Monday, January 20, 2014

Four-Legged Bank Accounts: Goats as Capital in Haiti

Editor's note: On Jan. 12, Haiti marked four years since the earthquake that devastated the country. This week and next, Global Atlanta is taking a look at how Atlanta-based organizations are continuing their often-challenging work in the country.

Why would an organization that has trained nurses in Haiti for more than 30 years get into the goat farming business?

For Global Health Action, it all goes back to health: higher and more sustainable incomes allow families to afford more food and better care.

The Decatur-based nonprofit in 1985 began providing Haitian families with indigenous female goats - or does - impregnated by a Dominican or South African boer goat. The resulting hearty hybrid grows fast and produces better meat than the local variety.

At first the idea was to help families feed themselves with meat and milk, but over time the goats were seen as a means of income security. Call it an exercise in rural entrepreneurship, a mammalian riff on the “teach a man to fish” axiom.

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