In the Eastern Province of Zambia, where Send a Cow currently works, livestock are vital to the livelihoods of the vast majority of people. Yet they tend to be local, low-yielding animals, and are often poorly managed. Poverty and food insecurity remain widespread.
With rich soils, the country has great potential, but faces the challenge of a long dry season. That's why Send a Cow provides meat goats, and teaches people the skills to manage them correctly. Goats in particular thrive in Zambia as they are well suited to the landscape.
We make sure that every family we work with in Zambia knows how to make the most of their livestock. We also make sure that farmers are fully prepared before any new animals arrive, teaching them about animal care, how to build an animal shelter, how to best collect manure to enrich the soil and how to breed them so that offspring can be sold at market and passed on to other families in need.
With this support, along with our training in sustainable organic agriculture, families are gradually finding they can earn money, set up small enterprises, produce food from their tiny plots of land even during the dry seasons, and send their children to school. Put simply, our approach works. On average, families' income rose from between US$100-200 to nearly US$2,000 a year. We are currently looking in to how we can expand our successful programme to reach even more of those in need in Zambia.
“Take care of the animal so it can help you make your future.”
Isaac Phiri is just 17, but already has huge responsibilities. His father has died, and his mother, Ireen, is weakened by HIV. So Isaac has to help care for his three younger siblings, while striving to get the grades he needs to fulfil his dream of studying medicine.
The family’s cow gives him hope. Before she arrived, the whole family survived by collecting wood to make charcoal for sale. Even so, they often went hungry, and only two of the children could attend school. The constant worry made Ireen’s illness worse.
Isaac and his siblings have a long, tough day: they have to fit in caring for the cow and cultivating their fields around their schoolwork. But the money the family makes from milk and vegetable sales means they can all attend school, eat well, and buy medication for Ireen.
This very vulnerable family can also rely on their community group and Send a Cow funded staff for support. But they are determined to be as self-sufficient as possible. As Ireen has told Isaac: “Take care of the animal so it can help you make your future.”