugs to be replenished.
The other development which has taken place in the last three months is that 3 of the older villages - Hillat Rahad, Wara and Hillat Salih have recently undertaken their first goat rotation. This is when the households which received 6 goats 2 years ago pass on 6 of their offspring to another poor household in the village to enable them to have the chance to improve the situation of their families. The first recipient households are in effect repaying their goat loan in kind and it is this process which ensures the sustainability of the goat loan programme and ensures that the benefits from the original goats provided multiply over the years as the new recipients of goats will be expected to pass on 6 of the offspring to another poor family two years from now.
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