Namibian-German Special Initiative

for community-driven development in specific regions

Small livestock gives the poor a new lease of life in Bethanie

Goats can make a difference. Some of the goats distributed through the local authorities in Bethanie by the NGSIP.


The Namibian-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP) has distributed more than 860 goat ewes and 43 goat rams to vulnerable households in the most impoverished Bethanie districts of the Berseba electoral constituency.

In November 2012 the NGSIP distributed small livestock to communities in the Bethanie.

Bernadus Kooper, 32, from a small farm in Bethanie, //Karas Region used to survive by tilling his quarter-acre land and by doing seasonal petty jobs in his village. The money he earned was barely enough to put food on the table for his family.

He also did occasional labour on nearby farms for rations and small money.

"I used to go days without work after I had finished the chores in my small field. You can understand how difficult it was to feed my family," commented Kooper, father of three.

In 2015, the village committee selected Kooper as one of the beneficiaries to benefit from interventions of the NGSIP small stock revolving scheme. NGSIP is an initiative between the Federal Republic of Germany and Namibia.

"It was a sigh of relief for my family and me to know that we could start over," Kooper said with a grin on his face.

The project gives small livestock to small farmers and vulnerable households to help them graduate from unfavorable poverty and nutrition conditions.

“Besides the level of destitution, a beneficiary must have the ability to maintain the stock and subscribe to the commitment to revolve part of the production on to the next needy person on the waiting list,” said NGSIP Programme Manager Matthew /Goagoseb.

According to /Goagoseb before receiving animals, the selected recipients are trained in proper livestock keeping, such as feeding and treatment, and in business exploitation of the animal resources value chain.

Kooper, like many other beneficiaries also received veterinary kits for their goats.

For beneficiaries, farming with a goat represents a ray of hope for getting out of the poverty trap. The goats provide manure for small family farms and generates income.

Kooper is currently capable of supplementing limited food production for his family, paying for subscriptions to medical insurance schemes, clothes, etc. As his goats continue to produce, he hopes to save enough money to buy a cow in the future to diversify his farming.

This is just one of the stories told by communities who were helped through the NGSIP livestock support programme.

Marietjie Hansen, in Bethanie, is another example. She and her community have traditionally raised a small herd of cows for milk and meat. However, recurring drought in their region has severely depleted the cow population. There simply hasn’t been enough grass and fodder to keep cows alive.

Hansen received one of these first goats. She now obtains a liter of goat milk each day, which is equal to what she received from her cow that died during the last drought. She said that raising goats is less tedious than raising cows because they are easy to manage and eat less. She can then spend more time on other chores in her farm and home.
“Milk from my goat has already changed my life, I feel like I am growing younger day by day,” she said with a laugh.

“It was a sigh of relief for my family and me to know that we could start over. I’m grateful to God for sending organizations like NGSIP to help us at such a time when we were vulnerable. May God always be with them,” said Hansen.

The local Traditional Authority in Bethanie district has noted significant positive social and economic changes in their jurisdictions as a result of livestock distribution to their area by NGSIP.

"There has been increased inflow of small livestock in the district as a result of NGSIP. This resulted in increased income from the market value chain, improved diet and increased agricultural production," said Kaptein Dawid Frederick, leader of the Soromas Traditional Authority in Bethanie District in a recent comment.

He, however, expressed concern about the escalating theft of small stock and called on his subjects to work with the police and arrest the culprits.

The Chief praised NGSIP on numerious occasions for improving the livelihood of his people.

The NGSIP is meant for development projects in communities that have historic ties with the German government, such as the Nama, Damara, Herero and San.

It funds small-scale social and economic infrastructure projects which benefit the poor and have an impact on poverty.