Goat farming points HIV positive farmer to fortunes

Jacinta is a HIV positive smallholder farmer who has had to struggle to feed her family. But a new program dubbed Unbound Kisumu program which sponsored her daughter Caroline has been instrumental not only in improving the nutrition of the family but also allowed Jacinta to take a loan through her savings which has assisted her start goat farming.

Since becoming part of Unbound, Jacinta has joined the KINDA mothers group. Being part of a mothers group gives Jacinta access to a supportive group of women who share each other's struggles, worries and successes.

The group also takes part in a savings program in which each member contributes a small amount of money at monthly meetings. The Kisumu program then matches the amount saved by the mothers. The mothers can take loans from the group to start or improve a small business or other livelihood project to help support their families.

"I took a loan which I used to buy two dairy goats," Jacinta said. "I attended a seminar that was advocating for dairy goat farming, and I became interested. This is a business that many people have not explored, and I thought it was a good idea to try it out. I am happy I did."
Though Jacinta has overcome many challenges, there is one burden that she must bear each day. Jacinta is HIV-positive.

Jacinta was forced to marry at a young age and was the third wife of a much older man. Her husband passed away when Jacinta's three children were still young, before Caroline was sponsored. She later learned he died as a result of AIDS. Jacinta got tested and learned she was HIV-positive.

"Unbound staff were very helpful," Jacinta said. "They knew my health condition and they offered me nutritional benefits that helped me build up my immunity." Despite her health challenges, Jacinta has continued to forge ahead in life.

From the two dairy goats Jacinta started with, she has saved and managed to expand her business. She now owns six dairy goats that help her support her family. "I sell the milk I get from the goats and make a handsome profit," Jacinta said. "People like goat milk because its nutritional value is high. I milk the goats twice a day, early in the morning and at night. I also sell baby goats to make additional money."

Jacinta plans to continue expanding her dairy business. She wants to ensure that all her children are able to receive a good education in the hopes they will find good jobs.

She also continues to be active in her mothers group. Within the group they encourage one another and discuss the ideas they have for livelihood projects. Jacinta is open with the group about being HIV-positive. She helps counsel other mothers who share the same diagnosis.

"I would urge parents to take loans and put the money to good use," she said. "They should work hard toward making their lives and those of their children better, other than relying on Unbound wholly."