The Challenge Over half of the Nicaraguan population lives on less than $2 per day, and in extreme cases in rural areas that amount drops to less than $1 per day. With so little income, impoverished families must resort to diets that consist of only the most basic components, preventing them for getting sufficient amounts of nutrients essential to their health and wellbeing.
The Opportunity The Pay it Forward program facilitates ownership of chickens, pigs, and cows for rural Nicaraguan families. Families can add critical nutrients to their diet by eating the eggs, milk, or meat produced by their animal. In addition, supplemental income derived from animal reproduction and sales enables families to send their kids to school, improve their homes, and invest in their futures.
The Pay it Forward program uses animals as capital to create a cycle of livestock ownership that enhances the nutrition and increases the earning potential of families across Nicaragua. Each family selected to participate in the program is loaned either one pregnant cow, one pregnant pig, or ten chickens and a rooster; our veterinarian determines which will be the best match for each family based on the conditions in their community. The family then enters into a contract with Amigos for Christ to care for the animals and return them at the end of a designated time period.
During the loaning period, the family is able to eat, keep, or sell anything their animal produces, whether milk, eggs, or offspring. In addition, throughout this period our veterinarian visits the family to provide training and check-ups and to ensure that the animal is reaching its reproductive potential. At the end of one year, each family is responsible for giving back what was loaned to them – either a cow, a pig, or ten chickens and a rooster – and are free to keep any offspring. From there, the animals are returned to the Amigos Farm where our veterinarian inspects each one before it is loaned back out to another family in need.