Iowa State University is part of a program to help farmers in Uganda improve their wealth. I.S.U. animal science professor, Max Rothschild, says it involves giving animals to the farmers.
Rothschild says they are working with a non-governmental agency called "VEDCO" (Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns) to pick farmers who have interest in raising livestock. The farmers provide part of the money for an animal shelter and they help the farmers by providing them a pig or a goat.
Rothschild says, "Then they use these animals to help pull their family up by the bootstraps, so to speak." The philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company has provided $100,000 to fund the two-year project.
Rothschild says one animal might not mean much in Iowa, but it does in Uganda. He says it makes an enormous difference as the farmers usually have a small acreage. Rothschild says animals are like an agricultural bank for the farmers as they can use them to pay for schooling or to pay bills. And in some cases they use them for food.
Rothschild says the program is also partly self-sustaining after it gets going. Rothschild says when animals are born from the animals given to farmers, those farmers give up one animal for another farmer. Rothschild says they buy the animals in the country and then give them to the farmers chosen for the program.
He says they are just starting to bring the animals onto the farms after choosing the farmers and working the structures.
The goal is to place animals with 100 farmers, with 65 getting pigs and 35 receiving goats. Rothschild says the program is part of the The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods at Iowa State. Find out more about the program at the center’s website .