I've seen the catalogues in the past for giving livestock or other similar presents for Christmas, often through Oxfam, but there are other similar organisations. I have been giving my boss presents out of them for years, though I confess I have never found out what he thinks. Some people consider it a cop-out I know, but my own view is that we all have more than enough in this country and gifts for gifts' sake are meaningless.
I've read the blurb and realise that, no matter what you say you are buying, it isn't necessarily exactly where your money will go. Oxfam says "we will always spend your money on a related item" but it would be good to know exactly how the money is used.
Today I came across an article in The Daily Times from Malawi which tells the other end of the story: how goats are being distributed to women in rural areas.
In Malawi, 26% of families are headed by women, and of these, 64% are living in extreme poverty. The Chigodi Women’s Centre is providing one goat each to twenty women in the first instance. When the goat has successfully produced kids (the average is four), the goat is passed on to another woman. They are hoping to benefit 550 families within 18 months.
In order to take part in the scheme the women first must have training in livestock management and how to construct a suitable shelter for the goats. The particular type of goat has been chosen because it is fast breeding and should start providing an income in a short time. Once the women have been given some economic stability, the money can be used to send children to school and improve the household.
As the article says, "Empowering women economically is tantamount to building the country. Women use the input invested in them to develop households, send children to school and help other vulnerable groups in the communities".