SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY
Hope is a necessity, especially with the current high inflation and political turmoil the world is facing. A few years back when The Goat foundation began its activities in Kenya, Steve Down set forward a vision of giving hope and inspiring families by making a donation of two goats per family in impoverished communities. The foundation prioritized orphans and widows as they were most vulnerable to the economic pressures of seeking sustenance while battling social constraints to personal welfare. Over the period, testimonies of transformed fortunes in lives touched by the activities of the Goat Foundation continue to inspire Steve Down as he steadfastly upholds the philosophy of Cause Capitalism.
It is also remarkable that, as the world observes the United Nations’ ratified International Widows’ Day, on June 23rd under the theme “Sustainable Solutions for Widows Financial Independence,” the Goat Foundation had already been pursuing the same vision for over three years. This day is a moment of reflection on the gains so far consolidated and the challenges that lay ahead for widows everywhere, not only for Steve Down and his team; but for the rest of the world.
On this date, we are therefore grateful to be in a society that was informed and chastened through public awareness campaigns that addressed the social stigma which had fueled the discriminatory practices of yesteryears.
Today, it is noteworthy that widows have access to a fair share of their inheritance, land and productive resources, pensions, and social protection that are not based on marital status alone. Education has made decent work and equal pay possible because children raised by widows can attend schools and receive training opportunities.
Governments have played their legislative and policy enforcement role too. Programs and policies for ending violence against widows and their children, poverty alleviation, education, and other support to widows of all ages have been undertaken, including in the context of action plans to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Whereas widows are women too, it is instructive that we remember to advocate that specific measures are adopted to protect widows, even as women empowerment continues to go mainstream in African societies.
To these ends, the Goat Foundation framework aims to tackle economic empowerment, education, proper health care, and eradicating violence against widows. The Foundation through Steve Down identified these as deterrents to achieving sustainability. By giving goats to low-income households in rural areas, the beneficiaries are able to integrate and diversify their farming methods.
For every family that receives two goats, they become endowed with prospects for economic growth. This is crucial because, the absence of economic growth is a causative factor for poor health, malnutrition, and loss of education opportunities. A poor widow lacks the social capital to defend herself against an aggressor.
Through the Goat Foundation, the philosophy of Cause Capitalism has indeed worked to fulfill its intention. Steve Down formulated and patented this idea as a guiding principle to be applied by for-profit organizations toward social welfare. By pledging a percentage of their gross income towards a non-profit, case in point the Goat Foundation, Capitalism acquired an altruistic motive that went beyond the accumulation of profit.
Widows all over the world continue to encounter new challenges and as we mark this International Widows’ Day let us spare a thought for those among us, who have lost loved ones, but still bravely continue to inspire us with their courage, industry, and smile.
Happy International Widows Day 2022.