By Lauren James and Jean Nelson Layette*
June 13, 2014—Two years ago, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Eglise Methodiste d’Haiti (Methodist Church of Haiti, EMH) launched a pilot goat-raising program they hoped would strengthen local farmer incomes. Last month, they invited some of those farmers to help assess the program and build its success.
UMCOR and EMH asked 60 farmers from the Cap Haitien and Petit Goave regions to participate in a focus group and comment on their experience of the “Passing on the Gift” goat-raising program. The farmers were selected for the task from among a total of 640 farmer participants.
The program provided farmers intensive training on improved methods of goat rearing, along with a small grant to purchase a female goat. All of the participants were required to “pass on” offspring as a “gift loan” to another beneficiary in their community. Some communities also contributed funds to purchase an improved-breed buck for cross-breeding and to help strengthen the local goat breeds.