Thank you so much for your interest in and support for our ongoing goat project in Jordan. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.
1. Why goats?
Goats provide a sustainable food source, restoration of some parts of culture (the families are Bedouin), and eventual source of income. And perhaps the biggest reason: Family after family that we visited pled with us for goats so that they have a sustainable source of milk.
2. Why don't the refugees already have a sustainable food source?
Jordan got hit hard by the Syrian refugee crisis. Only 5% of 2 million refugees live in camps. There are very few NGOs supporting refugees who live outside of camps.
3. How do you know the refugees won't sell the goats?
They sign a contract stating they will not sell or kill their goats. Our partner org checks on the families and their goats every month. There isn't really a goat black market since the goat industry is heavily government-controlled.
4. How did you select the 400 families who will get goats?
Our Jordanian parter org selected the families based on a vulnerability scale. The aid workers know the refugees and their families very well. The project has been receiving incredibly well in the area. The rest of the families who are waiting to receive goats are very excited.
5. Why are you asking $300 per goat? That seems like a lot. Is there overhead?
Baby goats are about $80. A regular adult goat is about $180. But a milk producing female --meaning, a young, healthy adult who has given birth and will continue to produce milk for at least a year until it gets pregnant again -- is about $275 right now (the price is government-controlled and thus changes a little from day to day). Because bringing food and nutrition to the refugees is our priority, *those* are the goats we want.
We absolutely do not profit from this campaign. Like any project, there is a little overhead and admin costs. The extra money goes towards: Monthly checks on the goats (lots of gasoline and hours), periodic visits to the veterinarian, and distribution costs.
6. Aren't there orgs that provide goats for families at a much cheaper cost?
There are some great orgs that provide livestock to impoverished families, and that is amazing. However, they don't work in Jordan. They do a lot of their work in India and other developing countries, which is why you'll see a cheaper cost.
7. What happens if the goats get sick?
Recipient families will contact Jabal Zamzam, our partner org. Jabal Zamzam team will take the sick goats to a local veterinarian.
8. How will the goats eat? Isn't it a desert?
While Jordan is not so great for agriculture, it is prime for grazing and has been for thousands of years. In fact, 50,000 families in Jordan still make their living by raising herds of goats and sheep. Jordan is the 3rd largest exporter of goats in the world, and the vast majority of those goats come from herds that graze in the countryside.
9. How can you make sure the goats won't get stolen?
I mean, we can't prevent theft of anything in Jordan, just like we can't prevent it when we distribute aid in Greece. But what I can tell you is that the families' nearest neighbors are also Syrian refugees who will also get goats. The Jordanian families in the area help watch out for their Syrian neighbors.
10. You are only distributing female goats. What happens when the females die out?
Distributing two female goats is by design, as protein-rich food (milk, cheese, yogurt) is our top priority! Our partner org has agreed with Jordanian farmers to lend male goats from their own herds for mating. The resulting kids will belong to the refugees.