Livestock Support Programme

Efficient, sustainable small-scale farming has been identified by both the provincial and national governments as a key strategy towards achieving economic development in rural areas.

The Donald Woods Foundation is assisting in this initiative by driving livestock health in our area of operation and working closely with local subsistence and small-scale farmers. We do this by boosting animal health, assisting livestock owners to improve their herds and by advocating overall food security.

In addition to its other broad-spectrum economic development initiatives in and around Mbashe, the DWF is also implementing a substantive community livestock support programme. This initiative is being rolled out for the benefit of all small-scale farmers in the region.

Livestock support programme

  • Parasite control
  • Animal fertility
  • Technical and product support
  • Vaccinations
  • Education
  • Animal health skills transfer
  • Grazing best practice
  • Peer education

Homestead herds form a substantial part of a family’s savings in rural areas and can be likened to an informal banking system. When a family needs to outlay capital such as school fees and uniforms at the beginning of the year, they sell livestock to pay for this and any other emergencies. Livestock holdings are the financial cushion.

The roving programme sees trained DWF staff and community field workers travel throughout the region to bring vaccinations and other essential animal drugs directly to villagers at their homesteads, and to train small-scale farmers in growing and nurturing their herds. Veterinary medicines and vaccinations are sold at zero profit to the farmers.

This has proven an invaluable intervention in an area where parasite control traditionally has been poor or non-existent and it saves local homesteaders from having to travel to the nearest towns, where they usually have to buy in bulk at great expense for transport and the medicines.

In addition to drug distribution, DWF staff are training local farmers and other community members to strengthen and enhance the overall health of their homestead animals through effective drug management, herd fertility, parasite control and optimising overall grazing practices.

With social and economic development at the heart of improved health, all our initiatives are rooted in a wider programme of upliftment, upskilling and job creation. All our health promoters and peer educators receive extensive training and skills development, with a clear mandate to utilise these skills to benefit and service local communities.