In rural villages like Bassantenga, in the north of Burkina Faso, it used to be the case that owning goats was only permissible if you were a man.
But for Oumapousga Niessin, 61, and her household of 16, things were even worse. With no assets at all, she argued constantly with her husband about money.
Harvesting couldn't satisfy all our needs. We sow and there are droughts, all that was growing would die and we would have to begin again. At the end we didn’t have enough to feed our family.
- Oumapousga Niessin.
With the rainy season sometimes lasting half as long as it used to, she sought employment in the farms of wealthier neighbours, but was still unable to generate enough revenue for the family.
When BRACED partner ODE met with the women’s group in Bassantenga village, the request was unanimous — they wanted goats.
Goats were desirable for two reasons.
Firstly, they are perceived to be a stable form of generating money – less vulnerable to the fluctuations of market demand than activities such as making and selling food. Secondly, women didn’t usually own goats. Despite this, men in the village didn’t complain, and goat ownership went some way to disrupting the gender power imbalance in the community.
Across the programme, BRACED has distributed 7950 goats to 2650 people.
In Bassantenga, nine were chosen to receive three goats each to build financial security for the village and prevent families having to sell their precious harvest in order to pay for medicine and school fees.
From her initial three, Oumapousga bred 12 kids, totally transforming the life of the family and their future.
As well as covering clothes, medicine and school fees, Oumapousga now plans to increase her farming capacity by employing others to help. And the arguments with her husband have completely stopped.
In village meetings, as the men know we can contribute financially, they ask about our opinions, we are more respected now. That was not the case in the past. I'm proud of having the goats. It is a kind of security for me. You can't know the importance of these goats. That is why I'm always smiling, look at me!
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