Oe of the aims of dairy goats program was to enable women to access milk as part of their diet and the good news is that the widows whose goats have kids are getting 1 to 2 cups of milk per day for their own consumption.
We have had some bad news too. One of the 50% male goats we bought for the cross breeding program died. He was housed with one of the female goats who was already pregnant. We suspect that he tried to mate with her and because she was not on heat (due being pregnant already) she fought him and injured him with her horns. This resulted in an eye infection that spread to both eyes and unfortunately, after treating him with antibiotics, he didn’t respond well and died.
The program is now under way and we are expecting 3 more baby goats next month so keep an eye on this space for updates.
I caught up with some of the women that are part of the program last month. It was interesting to hear about their experiences of caring for the goats and how excited they are the prospect of having access to goat milk.
As we count down to the distribution day our Program Managers have been busy getting the women in Rwentojo ready. There have been several training sessions, coop construction and inspection and a lots of laughter along the way. Here are some pics from those activities.
In this session, the women learned about chicken feeding and farm management, in particular the importance of keeping the coops clean and dry
Following the training session, the doors to the chicken coops were distributed
Here is one of the finished chicken coops.. I bet they had fun putting this together.
Under a semi intensive poultry farming system, water is an important aspect in the care of the chickens, so drinkers are part of the equipment the women need on their farms
We expect that it will be 5 months before the hens start laying eggs and as such the women will not have sufficient income to feed the chicks before then. We have therefore included three months’ chickenfeed.
Our next send a chicken program is focused on the village of Rwentojo in Itojo sub-county. The participants are mostly widows or single women with children. As well as providing hands on training on farm management we have provided the basics for coop construction
These photos are from our materials distribution session. Each woman received 5 iron sheets, 2 and 1/2 kg of nails, 11 metres of wire mesh and 50,000 UGX (£11.81) to contribute towards the cost of labour.
One of the lessons from phase 1 was that covering more than one village cell at a time was a strain on resources. For this reason, we are focusing on the village of Rwentojo. We will also have fewer participants and more chickens.
Our Project Managers worked with the village Chairman on identifying and interviewing. His preselected group included women who are head of households in his village such as widows as well as those who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or are alcoholics.
It was interesting to note that some women excluded themselves from the project because they felt they could not give it their full commitment, whilst some worried about being able to provide materials for constructing chicken coops.
Our Project Managers were surprised by some of the women’s reactions and had this to say,
For once, it was so refreshing in a way to realise that people are not just willing to take things for free just cause someone is offering them but instead they are already thinking of the challenges they may face. This shows: a higher level of commitment and willingness only to join if they believe they are capable of committing to the project and in this case taking good care of the chickens; that they’re not used to getting things for free; and that they do really need the help we will be providing them.
In fact, one of them has told us we should leave her out as she spends most of her time digging (for others) and collecting fibres and grasses to weave baskets… We tried to convince her but she told us she would not forgive herself if any of her chickens died…It is a real shame as she could really use the help!
About some of the interviewees
Jovlet, she’s a 46 year-old widow who works other people’s land to get an income. She has 6 children but 4 of them already dropped out of school as she could not afford to continue paying school fees for them.
Anna, she’s a 40 year old widow who has 3 children and makes her monthly income selling sugar canes in a small trading centre
Sylvia, a mother of 5 and one more on the way. She’s married but her husband spends most of the money he makes burning charcoal on alcohol especially a local gin called Waragi
Topista, a 50 year-old widow who lives with two of her grandchildren. She spends her days digging and collecting fibres and grass to weave baskets. She doesn’t think she will be able to join the project as she will not have enough time to take care of the chickens.
Mariserina, a 40 year-old widow, who has 3 children one of whom is disabled. She is a coffee farmer and uses the income to pay her children’s fees. She is also a casual labourer on other people’s farms.
Annett is a 43 year old widow and mother of 4. She is a labourer and sues that income to pay her her children’s fees. She’s very proud that at least one of them has completed P7. Unfortunately, she cannot afford to send her child to a secondary school so she will be starting to work as a labourer like her in order to support the family.
The first training session on Poultry Farm Management and Housing took place on Monday. some amongst the group were in for a shock. They arrived late for the meeting and fellow participants required them to pay a fine. The group has also decided to form a management committee that will coordinate their affairs.
Phase 2 is now well and truly underway. Keep an eye on this space for updates
In my last post the goats had arrived. Os our Program Manager caught up with the Buck-keepers and here is what he discovered.
Maria is one of our buck-keepers has opted for a semi intensive approach for her goats. She takes them with her when she is working the land and brings them back in when she’s finished. They look extremely healthy and it seems the female may be pregnant… Well done, Maria!!
Lydia is the second buck keeper. She keeps her goats zero grazing, meaning that they do not go out to graze but the grasses and vegetation is brought to them in their penn. The male may need extra feeding but the female is doing great and may be pregnant too!
Jovannis, is our third buck keeper. She has required further training on the care of the buck to ensure that it is healthy.
Caring for the bucks is a big job and we are grateful to Maria, Lydia and Jovannis for the work they have put in this far.
I am excited about the first kids but we will not for sometime when we can expect them
On this year’s International Women’s Day we launched the Send a Chicken program for 29 women and their families in Ruhanga. The program aimed to provide an asset to ultra poor women that they could use to generate an income and working capital that they could reinvestment. One of those participants was Night Barema.
Night spoke with one of our Program Managers and here is how they got on,
What is your name and how old are you?
N: Barema Night and I am 58 years old
Are you married?
N: I am a widow. My husband passed away 25 years ago
How many children have you got?
N: I have 6 children. They are all out of school. I live with my last born, Anita, who completed Primary 4 and then dropped out.
What is your level of education?
N: I didn’t go to school. My father didn’t think educating daughters was important so only the boys were sent to school. Night thinks her father didn’t go to Heaven because of this.
What was your life like growing up
N: I used to help the family in the gardens and raising animals. I was born in a village in Ntungamo sub-county and moved to Kakiizi when I was married off at the age of 16. I had my first child a year later.
How did you hear about LTHT?
N: I belonged to Kakiizi post-test which is a group of women concerned about HIV and I found out about LTHT when they called us for a meeting
Why did you join?
I wanted to be part of the chicken program because I thought it was an opportunity to learn something new and get additional income
What was your income before you joined the chicken program?
N: I used to make 10,000-20,000 UGX (£2.43- £4.87 per month)
How did you earn that income?
N: I had a sugar cane garden which I used to take care of and I sold the sugar canes by the road
What did you spend it on?
N: I spent it on soap, salt, sugar, and other basic needs for the household
What are you currently earning?
N: I am now making 70,000 UGX (£17.03 a month) from selling the eggs the chickens produce. I am no longer able to take care of the sugar cane garden so I have lost the income from selling sugar canes.
What percentage of your income is from the selling of eggs?
What has this income allowed you to do that you were not able to do before?
N: I am now saving 9,000 UGX (£2.19) per month and I have bought a goat. I am reinvesting most of my income in buying high quality feeds for her chickens
Do you consume some of the eggs?
N: No, I haven’t had a single one
Why did she buy a goat?
N: I bought a goat because they’re easy to raise and reproduce quite quickly
N: I would like to crossbreed my female with one of the dairy males so I can start drinking milk as I currently don’t
What are your aspirations?
N: I would like to have a more comfortable life, not having to work so hard anymore to cover my family needs. I would like to learn to write and read as I feel I missed a great opportunity in the past. I would also love learning to speak a bit of English.
What do they hope for their children?
N: I hope my children have a better life than me: get a good paying job, have a healthy family and live comfortably.
What changes would you like to see in you country in your lifetime that would affect you or the girls/women that follow?
N: I would like some factories to come to the area to produce sugar from sugar cane or dry pineapples, so jobs would be created and farmers would have easy access to market. I would also like to see more people having access to water.