The village stud
With the support of the Rotary club of Guilford, Chacha the Goat was the start of a community-led initiative that is helping to improve nutrition and incomes for a community in rural Kenya.
The Kitui Kya Musyi self-help group have managed to quadruple milk production simply by investing in Chacha - a Swiss Toggenburg goat - as part of an innovative goat-breeding programme.
The programme involves breeding high-yielding Swiss Toggenburg goats with local African breeds. Goats like Chacha are proving a huge success. Building on these experiences, other communities are starting up similar projects; working to help themselves out of poverty.
With a sand dam near-by too, communities have more water and time available to rear their goats. A sand dam also enables the growth of trees and vegetation which can be harvested for animal fodder, while the manure from the goats can be collected and used to fertilise smallholder farms.
Under this scheme, communities who invested in a goat can rent the male to nearby communities for a small fee. By breeding sturdy Toggenburgs with locally adapted breeds, the young goats retain the locally adapted qualities of their mother and inherit the robustness of their father. These young grow up to produce almost four times as much milk as a ‘pure’ local breed.
The high quality milk produced by these robust hybrids provides valuable protein in areas where child malnutrition is rife. Sales of the surplus milk also boosts domestic incomes, helping pay for vital medical care and child education, which would otherwise be out of reach to most of the community.
The communities first two goats were generously donated by The Rotary Club of Guilford. Excellent Development have since supported these local projects by providing other communities with 13 more goats like Chacha.
The main objective of having the Toggenbergs is to be able to interbreed the the local ones, so that we can now increase the quality of the local ones. Every member within the group is able to bring the local goats so that they are upgraded by the dairy ones. The local ones are not able to give us more milk, but the Toggenburg gives us more milk.
Dorcas Nzioki, Miamba Mitamboni, self help group, Kenya