Three goats bring self-sufficiency to local communities

Southern Jordan observes the aspects of poor infrastructure, land and water sacristy with high poverty rate of 24.2%. As you travel to the Southern Jordan, you start to witness the features of poverty and deprivation all over the surroundings. Between the banana field and the deserted lands lies The Southern Shuneh. Most of the people in Southern Shuneh rely on charity organizations and aid programmes. The Ministry of Social Development as well provides monthly salaries to the families.

Dina Al Ayed, a Jordanian residence in Southern Shuneh, has found herself helpless after the death of her husband. Widowed at the age of 40, Dina has 5 children to nurture, feed and raise. The 90 [127 USD] monthly salary she receives for the Ministry of Social Development can barely cover the basic aspects of livilhood. She and her family totally rely on the charity organizations and aid programme implemented in their area.

In January 2012, Mr. Khalill Odwan, an official from the Directorate of Southern Shuneh, paid a visit to Dina proposing an idea that will improve her family’s livelihood. The proposal was to provide Dina with three pregnant goats to nurture and benefit from the milk they produce.

A UNDP-supported joint programme “Food and Nutrition Security in Jordan towards Poverty Alleviation” aims at responding to the challenges of food availability, access, and nutrition in different areas including Southern Shuneh. Aside from UNDP, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health, Department of Statistics, Coordination Commission for Social Solidarity, National Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension, Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO), and Jordan Alliance Against Hunger (JAAH), UNICEF, UNIDO, and WFP are all in the support of implementing the designated activities in local communities.


“I was reluctant to take the goats” Dina said. “As I don’t want to lose the monthly salary I get from the Ministry of Social Development and other charities we receive”.


Mr. Odwan, the government official and the focal point of the programme in Southern Shuneh, explained to Dina the benefits of accepting this initiative as he is well aware of the good outcomes.

“Mr. Khalil has encouraged me to accept the goats and have explained to me that I will not lose the monthly salary on the contrary I will gain extra income to my family. So I accept the idea willingly and was excited to raise the goats.” Dina explained.

Dina’s family was chosen between hundreds of other poor families to benefit from this programme.

“We have followed a set of criteria in selecting the families, based on the number of family members, whether they are widows or divorced, whether the family has a provider or not, and if the families have a member with disabilities, but most importantly is the willingness of the families to accept the goats.” explained Mr. Odwan.


Dina, along with the other chosen families, has been well trained and educated by a local veterinarian. “I did not have an idea of how to milk a goat” Dina said, “but after I took the training, not only I know how to milk the goats but also know how to take care of them.”

Prior to giving the goats to the families and under the supervision of local officials in Southern Shuneh, the veterinarian had examined the goats and made sure they were healthy and pregnant. The veterinarian and the local officials pay regular visits to the families and monitor the process intensely.


Willingly, Dina has attended the training sessions and was happy to receive the three pregnant goats. Aside from the goats, the programme provided has managed to build barns in each family’s plot. A well-built barn was all set up in Dina’s plot to receive the goats. Creatively, Dina has made an extension for the barn and built with a rusted door, some wooden pieces and other scrap material, a fence to give the goats more space to wander around.

With a smile on her face, Dina told us that the three goats have given birth to four offsprings and now the original goats are pregnant again.


Dina and her family are now self-sufficient with dairy products and in the near future Dina is thinking of turning this initiative into a business and be an active member in the labor market to maximize her benefit from the goats.

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