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Goat Power – Dawunda's story

 “Women in our community were seen as subordinates who were not supposed to have our own source of income.”

For Dawunda Shawkare, a mother of four from the SNNPR region of Ethiopia, goats have made her feel more accepted and valued in her community.

Dawunda, a participant in Farm Africa’s Livestock for Livelihoods project, funded by UK aid from the UK government and Jersey Overseas Aid, no longer believes that she has to be subordinate to her husband in order to get her family’s basic needs met.

“My husband and I provide for our four children with what we earn from farming and animal herding. I take care of the children and domestic animals, do the cooking and household chores, cultivate the farm and take on many others duties. Despite all of this hard work, my contribution are not given proper credit in my community."

"This is not only my burden, but the burden of all women in our community. Our contribution to our families and the improvements we make to society are not accepted. Women in our community are seen as subordinates who were not supposed to have our own source of income. This makes us dependent on our husbands and means we have to win their favour in order to get our needs met.”

Farm Africa’s project is supporting women to set up goat-rearing enterprises that empower them to earn their own money and improve their families’ diets. Each woman receives two or three goats on the condition they pass on two or three goat kids to another woman in need. 

In Gudura village, goats are the first property many of the women have owned. Those that Farm Africa spoke to felt goats had given them a higher level of respect from men and have contributed to changing attitudes towards female roles within their community.

“I would say the attitude of the community towards women has started to change, although this has been slow. It has become common for women to own some assets like cattle, goats and sheep as well as chickens.”

Farm Africa has established Women’s Livestock Groups. Members are provided with training in goat rearing and rangeland management. Farm Africa also helps these groups create Village Saving and Loan Associations, so women can save together and invest in each other’s businesses to mutual benefit.

Dawunda Shawkare has been an active member of her livestock group the Gebinat Goat Breeding Association, made up of 20 women from her village.

“We share mutual challenges, support each other and discuss economic and nutritional benefits of goats. We save together and borrow money to develop businesses like breeding sheep and goats.”

“Our group has received ten goats from Farm Africa, including a buck for crossbreeding purpose. We are rearing them with 20 other goats that have been contributed by members, so in total we have 30 goats. Exercising the training we have received from Farm Africa, we take good care of the animals. We are hopeful that this pays off and will provide us with an unfailing source of income.”

The Gebinat Goat Breeding Association have received a buck, which they have named Lempo, to cross-breed with local female goats to create high yielding hybrids to use for milk production. The male hybrids will be sold locally for meat.

Dawunda Shawkare is one of the women featured in Farm Africa’s photography exhibition Goat Power, an exploration of the impact of Farm Africa’s Livestock for livelihoods project by international award winning documentary photographer Chris de Bode from Panos Pictures. The free outdoor exhibition will take place throughout the month of October 2020 on More London Riverside, on London’s South Bank.

This project is funded with UK aid from the UK government and Jersey Overseas Aid, however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK or Jersey goverment’s official policies.


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