Livestock project enriches lives in Mozambique
The Cochrane Library recently published findings from this project. Learn more about the new protocol: Livestock development programmes for communities in low- and middle-income countries.
In 2011, Vanderbilt affiliate, Friends in Global Health, LLC, (FGH) and Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) launched a pilot program to improve the economic condition of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Mozambique. The project model is based on a traditional practice of lending animals among community members known as “Ovala.” Community capacity is strengthened, and livelihood strategies are implemented as livestock reproduce and require care and housing. The Ovala Project provided the initial funding for 90 goats and established a program for goat distribution. Family household assets were increased in three PLWHA associations within Gile, Lugela and Mopeia districts of Zambézia Province.
Beneficiaries and their families (at least 360 people indirectly) were trained on appropriate techniques of goat management and construction of improved corrals for housing. Additionally, a few community members in each district were selected to receive para-veterinarian training and veterinary supply kits. Goats were distributed, and training occurred in the summer of 2012. The Ovala team purchased equipment and drugs for prevention and treatment of common diseases that occur in kids (baby goats).
Since the initial goat distribution, 31 goats (18 male, 13 female) have been born in these districts, resulting in a herd increase of 34%. Importantly, the associations play a large role in determining how best to troubleshoot problems such as stillbirths or deaths and illnesses among the herd. While FGH remains a source of support for the associations, they have the freedom to develop work plans for their respective communities.
In order to evaluate the impact of the livestock development program on the health and quality of life of PLWHA, investigators at VIGH/FGH developed a research project to monitor and evaluate the progress of the program. Prior to the goat distribution, baseline data was collected from participants through an extensive survey and focus groups and will be compared to parallel data collected at the end of the pilot period.
FGH continues to support the associations in livestock management as well as provide re-fresher trainings to groups as needed. A follow-up survey is scheduled for early 2014 that will measure health outcomes of participants.
Background on FGH and VIGH
Through grant awards from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), Vanderbilt subsidiary Friends in Global Health (FGH) has been implementing programs for HIV & AIDS prevention, care and treatment since 2006. While the CDC-funded activities have focused heavily on clinical training and mentoring at the health facility level, the USAID funds incorporate community level interventions to help bridge services for patients and meet basic needs such as provision of clean water and sanitation.