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Curbing hunger with GOATS and goats

30 June 2022, Impact of Our Work, Voices from the Field

GOATS help mums care for children

In Northeast Uganda, mothers are getting the support they need to address stunting among their children.

A Save the Children livelihood project called GOATS (Giving Ownership and Assets To prevent Stunting) is bringing the acronym to life - providing mothers with actual goats to milk, which helps provide nutritional and food supplements to support their family’s diet.

In the communities of Karamoja, malnutrition and food insecurity are at the highest levels in Uganda due to inadequate food, poor dietary diversity, inadequate hygiene and sanitation, and disease. Around 35 percent of children younger than five years are stunted due to chronic malnutrition. And 28 percent of those in this age group are underweight. 

A child suffering from stunting and malnutrition has a poorer immune system, putting them at risk of life-threatening diseases. Their brain function and organ development are affected, which can limit their quality of life in the future. 

Mums receive goats and seeds

To help reduce food insecurity and stunting among these children, Save the Children, with the generous support of donors, distributed 515 goats to 250 families. These families received two goats each and formed groups with 10-15 other participants who will pass on the goats to each other. 

Recipients also received training on goat husbandry including housing, feeding, watering, disease and parasites management, breeding and marketing basics.

The goats provide a way for the women to earn an income and to learn practical livelihood skills.

Jennifer, one of the mums, says, “Thank you Save the Children for the goats that you have given to us, because these goats are going to produce for us milk. And we shall sell the milk in order to get some little money that we can use to support our children by buying books for them.”

The women also received seeds to grow vegetables and promote healthy eating within their families. Among the seedlings were cowpeas, amaranth (a highly nutritious plant locally known as doodo), onions and pawpaw fruit trees.


“These seeds we have produced our vegetables. We are now able to change our diet.”

Jennifer, 30-year-old mum

Lokong, 24, is growing vegetables from the seeds she received 
Photo: James Mbiri/Save the Children International

Working with community to address food insecurity

Through dialogues and other innovative approaches with the community, Save the Children is working with local cultural leaders to implement the GOATS project.

By 2024, we aim for the project to contribute towards improved access to nutritious and safe food for agropastoral households in the sub-region. We estimate this will benefit 3,772 households with pregnant and lactating mothers, and those with children under 5 years - the critical age for addressing malnutrition.

Paul, 5, poses happily with the goats received by his mum
Photo: James Mbiri/Save the Children International

With support from our generous community of donors, children like five-year-old Paul can grow up healthy and happy – made possible with the help of GOATS and goats.

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