Give a man a fish...
Buying a calf for a needy-villager in Africa this Christmas would seem the ideal present but one charity says the warm glow one gets from sending some "ethical gifts" is not always matched by the reality.
Send a Cow, one of the original charities involved in donating livestock to needy communities, says that cheap cows provided by some charities as part of ethical giving schemes will not make a "significant impact on poverty".
One of the animals sent by Save a Cow to a Ugandan village
The charity donates foreign breeds of cow to African families, and charges charitable givers £750 per cow. In contrast, Christian Aid is offering £165 cows on its virtual gift list and Oxfam is offering calves for only £32.
Pat Simmons, communications manager for Send a Cow, says the cheaper cows are local breeds that give a fraction of the milk yield (maybe only 1.5 litres a day) of their £750 cows, who can give up to 25 litres of milk a day.
..neither Christian Aid nor Oxfam guarantee that your donation will actually be spent on the goat, cow, flock of chickens or well that you have purchased.
30 per cent of Britons are considering splashing out on livestock and wells for the developing world as part of Christmas shopping this year. In the 25-34 age group, that figure rises to 40 per cent.
Interesting that people are cottoning on to this very practical way to help the poor - also interesting that the big charities are muscling in on this spirit of generosity and seemingly just using the money in the same old way!
There is a UK farmer run charity which has been doing this for twenty years, and I know that UK farmers give up their time and expertise to ensure that the bought animals really do make a difference on the ground, not in providing more funds for Arts Grads to swan about in 4x4s or to splash out on dubious publicity! By giving directly to a peasant real growth and reform is possible. As they say if your neighbour's farm burnt down you would go round and help wouldn't you?
Seeds For Africa and FARM-Africa also seem to be grass root level charities - but the one that may get a quid in the box from me is The Brooke Hospital for Animals who provide very practical and hard headed help - they also looked after my Father's old Hunter when the Wiltshire Yeomanry was taken off their horses in 1941 - he always thought kindly of them for that.