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A group of University of Copenhagen Agricultural Development students, are starting a small development project in Kenya. To fund the project they are holding a fundraising party on Saturday the 27th of October 2012.
Our reporter caught up with one of the organisers of the fundraising party and member of the project, Alexander Fernandes.
Why Kenya and what is the importance of such a development project over there?
»During March this year we conducted field work in Kenya as part of the SLUSE field course. Living and working in the Solio community brought us face to face with the hardships and difficulties of the local residents. The living conditions are really harsh, it’s located exactly in the rain shadow of Mount Kenya which means it’s a very arid area, and the high altitude means days are hot and nights are really cold, even frost is not uncommon«.
»There are few facilities and the villagers live in very basic housing. Most people depend on crop farming, maize and beans mostly, as a source of food and income, but the climate means harvests often fail and most residents are dependent on food aid to survive«.
Read more about the project here.
What is the aim of the team in Kenya?
»Make it possible for some of the most resource poor villagers to get started with dairy goat farming. We will help them acquire top quality animals and provide them with the training and basic supplies needed to get the most out of them. The main goal of this project is to provide villagers with a source of nutrition and income while empowering them to establish a livelihood not dependent on aid«.
Why are dairy goats so important?
»Goats are hardy, easy to maintain, and relatively cheap. They can thrive in challenging climates including the dry and frost prone area of Solio. A good breed can supply a family with enough milk for personal consumption plus surplus which can be sold to the nearby dairy plant. Furthermore, goats can have two to three kids a year, which will be passed on to other families so that over time more and more people will benefit«.
What is the timescale of this project, from start to completion?
»The idea is to create a project that will sustain itelf over time. The passing on of the baby goats is central to this feature and means that a lot can be acomplished with relatively little money. If everything goes according to plan we will be able to get started by the end of 2012.
Why are students, such as yourselves, getting involved and to what gain?
»First of all to give something back to the community that was so welcoming to us despite their hardships. The villagers are such lovely, friendly, hardworking people, and they really deserve a helping hand. Second, we believe it´s a great opportunity for students to become involved in a real life development project and see the difference they can make to the lives of people in need. Everyone who is interested in participating is welcome to join, and it´s a completely volunteer-based and democratic project, meaning that all money ends up with the beneficiaries and everyone’s opinion on how to run and manage the project is taken into account«.
What are your fundraising party goals and is there a fundraising target?
»As much as possible. It’s always difficult to predict but a top quality goat costs 120 Euro, so we hope to make two or three times that amount«.
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