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Give a goat

August 20th, 2006

Lots of people like goats. So a goat is a great gift idea, but as with other live gifts, there’s the problem of looking after it. Oxfam unwrapped solves the problem. They’ll give a goat, in the name of your gift recipient, to a poor community. At $39, tax deductible it’s a great choice. And there are other choices, including chickens, farmer training and food.
The big ticket gift is a rice bank for $12488. Maybe we could manage this for our next appeal. In the meantime, why not give a goat.

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  1. Terje (say tay-a)
    August 20th, 2006 at 20:03 | #1

    I must admit that I rather hate goats. When I was a kid (no pun intended) one of my friends had a goat on their farm. When your a little kid and you try crossing a paddock that contains a goat you learn to hate goats. Sending goats to far of foreign lands does sound like a pretty good idea.

  2. still working it out
    August 20th, 2006 at 20:44 | #2

    I like the sound of the rice bank. I would like to contribute a modest amount to that. Its a big amount though. Maybe you could make it a year long project or something and leave total amounts donated and needed up in a graphic in the side bar, perhaps in conjunction with other bloggers ?

  3. stephenl
    August 20th, 2006 at 22:05 | #3

    I was speaking to an aid agency worker the other day who told me that the goat giving program has been so succesful that it has created a few problems. Actually sourcing the goats has proven a problem in some places, and they have a backlog of donations of goats with not enough goats to buy.

    Presumably this will raise the price of goats, which is probably a good thing – as long as the goats aren’t overwhelmingly owned by a few rich inviduals. However, with a fixed donation in a rising market there are problems.

    She said they were having brain storming sessions trying to come up with other lines to diversify into which might catch the public imagination in the same way as goats.

    So I’d encourage people to buy goats, and I’d encourage them even more to buy chickens etc. But maybe this site could also be a useful source of ideas. (And I imagine that there will not be a huge supply of people wanting to buy rice banks, so maybe a collective giving effort to get to the ricebank target would be a good idea.)

  4. Terje (say tay-a)
    August 21st, 2006 at 06:33 | #4

    Does that mean that the poor thrifty guy who was saving for a goat now finds the price beyond his reach because rich westeners want to give his neighbour a goat?

    I find the idea of a well more compelling than a rice bank. However I am not real sure what a rice bank is. I presume it is some type of storage and lending fascility based on rice. If its a form of commodity currency then maybe I could get quite excited about such an initiative.

  5. zoot
    August 21st, 2006 at 13:45 | #5

    A rice bank is a simple wooden building that houses rice. Villagers provides the labour and Oxfam Australia provides materials and an initial supply of rice. Villagers borrow from this and then repay the rice next harvest. “Our living conditions are improving. We have enough food for most of the year now” Keo Nan, Khmer, Cambodia

    From the Oxfam Unwrapped site.

  6. Terje (say tay-a)
    August 21st, 2006 at 14:58 | #6

    Ah. A commodity backed community credit system. The world needs a lot more of this sort of thing. Such a pity that governments promote centrist currencies decoupled from commodities. Interesting that those on the front line should rediscover the basics that have worked since the dawn of civilisation. Interesting that the government created fiat system should be found inadequate for those that are poor and want a stable “unit of account” that fosters an honest and fair deal between lender and borrower. Interesting that John Quiggin should promote such a thing and yet have so little to say about how governtment currencies ebb and flow in value relative to rice.

  7. Aidan
    August 21st, 2006 at 15:01 | #7

    I have a birthday card at home which tells me that a poor family in Mali how has a goat on my behalf. It was the most memorable present I got – at my age, socks just don’t do it any more!

  8. Terje (say TAY-A)
    August 21st, 2006 at 17:50 | #8

    I normally give through Care Australia. I have no plans to being marketed to by multiple aid agencies so I think I will stick with them for now. I looked at their goat giving option and it says the following:-

    The CAREgifts Catalogue is now closed so that gifts you bought can be purchased and delivered to recipients in our overseas projects. Look out for our fresh new CAREgifts Catalogue later in the year.

    Maybe they are suffering from the goat shortage.

    The gift list at Oxfam is here:-

    http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au/ChooseAGift.php

    I notice that buffalo are all sold out but they still have goats.

  9. August 21st, 2006 at 18:58 | #9

    John,

    Count me in as a contributor – happy to pitch in a fair bit for a bit of advertising!

    I’m not particularly clued up on which charities to support, but have been rather put off Community Aid Abroad and Oxfam as they’ve let their justifiable anger at the poor performance of the West in trade negotiations spill over into some awful cheering for the anti-globalisation push.

    So I’ve been giving to medicin sans frontiers. What international aid charities to you prefer and why?

  10. Aidan
    August 22nd, 2006 at 12:56 | #10

    I’m a long-term supporter of Practical Action (used to be Intermediate Technology Design Group http://www.itdg.org) who facilitate poor communities making their own bricks, wells, stoves etc using local materials. For example, they might supply a brick pressing tool (made at a local forge of course!) and train the locals how to mix the straw and mud in the best proportions to make strong bricks. Very sustainable, low key and (I hope) incorruptible – no big cash flows to skim off of.

  11. Razor
    August 22nd, 2006 at 18:18 | #11

    I am in the same boat as Aidan – received a hypothetical goat for Xmas last year. Had a name and all. It saved me from having to thank my Aunty for the el’cheapo prezzie that she normally gives us.

    I am a fan of the micro-credit schemes such as the ones where you loan a cow and then get repaid with a calf that you can give to another and on and on.

  12. jquiggin
    August 22nd, 2006 at 18:35 | #12

    NG, I give to MSF, Oxfam and Plan mostly. I don’t agree entirely with Oxfam, but I think it’s worth making a noise over the fact that globalisation hasn’t done much for the poor in a lot of places – this is not exclusively due to trade policy.

    On the more general question, I’m thinking about how to organise a fundraiser on the appropriate scale and will post when I have come up with a plan.

  13. August 24th, 2006 at 21:32 | #13

    Thx JQ. Let me know when you’re ready to go on fund raising.

  14. BigBob
    August 31st, 2006 at 21:06 | #14

    Anything but a goat.

    The goat is the last step to desertification.

    Have a look at the Middle East if you want to see what is left after the goat has finished.

    The rice bank sounds like a great idea.

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