Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Animal Loans

So, as you may recall, last year was a very bad year in Niger. After two years of little to no rains, and the ever present problem of overgrazing in the zone, there was no pasture left and people's animals were dying as they desperately waited for rains and pasture to come.

Dead animals were everywhere and rotting stench was in the air.

Some NGOs would come through and collect all of the dead carcases and burn them so that other animals in their hunger wouldn't try to eat them.

Thankfully, rains came and in the end there was good pasture. Unfortunately the first rains up north were torrential and cause major flash flooding. Many lost whatever remaining animals that had managed to survive the drought.

After the rains came and the pasture began to grow the post-crisis work began. A large part of that work is helping people restock their herds. We do this through animal loans. The way the loans work is that the project (JEMED) buys the initial stock of animals for members of a community chosen by that community. They keep the animals for a number of years and when the time comes for them to reembourse those animals, instead of them paying it back to the project, the animals (not the same ones, but others of the same age and quality) are loaned back out to other members of their community. Around Christmastime our church raised some money to help buy animals. Here are a few pics...

Animals waiting to be branded after being purchased in market.

The branding fire.

Some of the beneficiaries. These are Wodaabe from the village of Tagalalt. Mallam on the far left is the president of the site, the others are two of his brothers.


My little sheep herder.

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