Diadagdou Haro and his wife Libabodimo Ouoba move part of their goat herd towards water. The goats provided income in their village in Burkina Faso when crops failed because of drought.  

Family in West Africa gets 4-legged insurance policy and resilience

  • Gary Fields
  • Nov 14, 2018
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Herd gives farmers new income source

Crops failed but goats saved the day

This is a story about how you changed a family’s life with three goats.

In years past, when drought came to Diadagdou Haro’s home in Burkina Faso, West Africa, his crops failed. He and his wife, Libabodimo Ouoba, had to beg for food to feed their family.

This year, as in the past, drought came, and their crops withered. But, unlike other years, Diadagdou’s family is eating — not food they begged for, but food they bought with income from the sale of goats.

Burkina Faso is among one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world. Most families rely heavily — if not solely — on growing crops for survival. And recent cycles of drought and food shortage have driven millions to the brink of famine.

Your generosity is bringing lots of support to struggling families in Burkina Faso. You’re providing high-quality seeds that have a shorter growing season and effective ways to capture and conserve precious water. Perhaps most importantly, you’re helping families become better able to withstand setbacks, especially when their harvest fails or is not enough to sustain them.

Not long ago, Diadagdou’s family received three goats from Lutheran World Relief: two female and one male. They learned how to care for the animals and, in just a few years, they were able to build a healthy herd of 18 goats!  

The four-legged superstars are Diadagdou’s insurance policy. They provide an additional income stream, making him less vulnerable to drought and other hardships.

This climate shock safety net came into play this year when rains ended before expected. Despite his best efforts, he had little to harvest. The sorghum, beans and maize Diadagdou’s family grows to eat and the sesame and nuts he grows to sell did not flourish. But this time there was no panic, and no relying on outside help.

The couple sold several goats for a total of about $110, enough to buy food and other necessities for themselves and their children, ages 7, 5, and 3.

Without the goats, Diadagdou says he would likely have to migrate for work outside the country, far from his young family. The goats allow him to remain at home and work the land and continue to build the herd.

As Diadagdou and Libabodino continue to work hard to overcome their many challenges, they are happily watching their herd continue to grow. Two of their goats recently gave birth, one to twins.

“By selling the goats we were able to make it through the last drought,” Libabodino says. “We’re continuing to breed more in case of emergency.”

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Chance to develop farming skills

The herd gives Diadagdou time to learn from others parts of the project, including how to capture rain water. The goats allow him to try new growing techniques without worrying about whether the family will have money for food.

“If you have food,” he says, “the other things can be taken care of.”

Gary Fields, Nov 14, 2018 email