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Rwanda unveils a new ‘Goats for God’ agriculture programme: CEN 9.21.07 p 8. September 23, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Rwanda, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.

The Bishop of Byumba in rural northeast Rwanda, reports his diocese has begun a goats for God programme, donating over 1000 goats and 200 dairy cows to rural communities to help them become economically self-sufficient.

Bishop Onesphore Rwaje, Bishop of Byumba and Dean of the Province of Rwanda stated “our church as a vision for holistic development,” and had purchased the livestock “to stamp out hunger” and ensure “food security.”  The church was also engaged in teaching rural villagers about scientific farming, to help improve crop yields and reduce soil erosion and deforestation.

The Rwandan project is modeled upon the work of western charities such as Heifer International of the United States, and Send a Cow in Britain.

Chartered in 1998 by West Country farmers, Send a Cow is a Christian charity that gives African farming families agricultural implements and livestock: cattle, goats, sheep, bees, rabbits, and donkeys.

In return, the farm families promise to give the first female calf to another poor family.  The cow and other livestock provide milk and other products to consume and sell, as well as manure to fertilize the soil.

In the 19 years since it started, ‘Send a Cow’ has helped thousands of people across Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania and Lesotho and has grown from an annual turnover of £500,000 to £5.4 million.

Send a Cow’s is “focused on the essence of its Christian motivation,” the chairman of its board of trustees Philip Poulsom said, “that of offering a neighbourly hand to those trapped in poverty, especially widows, orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS and those with disabilities.”

“By giving them the start in life they need, they have access to a healthy diet and the ability to generate an income to pay for such essentials as better housing, education for children and healthcare,” he said.

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