Send A Cow – celebrating its 30th birthday.
Send a Cow was set up by a group of Christian dairy farmers from the UK in 1988.
They were outraged at EU milk quotas, which were forcing them to slaughter healthy dairy cows. At the same time there was an appeal from Uganda for milk. The farmers set about doing something positive about it all. They embarked on a project, which was set to become an innovative and practical charity.
So why choose Uganda.
Uganda was just emerging from a long civil war, communities and their farmland had been destroyed and much of the country’s livestock wiped out. Several of the UK farmers flew to Africa to investigate how they could help.
Meeting with Ugandan farmers, the Bishop of Mukono, and a livestock expert, they saw how smallholder dairy farming in Africa could work. People there were unable to feed themselves and milk would provide an instant source of nutrition. They returned to the UK determined to help, and sent cows from their own herds to Uganda. Send a Cow was born. Since then they have managed to transform lives of over 1.3 million people in Africa.
They have changed a lot since 1988. No longer sending cows from the UK, they now source them locally. In fact, providing livestock is just a tiny part of what they do. They don’t ask communities what they need – they ask what they’ve got. They help them identify and value resources they already have: their land, their families, their communities and capacities. Together, communities build a vision of a better future.
Then, through training in farming, and by tackling social issues such as gender inequality, they enable them to acquire both the hope and the skills to get there. They are well known for delivering distinctive programmes that blend gender equality and social development training, alongside farming systems and business development.
Kernow Vets – helping hands from our Kernow Farm and Equine Team
As members of XLVets – a group of like minded independent veterinary practices – we were introduced to this amazing charity. XL Vets partnership with Send a Cow got off to an excellent start in 2015 raising an incredible £15,571. The charity has the approach of placing equal emphasis on social development as well as providing practical farming support. And it is that practical training support that the vets of the UK can help with. We help with training in organic and sustainable farming and sourcing livestock locally. Families once on the brink of poverty are able to feed themselves, grow businesses that last and create a secure future.
Together, XLVets and Send a Cow are passionate to continue supporting life-changing work in Africa whilst putting XLVets’ veterinary expertise to the best use. XLVets and Send a Cow have developed a new training programme – funding 2 vets to visit Send a Cow projects twice a year across the 3 years. The training will rotate between Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda on each visit.
And this is where our own Kernow Farm and Equine Vets can help
This autumn we were delighted to see Phil, one of our farm vets from Kernow Farm and Equine, chosen to help. He has traveled to Uganda where he joined another large animal vet from the XlVet community. Their role for 2 weeks was to lead training for farm animal workers from the charity to enable them to teach the farmers who receive the animals. The charity aims to give livestock to people across Africa, and then to train them on how to keep them. The trainers’ advice focuses on managing a small sustainable business to feed families a nutritious diet. A lot of those who get help have lost family members to HIV and the charity particularly supports those who are caring for orphans.
Phil has been out in the wilds of Uganda on small farms doing practical training on cattle housing, feeding and fertility. He has also been advising on goat, sheep and chicken keeping. The first born female calf of each cow is gifted to another family, and the charity then trains the new farmer in cattle care. Phil had a fascinating time teaching about diseases he sees on a daily basis and learning about the conditions affecting cattle in the tropics. The children particularly enjoyed the use of puppets and animal models which helped with the language barriers in the remote villages
Well done Phil – we are very proud of you. And if you want to learn more about Send A Cow and how to help then click on https://www.sendacow.org/about/