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Send a Cow works in the remote, underdeveloped Western Province of the country – which is a world apart from its better known beaches and safari parks.
Here, poverty and hunger are rife. People often lack education, soils are poor, and communities are isolated. One district where we work, Busia, is the poorest in the whole country.
Because floods and droughts have hit Kenya in recent years and rainfall has become more erratic, there is an urgent need for farmers to protect their land.
Dairy farming is hugely important to the Kenyan economy – but smallholder farmers struggle to compete. To help, Send a Cow provides good quality dairy and crossbreed cows, capable of giving up to 20 litres of milk per day.
We’re also providing lots of dairy goats in Kenya, particularly for the many people we work with who are HIV+. Goats are easier to manage than cows, and their milk provides the nourishment needed by people taking antiretroviral medication.
Although it’s one of Kenya’s smallest provinces, the Western Province is hugely varied in terrain. Send a Cow therefore trains farmers in environmental protection methods to suit a diverse range of land types, including fuel-saving stoves – which spare the forests – and water conservation techniques.
The groups we work with in Kenya are discovering that they can overcome the challenges of poor soils, isolated communities and lack of education.
Traditionally, many men work away from home, either as fishermen, or trading with nearby Uganda. That has harmed community cohesion, and also increased the HIV/Aids rate. So many of those we work with are widows, or women who have taken in orphaned children.
Often, group members will contribute surplus milk, vegetables and even money to those families who care for orphans – a real tribute to their community spirit. Some groups are also forming dairy cooperatives to boost their ability to market their produce and earn a sustainable living.