NGSIP MEDIA RELEASE
Anna Katsao, 65, used to be a subsistence farmer. Unfortunately the amount of food she was able to grow was not enough to support her family.
However, she was one of the families who benefitted from the Namibian-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP) program in Blouwes in 2014. The family's situation began to improve and through the program Katsao was able to provide better nutrition for her whole family.
Two years down the line the goats are grassing, growing and breeding and helping single women and vulnerable families in rural Namibia secure a source of income and a better nutrient food intake.
The goats were distributed amongst vulnerable people through a community consultation process in the //Karas Region, is the southernmost and least densely populated of the 13 regions of Namibia, its capital is Keetmanshoop.
From the ten dairy goats Katsao started with, initially, she received an additional 10 ewes and one ram from the NGSIP and has managed to expand her business. She now owns 20 dairy goats that help her support her family.
Katsao, a mother of three daughters and a boy told me when I visited the area to see if the NGSIP supported goats have made life easier for the beneficiary families and whether they have increased the NGSIP goats as per the set criteria.
When asked how life changed after the small livestock support, Katsao recalled, "I felt like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders."
Women in Blouwest do not believe in binding agreements anyway. Many of their husbands have abandoned their families, whether because of ill fate or simply because they gave up providing for their families.
But Katsao is one of the few lucky women still married in this area. However, the biggest concerns for Katsao are that the goats can not be slaughtered or sold during the breeding process and that it should be passed on to the next families when the female gives birth thereby perpetuating the initiative.
For Katsao, with the 10 goats she received from NGSIP, she feels that her immediate worries have disappeared.
“I keep these goats on a small piece of land from which I can get enough milk for my children and me. However, the big change will happen when we succeed in breeding more goats. That will change our life status,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. “I wish we could keep these goats,” she continued to say.
Despite her health challenges, Katsao has continued to forge ahead in life.
"I sell the milk I get from the goats and make a handsome profit," Katsao said. "People like goat milk because its nutritional value is high. I milk the goats twice a day, early in the morning and at night. I also sell baby goats to make additional money."
The woman plans to continue expanding her dairy business. She wants to ensure that all her children are able to receive a good education in the hopes they will find good jobs. What advice does Katsao have for other communities just joining the NGSIP livestock support program?
"I would urge them to take good care of the livestock and put the money to good use," she said. "They should work hard toward making their lives and those of their children better, other than relying on handouts."
Overall, her life has improved vastly in recent months.
“When it was very dry, a lot of livestock died and there was not many crops on the farms. Things have gotten way better,” she explains.