When Moses Mubala and Peace Corps volunteer Jessica Dyer started their demonstration farm last year, they had a small piece of land and high hopes to support orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) through an income-generating project that breeds pigs and goats.
With a small grant supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), these hopes are now a completed demonstration farm where animals are breeding and OVCs are learning how to care for them.
This project is helping provide 55 OVC - 40 of whom are HIV-positive - with a source of income to pay for school fees, healthcare and food.
The overall goal of the demonstration farm is to generate enough money to pay for health, education and other costs for the OVCs, and to produce more pigs and goats.
U.S. Mission Small Grants paid for the construction of the four animal houses used for the farm and an onsite office to manage it. The grant also supports veterinary care and training and paid for the first stock of goats and pigs. This month, the OVC will receive their first male and female pig, except for Muslim children who will receive goats. All participants receive free training and veterinary care to improve profitability and productivity, and OVCs are encouraged to return to the veterinarian for consultations as needed.
To date, the profits generated from the demonstration farm have allowed these OVCs to pay for their current healthcare and school fees. But the income generated by this program has done more than just provide funds - it has given hope for an independent and self-reliant future.
"They've been encouraged to start something of their own because they are dependent and vulnerable. Being productive is a meaningful way of being self-reliant," said Moses. With income from their pigs and goats, he says, "they will access basic needs in life."
Building on this success, the Peace Corps will continue to monitor this income generation project and also develop a grassroots HIV testing and health education campaign.
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