Monday, April 2, 2007

Holy Goats


A few days ago I went to a lecture given by an NGO worker that operates in Zimbabwe. Supposedly their program has been successful, so I really wanted to check it out, given the current state of Zimbabwe of the Mugabe administration, which I have written about below. The NGO is called Holistic Management International and their goal is to restore life to land that has lost much of its productivity over time. They teach communities to put most or all of the local livestock on the same plot of land to graze so that other areas have time to grow or regrow by time the herd needs to graze move to another plot. It has had drastic effects on the land. The website shows some photos of a plot over a period of time and this process really seems to be working. One problem that Holistic Management encountered however, was that many people in rural Zimbabwe are living in extreme poverty and are unable to purchase goats. Any monetary microfinance attempted by the NGO was doomed to fail as well because inflation is so bad (still 1700%).



The solution they decided was to purchase the goats themselves and let the goats be the currancy. Knowing that their land management techniques would be successful, they gave families ten goats each with the expectation to get them back with interest over time, not too difficult when the currency has the ability to reproduce.

The people have been empowered by the goats, and have been relieved from extreme poverty. In addition they have knowledge about how to give rebirth to their land. Hopefully, if the technique that Holistic Management teaches is so successful, the people will continue to use it and spread its usage, with their own teachers, throughout the region before other communties get jealous and sabotage the land.
Holistic Management International

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