Goat scheme makes light of challenge

Self Help AfricaNews, Uganda

Light Uganda650a

Patrick Kakuru is looking forward to a time when the day no longer ends when the sun goes down.

Like 95% of rural Ugandans, he lives ‘off the grid’, with no access to mains electricity. However, support from a Self Help Africa project has made the future a little brighter.

Light Uganda250 Goat-farmer Patrick (53) has lived without electricity since he first returned to his village, and the home he inherited from his parents, 30 years ago.

Each evening he puts a match to the smoky kerosene lamps that light his home. He has long dreamed of installing a solar panel to provide his family with enough light to study and work but the problem is the cost.

At 200,000 shillings (€60) a solar panel is beyond the reach of a typical subsistence farmer like Patrick, who admits it is constant struggle just to keep his his children fed and in school. Involvement in a Self Help Africa project that has provided goat breeders with training and support means that the prospect of Patrick’s dream going true is is looking a lot more optimistic.

As a group member he received an improved breed male goat, which has enabled him to crossbreed his local goats to produce offspring that both give more meat and produce more milk.

Patrick is confident that he will be able to sell his hybrids for almost twice the price, at market. Although his kids are not yet at a stage where they can be sold, Patrick is already benefiting in other ways, as he has rented his new goat as a breeding animal to other farmers in the region, charging a small fee each time.

The increased income this provides means that he has more disposable income. “We are already eating better and I will be able to afford a solar panel next year.” ‘With light, my children will be able to study at night, I can work, and my wife can weave baskets for money. It means the day will no longer end when the sun sets.’

Light Uganda650b