Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala

by Save the Children Federation
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala

Thanks to support from Global Giving channeled through Save the Children’s programs, children’s nutritional status and household incomes have improved for the families implementing goat modules in Quiché, Guatemala.

Sisters Margarita and Juana, are an example of this transformation.

Three years ago in Xevitz Nebaj, Margarita’s son, Juan, was found to have low weight. Because of this situation, Margarita decided to learn about raising milk goats and to establish a goat module at her house. Every day she gave a glass of goat’s milk to her child who began to gain weight and his quick improvement surprised her whole family.

This wasn’t the only benefit. The family also increased their income by using the goat’s urine and manure for organic fertilizer instead of buying chemical fertilizers. "Now my land is stronger and this year my corn plants are greener than last year.”

When she saw the results Margarita was getting, her sister Juana, also set up a goat module at her house with support from Global Giving. This helped her four year old grandson, Edgar, who was suffering from chronic malnutrition to grow and become healthier.

Similar to the sisters, Isaías and his wife, Julia, of the village of La Hacienda, Cunén, decided to implement a household goat module when they were told that their daughter Claudia wasn’t gaining weight the way she should.

Isaías and Julia were concerned about their daughter and began giving her a glass of milk every day and 30 days later they were amazed at the results, “My daughter gained weight and isn’t sick any more. She has begun to grow the way she is supposed to and plays more. Now I don’t have to spend money on medicine all the time,” says Isaías as he hugs his daughter.

By implementing the milk goat modules, Gaspar and Jacinta improved their family’s life and that of their community in La Pista, Nebaj. When they joined the program implemented by Save the Children, they began managing five milk goats which had been Gaspar and Jacinta improve their goat production genetically improved at the Highlands Goat Production Center (CEPROCAL, for its initials in Spanish).

The family’s interest and hard work allowed them to increase their herd to 16 goats and 11 kids. "It is clear that these animals are of better quality and have greater reproductive capacity. I see a significant difference between them the the ones that I had before," explained Gaspar.

Besides increasing his herd, Gaspar sponsored many low weight children with a glass of milk, produced goat cheese, used the organic fertilizer for his crops and he feels that he has improved his farm as well as the nutritional status of his grandchildren.

Learning how to manage milk goats has been an important experience for Gaspar. The training included goat feeding and nutrition, reproductive management, milking, consumption, vaccination, and management and use of manure and urine.

More than 2,400 families in the Guatemala Highlands have received training on goat management. One of these was Apolonio, who already had experience with goats but lacked resources and technical assistance. The program’s support helped change his life as he improved his abilities and he now has three goats instead of just one.

When Miguel, the technician from the Western Program of Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Actions (PAISANO) implemented by Save the Children, visited him to provide technical assistance, he suggested marketing the goat’s milk in the municipal seat of Uspantán. At the beginning Apolonio was embarrassed and nervous about going out to sell the milk but when he realized how he could earn money from selling the milk he was convinced to keep going.

Now he goes out into the streets of Uspantán with his son Arturo, offering goat’s milk, “The first day I sold eight glasses, the next day I sold 10 and this encouraged me to keep going. People know me and when they hear me shout, ‘Milk, Milk’, they rush out with their containers to buy from me." Apolonio says that people attribute many benefits to drinking goat’s milk – they say it cures gastritis, alleviates aching bones and helps with other diseases.

In El Pinal, Uspantán, Elmer and Natalia's family also improved their lives and the nutritional situation in their community with the implementation of goat modules. Every Apolonio lives in San Antonio which is 1.5 kilometers from the municipal seat of Uspantán where he sells his goat’s milk every day. day 10 children under five years of age who have low weight come to their house to receive a glass of milk to improve their nutritional status. This is possible thanks to the implementation of five goat modules.

Additionally, Natalia makes cheese every day from the surplus milk and sells it in the community. The demand for her cheese keeps growing and now she earns $ US 6.50 a day from cheese sales. Other benefits are the sale of baby goats for $ US 50 each and the reduction in expenses for buying chemical fertilizers since they use the goat by-products for organic and foliar fertilizer.

This has increased their bean and corn production by 10%. This case study presents various success stories of families that have benefited from milk goats in Quiché. This is just a sample of the value of Global Giving’s support for improving children’s and families’ nutrition channeled through Save the Children.

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Dreams Come True:  A Goat Production Business
Dreams Come True: A Goat Production Business

It all starts as a dream, but dreams do come true. This is a well-known saying that has turned real for Elmer and Natalia, entrepreneurs and sponsors of good nutrition in the El Pinal community. With hope, effort, and resolve, they have built a dream: to have their own goat-production business.

However, it was not always like this. According to dwellers’ accounts, their community used to be surrounded by pine forests, from which it draws its name: “El Pinal” (the Pine Forest). Years ago, the population grew sugarcane; however, due to the growth of the sugar industry in other areas of the country, they stopped producing sugar and started growing corn and beans, as well as Bourbon-variety coffee, grown in small plots.

In this very picturesque location, as in many others throughout Guatemala, chronic malnutrition still prevails, and consequently, Save the Children has coordinated actions with the community in order to ensure food security for the families of children under 3 years old. As a result, it has been possible to establish improved health and nutrition, livelihood, and risk-management services and practices.

Within this framework, one of the priority actions to improve household milk consumption was to raise goats, but even then, milk production volumes were low. With the support of many kind people’s contribution, the future of these families has now changed due to the new approach for this activity: business with social responsibility. This is the case of the family headed by Elmer and Natalia, who have assumed the commitment and the challenge of becoming a model goat-producing family.

Every day, when the sun comes up, 10 children under 5 years old come to Elmer’s home to drink a glass of goat milk to improve their nutritional condition. This is possible owing to the implementation of a goat module that includes 5 goats producing enough milk to feed the children sponsored by the family.

However, Elmer’s success required considerable dedication. He tells the story of how, six months ago, he started his goat-production business and how now, he is collecting the full benefits of the training he received from Save the Children technicians. He remembers his efforts to build his facilities and to prepare himself to raise goats.

These efforts have allowed him to improve the nutritional condition of children. In addition, Natalia transforms the surplus milk into cheese, which she sells in the community. Demand for her cheese has steadily increased and now she is making Q.50 per day. Goat kids are another benefit arising from goat production, since female kids will also become milk producers in the near future and male kids will be sold or eaten. Recently, the family sold three kids at Q400 each.

In addition to the income generated by goat production, Elmer, as do all El Pinal inhabitants, generates profits from growing corn and beans. However, unlike other farmers, he has been able to reduce his production costs by 75 percent by decreasing the use of chemical fertilizers. Instead, he is now using goat manure as an organic fertilizer and goat urine as a foliar fertilizer and as an insect repellent, a practice that has helped him to rely less on agro-chemical products, thus preventing environmental pollution.

His corn and bean yields have increased by 10 percent. This clearly shows how goat production improves household income.

Today, the family has become an example for their community, as a result of their efforts, dedication, and discipline. Today, they are considered a referent, especially by those who were once skeptical about goat production. They approach Elmer to observe the way in which he works in his farm and to learn about the benefits he has reaped from engaging in goat production.

The immediate future of Elmer’s family looks very promising, since they are also part of the initiative to improve goat genetics being promoted by the project. To date, two of their female goats have mated with one of the imported studs. This will result in improved quantity and quality of the milk produced by their goats, which in turn will translate into increased financial income for the family.

This opportunity has changed the life of Elmer, who has seen his dreams come true. “I am very grateful for the opportunity and for the support provided to me by the project. It has changed my life and that of my family. I think I have helped my community, especially those boys and girls who, with their smiles and pranks, bring joy to me every morning when they come to drink their milk.”

“Each day I learn a bit more about goats; not only through my daily experiences here at home, but also through the teachings of Save the Children technicians. Thank you so much.”

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Thank You from Save the Children
Thank You from Save the Children

Your generous support of Save the Children is an investment in childhood. With you as our partner, we develop and expand proven, evidence-based programs that give girls and boys a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We’re there for children in emergencies, providing child-focused readiness, relief and recovery. And we advocate to ensure issues critical to our children are given top priority. Together, we give children in the United States and around the world the best chance for success, every day and in times of crisis, transforming their lives and the future we all share. Thank you for your support in 2015!

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Save the Children
Save the Children

On a rainy afternoon in the La Hacienda community, Cunén, Quiché, “don” Isaías and his wife, “doña” Julia, attended a Save the Children–SC - meeting. There, they were informed about the various activities that would be implemented to improve families’ health, nutrition, and livelihoods. When they heard that they could improve their living conditions, the family registered their daughter, Claudia, in the program.

Days later, they took Claudia to the Program’s monitoring and growth-promotion screening, where they learned that she was underweight for her age. She suffered from chronic malnutrition. When her parents realized this, they worried and they asked Save the Children’s technicians what they could do to improve their daughter’s nutritional condition.

That is how, “don” Isaías, jointly with SC’s Food Security Program and established a plan for the little girl’s recovery. A few months later, “don” Isaías in order to ensure his and his family’s livelihood, started training on how to manage goats. He became interested in this occupation as a means to produce milk and improve his daughter’s nutrition, and received a goat that produced over two glasses of milk per day.                                                

Because they worried about their daughter’s condition, “don” Isaías and “doña” Julia started giving her a glass of milk every day. As time passed, they noticed improvements in the little girl; she grew increasingly active. Thirty days later, she was weighed again by SC’s Food Security Program’s technicians, who stated that her weight had improved.

Her parents were surprised to see how much their little girl had progressed, and they happily followed SC’s technicians' advice. After having drunk milk for over three months, Claudia overcame malnutrition. When “don” Isaías recalls this, he says: “My little girl overcame malnutrition, she is no longer sick, she started growing well and playing more, and we do not have to spend so much to buy medications.”

After some time, the goat went to another family, to provide milk to other children. “don” Isaías tells how he kept one of the goat’s kids, as established by the program. He called this goat La Muñeca (the Doll) and he put much effort in taking care of her. Eighteen months later she had her own offspring and started to produce milk.

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Apolonio is 30 years old
Apolonio is 30 years old

Every morning, Apolonio can be seen along the streets of San Miguel Uspantán selling the milk produced by his goats from house to house.

This story started several years ago when the program “Improving the Food Security and Health of Families Living in Guatemala’s Coffee-Growing Areas” provided training on how to make goat cheese and other derivatives of goat milk. His wife, Juana , attended this training and became aware of the benefits generated by goat production.

She and her husband agreed to join the program as beneficiaries and to receive a goat from this program, executed by Save the Children, with support from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and ABC News.

As soon as don Apolonio received the goat, he showed much interest and responsibility in adopting the practices for goat management, such as building and managing the goat module, and adopting proper goat-feeding, hoof-trimming, and vaccination practices, among others.

Months went by, and when the program saw his efforts and the quality of his goat management, it provided additional support with materials to implement two more modules. However, don Apolonio has set a goal for himself: to buy another goat with his own resources. This generated positive results, since this investment increased his goat production.

As time passed, he was able to raise the number of his goats to three, producing one liter per day, on average. When the program technician Miguel, visited him to provide technical consultancy, he proposed commercializing his goat milk in the municipal capital of Uspantán.

This project was accepted by don Apolonio, who decided to walk the streets and avenues of San Miguel Uspantán, along with his son Arturo, offering goat milk from house to house. As don Apolonio says: “At first I felt embarrassed and a little afraid, thinking that the milk would not be in demand, but I decided to come out with my three goats. I knocked on the door of families, offering milk.”

“The first day I sold 8 glasses; the next day, I sold 10 more glasses, and this encouraged me even more. Now, people know me, and I only have to shout: “Milk, milk” and people come out with their glasses to receive it.”

Some of the important anecdotes told by don Apolonio include the fact that people thank him for bringing goat milk to their homes, as it has helped them to cure some of their ailments, such as gastritis, and problems with their bones, among others. This has encouraged him to continue selling milk.

Don Apolonio starts his day very early in the morning. He is up at 5:00 in the morning, washing his goat’s udders, and at 5:40 he goes out to the municipal capital to sell milk. He makes his rounds and returns home at 9:00 in the morning. The rest of the day he feeds the goats, cleans the modules, and collects urine and manure.

Implementation of the Western Program of Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Actions (PAISANO), supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and ABC News, has strengthened his agricultural/ livestock practices even more, and consequently, his income has increased even further

He has received training and technical advice on the prophylactic plan, goat feeding, and managing goat sub-products, such as fertilizer and goat urine, among others.

As a result of the training that he has received, he has been able to increase his production and the sale of milk, as well his sales of fertilizer by the quintal and urine by the liter, which fetch Q.35.00 and Q.3.00 respectively.

His knowledge and experience in the field have also helped him to be chosen as agricultural/ livestock promoter in his community, whose aim is to encourage and to set an example for other families.

However, don Apolonio’s life was not at all like that before. He used to travel to the Pacific coast from November to April, during the sugar-harvest season. The rest of the time, he worked as a laborer, cleaning corn plants, and was paid only Q. 35 to Q. 40 per day. Even though he earned this income, it was not enough to pay his debts and to provide for his family.

At present, he is generating from Q. 130 to Q. 150 per day from milk sales, and Q. 5,000 per year from manure sales. Don Apolonio feels very fortunate and thankful for having been able to improve his family’s living conditions. His children are growing up healthy, because they are drinking goat milk every day. Now he has the resources he needs to buy clothes and medicines, and he has improved his home’s structure.

His efforts are evidenced by his buying 4 “cuerdas” (approximately 3.8 acres) of land in 2014 and 25 more “cuerdas” (approximately 24 acres) of land this year. There, he plans to plant trees and grow fodder for his goats. His greatest wish is to increase his goat production to 30 goats, in order to continue selling their milk.

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Save the Children Federation

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Fairfield, CT United States

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