Goats are doing great things for poor communities in Malawi, changing people's lives for the better – including that of Aida Jonasni and her family.
Aida is HIV-positive and is bringing up two sons alone. She was chosen by people in her village Chimbalanga, to receive a goat. Under this Oxfam scheme needy families get a female goat to breed from. After returning one of the resulting kids to the scheme, the family get to keep the rest. Aida currently has seven goats.
The Oxfam-funded goat distribution programme started in 2005, since then 2,798 families have received a goat and their lives have begun to change for the better. It is a simple initiative that aims to ensure that people have enough food all year round, particularly during the dry season – when personal maize harvests have run out and little else grows without irrigation.
A goat is a valuable asset to a vulnerable household; it breeds easily and can produce up to six kids a year. They can be kept to produce milk and manure which can help improve subsequent harvests. Or offspring can be sold to raise money to pay for food, school fees or, as in Aida's case, the medicines which have really changed her life: "Before I received this goat I was sick a lot. Now I'm receiving treatment and I feel much better."