On the 1st of September 2015, three students from SIDshare’s committee and a staff member travelled to the Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania to meet KEDA (Kilimanjaro Environmental Development Association). KEDA was established in 1992, and since then it has run a number of environmental and social projects including: educating local farmers about the benefits of organic agriculture; training in irrigation, soil and environmental conservation.
KEDA’s Dairy Project
By Tilly Robinson-Miles
One of KEDA’s main projects is the creation of multiple dairy farmer groups across the Kilimanjaro region. Initially 23 female goats and 3 bucks were donated by American NGO -Heifer. Between 1999 and 2011 Heifer donated around 200 goats to support schemes in multiple villages. Mr Nyange, from KEDA, was one of the first beneficiaries of a goat. 15 years later he still has 4 females of kid bearing age and continues to sell the goats to provide him with an income.
KEDA approach different villages in the region to inform them of their mission and proposed dairy farmer project. The villagers then decide who would most benefit from the scheme and the donation of a goat. KEDA’s main target groups are vulnerable children (often those who have been orphaned as a result of HIV);destitute families; and widows or widowers.
The selected beneficiaries from each village form a group and a committee consisting of a chair, treasurer and secretary, who are democratically elected. Each beneficiary then receives 1 goat. The scheme adopts a microfinance model whereby once the goat has offspring, 2 of these offspring act as ‘pass on goats,’ who are ‘passed on’ to 2 other vulnerable members of the community. A third offspring is returned to KEDA as a ‘pass back’ goat which is sold for meat or used for cross breeding purposes to provide further funds for the charity.
To enable the breeding to take place one villager is nominated to be given a buck by KEDA and their responsibility is to hire the buck out to allow for further breeding. Each session costs 1,000 Tanzanian shillings. Members of the community with limited finances are able to use the buck for free. The committee of each village are informed about the birth of offspring.
Each village group hold quarterly meetings at KEDA head office. Meeting the members of one group allowed us to witness the personal benefits of the scheme. Universally it has allowed beneficiaries to send children to secondary schools and even further education; Orphans who receive goats from KEDA care for them with their guardian. The money raised from the sale of additional goats and milk is required to be spent on school fees. For community members diagnosed with HIV, receiving a goat has enabled them to benefit from additional dietary protein and nutrients from the meat and milk- thus reducing the extent of symptoms. Given the tangible health benefits which have accrued for HIV sufferers, KEDA hope to expand this aspect of the programme in the future. This milk also provides much needed nutrients for the whole family, as well as reducing the presence of anaemia. Finally, many families sell extra milk for additional income.
KEDA have long term plans to cross-breed indigenous goats with the Irish Saanen goats donated by Heifer. The Tanzanian indigenous goat produces goats that are better adapted to the climate and are characteristically larger animals, whilst the Saanen goat means the offspring produce milk- a characteristic indigenous goats do not have. KEDA plan to develop a cross breeding centre where they will breed Tanzanian goats with Saanen goats to further distribute through the programme. This would allow more vulnerable people to experience the benefits of keeping goats. However the current restriction to this plan is lack of funds, something the newly established charity, Katapult Kilimanjaro, hope to address in their work supporting KEDA’s projects, specifically the Dairy Farm Project- allowing more individuals, within the Kilimanjaro region, to benefit from the programme.