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?
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. There is the occasional refugee family that has goats. We even met some of those families (and the goats), and having goats has transformed their lives.
2. Why don't the refugees already have a sustainable food source?
Jordan got hit hard by the Syrian refugee crisis. There are 1.3 documented Syrian refugees living in Jordan, and hundreds of thousands more undocumented. This particular group of refugees that we will be distributing to do not live in camps. In fact, only 5% of 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?
Any money they would get selling a goat would go towards food, which is exactly what the goats will provide...so selling it would be a pretty silly move. Secondly, they will sign a contract. Thirdly, we are partnering with a local educational nonprofit in Northern Jordan that works with the recipient families who has agreed to check on the families and their goats every four months. We have a contract with them, too. Besides, the goat industry in Jordan is extremely controlled. There isn't really a goat black market :)
4. How did you select the 400 families who will get goats?
We didn't select them -- the aforementioned Jordanian NGO did, based on a vulnerability scale. The aid workers know the refugees and their families very well. In this particular area on the Jordanian/Syrian border, there are 400 refugee families who live in makeshift tents year-round. Many of them have small children who do not eat nearly enough protein.
5. Why are you asking $300 per goat?
The cost of a goat in Jordan is a solid $300, give or take $20 depending on the day. Jordan has a strong economy. Prices are comparable to the USA. Goat breeding is a huge industry in Jordan!
6. What is the overhead? How much is admin? How much for fundraising?
Any nonprofit who has a fundraising platform is paying at least 2.2%. That's what Stripe and PayPal take from us and any other nonprofit who uses them. And then admin costs for the project, which includes gasoline and distribution, are about 5%. Not bad!
7. Aren't there orgs that provide goats for families at a much cheaper cost?
While we really respect those orgs, they don't work in Jordan. They do a lot of their work in India and other impoverished countries, where the price of livestock is much lower.
8. How will the goats eat? Isn't it a desert?
Jordan has some desert-y parts in the South, but the Syrian/Jordanian border in the North where these families live is mostly farm land with a lot of brush and places for the goats to graze. These families have raised goats for millennia, so they are experts.
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 in Greece. But what I can tell you is that the families' nearest neighbors are also Syrian refugees who will get goats. And remember, they're not in camps -- they are living on farmland in the middle of nowhere!
10. You are only distributing female goats. What happens when the females die out?
Our partner org has agreed with some generous Jordanian farmers to lend male goats from their own herds for mating. The resulting kids will belong to the refugees. The two female goats is by design -- food (milk, cheese, yogurt) is top priority!