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Livestock for livelihoods

Photo: Farm Africa / Esther Mbabazi Photo: Farm Africa / Esther Mbabazi

The problem

The drylands of Ethiopia’s South Omo zone and Uganda’s Karamoja sub-region are home to thousands of pastoralists who migrate with their livestock in search of pasture. In both locations, disease, drought and degraded grasslands have cut the size of herds, exacerbating high levels of poverty and malnutrition.

In South Omo and Karamoja, goat rearing is common but unproductive. Goats are traditionally farmed for their meat, so local breeds yield little milk. A lack of suitable fodder, particularly in the dry season, and poor access to veterinary and breeding services limits milk production.

Goats are often managed by women and goats’ meat and milk is a rich source of protein and nutrients. However, pastoralist women’s low social and economic status, together with poor knowledge about nutrition, means that women often struggle to translate improved goat production into the consumption of nutritious foods and increased household income.

What are we doing?

Farm Africa is working with pastoralist women living in South Omo and Karamoja, supporting them to set up sustainable, small-scale goat-rearing enterprises that will help them generate an income and provide their families with a more nutritious diet. This will be achieved by:

Supporting women to rear goats

Farm Africa will establish 400 Women’s Livestock Groups, through which we will provide training in goat rearing and fodder and rangeland management to over 10,000 women in Uganda and Ethiopia.

We will improve women’s access to livestock by setting up a 7,200 woman-strong revolving goat scheme, which requires each woman who receives three goats from Farm Africa to give three does (female goats) to another vulnerable woman once her herd has grown, creating a cycle of improved prosperity.

Each woman who receives three goats from Farm Africa gives three does (female goats) to another vulnerable woman once her herd has grown.

Economically empowering women

Farm Africa will help the Women’s Livestock Groups establish Village Saving and Loan Associations, where women unite to save and make funds available to invest in each other’s businesses.

The project will teach women how to add value to their livestock business through training in goat breeding, fattening and the production of goats’ milk products.

This project will also help women aggregate their produce so they can sell in bulk and command a higher price for their goods.

Improving diets

Through a blend of targeted communication activities, this project will look to inspire, educate and empower 10,000 women to consume more goats’ milk and improve dietary choices for their families.

Women’s Livestock Groups provide a platform for women to come together and share experiences, discuss common problems and develop solutions to improving nutrition, child and maternal health, and goat production.

Veterinary and livestock breeding services

Farm Africa will help 110 vets and community animal healthcare workers expand their operations and deliver vital veterinary services to local livestock keepers.

Most breeds of goat native to these areas are hardy, but produce little in the way of milk. Farm Africa will establish community-run goat breeding stations where high-yielding dairy goats that are suited to the local landscape and climate can be bred and sold. And at the same time, we will establish buck rearing stations where goat owners can bring their local does to crossbreed them.

Who are we working with?

We are carrying out this work in partnership with the Africa Innovations Institute, an agriculture and food systems research institute, and the Mothers and Children Multisectoral Development Organization, an NGO that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged mothers and children.

This project is funded with UK aid from the UK government.