I love the concept of providing a path toward independence and sustainability via giving. As the oft used adage suggests, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for life.” Help him grow a fish farm and you’ll feed a village.
Research has proven that charitable aid can sometimes have an adverse, though unintended result, of creating endless dependence versus developing self reliance. People need more than a way out, they need a way forward. Hence the importance of supporting causes and organizations that are thus focused such as extending micro-loans to small businesses, education and supplies to improve agricultural yield and sustainability and providing farm animals like goats.
Heifer International: Goats help families feed themselves. On small farms, goats are often the key to a family’s survival. Goats are known for providing delicious milk, which can be used to create cheese that can be sold for income, in turn providing a family’s children the opportunity to go to school. Goat milk is more easily digestible, and one animal can produce up to four gallons a day. Goats are ideal for zero grazing, which means very little land is needed to raise them. Their natural curiosity and intelligence also makes them great pets for families with children.
I was surprised to find so many organizations that offered goat giving programs as well as the wide range of costs associated with them.
- Heifer International – $120
- World Vision – starting at $75
- Save the Children – $60
- Food for the Hungry – $58
- Samaritans Purse – $70
- Oxfam – $50
- Compassion – $100 (suggested)
- Holt International – $85
- Child Fund – $99
- Care – $75
Canadian Feed the Children: However, some suggest that donating a goat might not be the best way to give. This informative article outlines the pros and cons to you may want to consider. The possible “cons” listed include:
- Buying goats isn’t always the most efficient donation option
- High lactose-intolerance levels among Africans can make goat milk an inappropriate source of nutrition
- Goats aren’t the best source of protein
- The treatment of goats is sometimes considered inhumane
- If you “buy a goat” for a family in Africa, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the family will be sent a goat. *explained in the CNBC article, When is a goat is not a goat
Notwithstanding the potential shortfalls, I still believe the positives outweigh the negatives. I couldn’t afford the $120 Heifer Intl. goat, since my budget tops out at $100, so I chose my #2 option since I wanted to give the whole goat, not just a fractional goat.