Fiarenana women's group infront of their pig pen
We were delighted when the women's groups in both villages approached us (again) with the request of starting a microcredit project: raising, or better fattening up pigs. We bought piglets that were about two-months-old* and provided them to both women’s groups to raise and later, after 4 to 6 months, sell for profit.
In Madagascar this endeavor is always accompanied with diligent record-keeping and signed contracts. In one of the photos you see the head of the women's group in Fiarenana signing the contract under the curious eyes of some of their members. As an integral part of our microcredit strategy Zahana only finances the purchase of the pigs, but the group decides who gets entrusted with the caring and feeding of the first round of new pigs. It is also up to them how to divide the profit from the sale. After the first batch of pigs has been raised successfully, they will rotate the care and feeding of the subsequent piglets among their members. We are doing this in the hope that one day every member of the woman's group will have at least two or three pigs at any given time. This would greatly increase their access to very much needed cash (as well as some meat for their families).
Based on past experiences it is of course possible that the women's group might decide to divide the meat among themselves, instead of selling it for cash, but only time will tell.
*According to our friend who is a specialist in animal raising and has worked for Heifer International for over 20 years in many countries, the raising of piglets is better left to the specialist pig breeder, who knows how to do that. They need vaccinations and other special care that a trained pig breeder knows about, because piglets are most vulnerable when they are very young and can die easily. Once they are two month old and bigger they have a much better chance of 'making it'.
Checking out the pig pen of one of the members
Signing contract for Fiareanana's women's group
Taking piggy for a walk in the hood
Tending to the pigs in her care
Pig raised next to her house