Bóthar had its origins in 1989 in the city of Limerick on the Shannon Estuary in Ireland. It began as an enterprise with the aim of sending as many dairy cows to Africa as possible in the year 1991, in conjunction with the civic celebrations to mark the tercentenary of the signing of the Treaty of Limerick, an important milestone in Irish history. However, as the months passed and as more people were informed about the project, a great enthusiasm began to surround the organising committee. It became apparent that this endeavour had far more potential than a local and temporary programme. It was decided to invite prominent national figures to form a Board of Directors of a new Third World Development Agency, which would specialise in the use of livestock in developing countries.
The national launch of Bóthar, on 24 August 1991 was attended by, among many others, Mr. Tom Hemphill the Chief Executive of Heifer International, USA, and Gerald Addicott of Send A Cow from the U.K. with whom Bóthar had formed working partnerships. As soon as the formalities were concluded Bóthar was offered its first dairy heifer by Mr. Tim Doody of Kilballyowen, Herbertstown, Co. Limerick. Following this the practical task of getting together the first heifer shipment was stepped up. After three months of very hard work by many people from all over the country the first Bóthar Airlift of 20 in-calf dairy heifers left Shannon Airport for Entebbe, Uganda on the night of 10 December 1991. One week later these animals were distributed to 20 individual families. In the following few years many subsequent shipments of heifers were sent to East Africa. Bóthar also began a dairy goat programme, and became involved with supplying 4 W-D vehicles, large supplies of veterinary drugs and many thousands of AI straws to project countries. The excellent working relationship between Bóthar and Heifer International continued throughout the formative years of our organisation.
Inaugural Meeting of Bóthar Board, June 29th 1991 Billy Kelly, James Quigley (Treasurer), Brendan Lane (Auditor), Harry Lawlor, James Guinane, Peter Ireton (Secretary), Bishop Edward Darling, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, T.J. Maher (Chairman) (R.I.P), Kevin Culhane (Vice Chairman) (R.I.P.)
In 1992 Bóthar sent its first airlift of dairy goats to Africa. For several years thereafter our activities were confined to airlifting dairy heifers, dairy goats and providing associated equipment and supplies to ensure the success of the projects. As the years went by Bóthar started receiving contacts from Irish missionaries working in the developing world. They wondered whether we could contribute to their work.
Simultaneously our support base at home in Ireland was growing all the time. Furthermore, we were developing a stronger relationship with Heifer International and learning more about the different species of animals that they work with in cultures and climates where our cows and goats would not be suitable. In the late nineties Bóthar started airlifting pigs and subsequently chickens to African countries. Then we helped establish honey bee programmes in five different countries in Africa, and a rabbit programme in China.
Bóthar has continued to grow, expand, learn and teach more about livestock micro farming as the years have gone by. Bóthar works with a number of project partners all over the world. Our project partners include U.S. based Heifer International, a Dutch based group, Heifer Nederland and Elevages Sans Frontieres in France. Together we are working to help alleviate poverty in 20 countries worldwide using sixteen different species of animals.
Bóthar looks to the future with hope and confidence that what we are enabled to do through our many generous supporters will continue to make a difference in our world.