Veronica Kanini speaking to the Goat Foundation


A Chance Meeting

During a donation exercise by The Goat Foundation in Kitui Central, Kitui County, I was drawn to a lady of about 30 years. She wore jeans, a gray hoodie, and open slacks that were rather too fashionable. 

I watched as she energetically marshaled her local group of widows through the set program. She embodied the enterprising hope envisioned by conveners of The goat Foundation. I made a mental note to request an interview with her and find out what her story was. 

Six months later I sat across the bubbly lady named Mwende whose story was quite an eye-opener. 

“I am a businesswoman, so I have trained myself to read a customer before they open their mouth. This intuition has guided me to succeed in business and once, it saved my life”  

The Goat Foundation

Some recipients turned their lives around and begun giving as cause capitalists


She pauses for effect to see if she has my attention and then begins her narrative. 

“Let me tell you my story. It began ten years ago when…”

Tragedy and Redemption

Mwende got married right after finishing high school. Her husband was from Mwingi, a town that was near her rural home. He worked as a clinical officer at the Level-5 hospital in that town. Musyoka (not his real name) had courted her through her secondary school and after finishing her ‘O’ level examinations, she promptly packed her bags and moved in with him.

For the next 8 years, they lived happily as a married couple though they never got to formalize their union. The one consternating factor in her marriage was her inability to conceive. Her husband’s relatives whispered loudly urging him to get another wife. Her in-laws had performed medical telepathy that somehow diagnosed her, and not Musyoka, her husband as the offending culprit in that childless union.

As animosity grew against her, her husband remained faithful and refused to entertain village ‘advisers’ who made regular trips to their homes to consult on ‘family matters.’

Tragedy struck in July 2018, she lost her husband in a road accident. He had traveled to the capital city for an interview with a large private hospital. The grief and sorrow that soon overwhelmed her were compounded by the fact that her in-laws wanted her out of her matrimonial home as soon as the burial ceremony was over. The house she was being thrown out of had been fully purchased by her husband before he died. 

Clinging to Hope

Determined not to lose everything in her life, Mwende vowed to stay put and never leave the house and property she shared with her husband. What followed was a series of orchestrated threats, beatings by unknown intruders and social media bullying and verbal assaults. It appeared like all of a sudden all members of her husband’s family had something rude to say to her. 

With no one to turn to, since she had run away from home to get married, Mwende decided to visit an old friend from school. On her way out she picked up a bottle of water that she had left standing on her table. On her way out she took a sip of the water, disliked it for tasting funny and threw the bottle away. That was the last thing she remembered. 

Waking up three weeks later in a hospital a doctor told her how lucky she had been. A good Samaritan had seen her collapse as she walked and got assistance to take her to the hospital. Mwende was quite sure who and why she had got poisoned. Her in-laws wanted the house and property left by her husband. 

After being discharged, she traveled back to her hometown in Kituyi carrying nothing but the clothes she wore on her back. 

The journey to Fulfillment

“How did you manage to survive, get an income and become the woman you are today?” I ask her.

“At first it wasn’t easy, I suffered from the side effects of those drugs. Later on, I did menial jobs for a small fee.”

Through her hard work and determination, Mwende scraped enough money to purchase a plot where she currently resided. 

“The Goat Foundation gave me hope for a prosperous future that I frankly believe in,” says Mwende with a smile. 

My two goats have been through two gestations. I have five goats. I gave one out to a needy friend. I hope that by the end of the year, I will add two more goats to my herd. If all goes according to plan, I will use these goats as collateral to get a loan and open a salon in town. 

Then she told me one of the most astonishing things I have heard in a long time. 

“My salon will offer free hair services to needy children. I will give one free service for every customer that I serve” she says confidently.

“How can you afford that?” I ask her, still stunned. 

“Don’t worry about that. The universe has plenty of abundances. You give to receive, and I believe blessings will keep coming my way as long as I keep giving.” 

She smiles brilliantly and rises to signal the end of our interview.

What a lady!


From Humble Beginnings Great Milestones


The socio-economic changes sweeping across villages and rural communities once visited by The Goat Foundation have been unprecedented, and according to Dominic, a community leader from Kisii town in Western Kenya, akin to a social revolution.

The donation of a pair of goats to widows and orphans in far-flung areas across the country opened societies to the potential of women, and widows in particular. Communities bore witness to the improved livelihoods and general well-being of widows, who once empowered by the initial investment of two goats, chose to apply the bargaining power that came with it towards wealth generation.   

Paradigm Shift in Perceptions

Perhaps the most cited achievement was the elimination of the inequitable gender power relations. Economically empowered widows acquired a voice and were included in decision-making in discussions that affected the community.

Loan disbursement, land rights, and inheritance rights got advocated for by community activists. By elevating widows from a whispered and shunned demographic to a celebrated group of achievers, The Goat Foundation allowed women and widows to access land ownership and resources. Widows were now able to contest for the property of their departed husbands. 

Changing lives and communities all over the country

Changing lives and communities all over the country

These attainments not only had the universal effect of eliminating extreme poverty, violence, and health risks, but they also advanced the cause of women towards education, training and awareness about their human rights. 

With the increased legal literacy, these widows are now able to confront long-standing exclusionary ideals born out of patriarchal customary and religious norms. 

During a peace and reconciliation process in Kisii County, Western Kenya, neighboring communities sat to negotiate compensation and deterrence against future atrocities. Among the items on the agenda was the payment of restitution to widows whose husbands had been killed during a raid conducted by a neighboring community.

The fact that the welfare of widows was discussed in a traditional ceremony long reserved for male community elders was a game-changing event that resonated throughout the Abagusii community.

Future Plans

The Goat Foundation has not sat on its laurels with a congratulatory grin of satisfaction. In future, they envisage a partnership with donors, Cause champions, Corporates and Businesses in endeavors across the African continent and the world. 

In the meantime, as the winds of change blow across the sunbaked landscapes of rural Kenya, it is hoped that intransigent voices of traditional patriarchy will shift their allegiance from the outdated customary norm of female domination to the caring and just idea of equality for all.

Steve Down, the founder of The Goat Foundation, his Business and Corporate partners, and friends who donate and contribute towards Cause Capitalism look forward to yet another year of fruitful engagement with widows, community leaders and all those who believe in the art of giving. 


For Sidi John in Kilifi County, Kenya, a future of hope for her children’s education was rekindled.

Hope is restored when we enable the vulnerable to stand and be the change they want to see. For Sidi John in Kilifi County, Kenya, a future of hope for her children’s education was rekindled in our 5th Goat Foundation giveback.

For Kanze Charo, all it takes is an opportunity to have a means of sustainable income to change her life and that of the ones she cares about.

Many vulnerable households struggle to meet basic needs. For widows with dependents, this poses a challenge. But when companies partner with nonprofits for a cause, this challenge can be met and lives can be transformed. Our women have the potential to strengthen our communities. For Kanze Charo, all it takes is an opportunity to have a means of sustainable income to change her life and that of the ones she cares about. The social and economic inclusion of marginalized groups such as widows can be achieved. This restores hope in their lives and the community and builds the foundation for community and national development. The Goat Foundation is committed to initiatives that make a socio-economic impact and give hope by providing a means of sustainable income.

Hope at last as Joyce rebuilds courtesy of Cause Capitalism

Our 6th Goat event in Kitui brought Joyce Kimanzi as one of our beneficiaries. As we interacted with the beneficiaries, I noticed one woman who sat in solitude. She was struggling to balance tears as she smiled while holding her pair of goats. Joyce’s story is a representation of the unspoken realities widows across Africa face.

“When my husband died in 2019, a dark cloud hovered around me for days. I felt like my whole world had crumbled. He died in our matrimonial bed and that was the last time I set my eyes on him. I never had the opportunity to bury him because his family came the morning after his death and sent me and my children packing.”

Still visibly heartbroken by the chain of events 4 years ago, Joyce takes us through her journey of re-building and finding meaning in life again.

“ My in-laws took everything away. We had acquired 2 pieces of land in Mombasa and Kitui. Everything was taken including the house we lived in. My children were asked to leave with me too, without a clue of where we should go. I was a housewife for the 10 years that we were married, my husband paid for our children’s school fees and ensured we never lacked. Still, we lived as farmers and made the most of what we had.

When you say you are a housewife, people never really understand the value you contribute to any household. Automatically, everyone thinks your work is waking up, cooking for your family then going back to sleep. I contributed to my husband’s growth by helping him on the farm. We would wake up early and dig huge tracts of land to have enough for harvest. But no one recognizes this, my inlaws accused me of killing my husband to retain his wealth. And you wonder, how is it possible that you are accused of ending the life of someone you loved deeply?

After leaving, I moved back to my parent’s house. Imagine the shame of going back to your parent’s house at 44 years? I became a laughing stock. I cried myself to sleep for almost 6 months. I grieved for my husband and former life every day. Life was meaningless. I remember entertaining suicidal thoughts and wishing that I died. But every time I looked at my lastborn child, I was reassured that things would get easier eventually.

My father gave me the capital to start a small business. I started selling tomatoes and onions by the roadside. Slowly by slowly I started finding the meaning in life again. Then a joined a widows group and realized that my story is better than other widowed women who still haven’t come to terms with everything.

When The Goat Foundation identified me as a beneficiary, I was elated. I am building from scratch but I have the means to this time. It has been a journey and this gift is an indication that better is coming. I have been taught about cause capitalism, the first kid I get from my goats will go to a widow like me who is trying to rebuild.

Thank you Steve Down and The Goat Foundation. ”


“We appreciate the time, care and attention given to us all.
We take nothing for granted, ever.”