Sheep farming transforms lives in Cameroon
Bóthar received the following story about the goat and sheep projects that Bóthar operates in the Mbam - Upper Sanag Valley.
Bóthar received the following story about the goat and sheep projects that Bóthar operates in the Mbam - Upper Sanag Valley, from our field representative in Cameroon, Ajuh Jooel.
SINCE 1995 Bóthar has been working in Cameroon and has sent a number of airlifts there throughout the years. The first airlift of 20 dairy heifers was sent from Ireland in August 1995, 1000 day old chicks were airlifted in June 1998 and 40 pigs were sent from Ireland in March 2000. When it has not been possible for Bóthar to airlift animals from Ireland, Bóthar has sourced animals in other countries to be airlifted to Cameroon or has worked with animals sourced in Cameroon. Bóthar works with a number of animal species in Cameroon such as dairy cows, snails and honey bees.
Agnes Behoumie, a widow, is forty years of age, has five children and also cares for her 77 year old mother who lives with them along with 3 of her late sister’s children, who stay with her when they are not at school. That is a lot of mouths to feed! In addition to this, Agnes is also responsible for the school fees of all 8 children.
When her husband died, Agnes didn’t know where to turn. She knew she needed to provide for the children and her mother but she didn’t know how she was going to do it.
In 2009 Agnes applied to her local village council to become involved in Bóthar projects in her area. Agnes was thrilled to be selected and she received training in a number of different areas such as sheep husbandry, group management and leadership skills, record keeping, pasture and animal nutrition, gender and family issues and community development.
Agnes said that the training that she received rewarded her with a number of benefits that she had never expected such as a greater interest in children’s education as she now knows this is their way out of poverty.
In March 2010 Agnes received 5 sheep from Bóthar. The animals live in a wooden, raised floor stable about 80cm above the ground. The walls are slated to allow for ample ventilation and the floor has pencil size spacing to allow for the easy passage of urine and droppings.
Agnes uses the sheep droppings to fertilise her crops and she has seen an increase in the crop yield.
Her farm size has increased from one to two hectares. There is year round availability and variation in foodstuff for the family as she cultivates vegetables. Protein intake in the family has increased from once a month to once a week. Fish and meat are bought with money from sales of milk, wool and food crops.
Agnes has also been able to dig a toilet for the family and is currently getting electricity connected in her home.
As a result of the knowledge gained in group management she is exposed to other associations in the community. This has increased her reputation both in her group and the associations in which she belongs. Agnes testifies that her standing in the community has changed, despite her status as a widow.
“I want to thank the donors who give their money to help less privileged people in the world like me. I want to thank Bóthar for their non-bias way of doing things because thanks to this approach, I was selected to be part of the project. In fact, I remain very grateful to the donors and Bóthar for all that they are doing for me and my children.”