Our goat family in eastern Congo is growing, and welcoming a new animal into the herd: chickens!
Originating with 50 goats, the husbandry program is expanding, and when members of the community gathered this June at the Mumosho Women’s Center, 31 additional families received goats, and 22 families took home a chicken. The chickens were primarily distributed amongst teen mothers who do not live at the women’s center, to provide eggs to help feed their children, and to raise up baby chicks to pass on to more families.
Currently, the goats help with feces to fertilize the small plots of land farmed by the members of the community. To provide nutritious goat’s milk and cheese will be the next step in the project, after finding the correct breed of goat that produces more milk.
As Amani noted when the program began, “When a baby goat is born, the family caring for the goat will return the baby to ABFEK to pass it on to another neighbor who is waiting. Paying forward the good in their lives, providing more milk to drink and sell, the community will grow stronger, Amani explains. Which is why the project is called, ‘My goat is your goat.'”
The addition of our feathered friends means it’s time for a name change…
If you’d like to partner with the people in eastern Congo, consider a one-time or monthly donation. All funds go to programs like this on the ground, and every dollar makes a difference.
|Families meeting their goats, June 2014.|
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I remember the palpable current of a new year that ran through our house on the first day of school; my backpack at the ready with sharpened pencils, fresh notepads of lined paper, and a box of color crayons that hadn’t been smashed or eaten by the odd kid two desks over.
The kids in the Congo are heading back to school this week too, 100 of them because of YOUR support. Via Amani’s vision through ABFEK, not only will they study languages, letters and numbers, they’re also learning agriculture, and the art of growing gorgeous food for better nutrition.
Amani writes about two children in particular, Manu and Namegabe, who over the summer break used their hands to study gardening, digging in the dirt of the shared ABFEK farm, in order to pass along their experience to their schoolmates. They’re very interested in agriculture, and excited to teach other kids.
The rainy season normally starts early in September, but this year has been special with rains off and on since mid-July. When it starts raining on a more regular basis, the garden will grow well. In the dry season people need to water the crops on a daily basis but as rainy season starts, there are no more water problems.
This shot of the shared garden shows cabbages, carrots and onions growing, where the women and children supported by ABFEK learn about agriculture. Most of the vegetables are native to Eastern Congo but not everywhere. In the Mumosho district, Amani writes, “people are not used to growing carrots, eggplant, peppers…we want to do it on a larger scale to fight malnutrition through the schools.” Amani plans to use this as a pilot program to expand the experience in other communities based on lessons learned.
As the kids head back to school, we’ll be sharing their stories of a new year. What are your favorite stories of going back to school?