A woman greeting a man while holding a pair of goats by their leash

A beneficiary of The Goat Foundation giveback in Majajani village, Kilifi County Kenya, greets Founder Steve Down

The Goat Foundation was started with a vision of reaching out to the most vulnerable families across rural Kenya. The founder, Steve Down, met a family at one of the funerals he attended during his first visit to Kenya. The woman who continues to propagate this vision was widowed and left with 4 children.  She only had a vegetable garden that she thought would sustain her young family. 

Steve Down learnt that goat farming was one of the climate-smart methods of agriculture that people living in ASALS were fast embracing. He took it upon himself to help this family by donating 2 goats (a he-goat and a she-goat.) 

This inspired his vision of ensuring no family lacks basic resources or goes to bed hopeless. 

So far, The Goat Foundation has donated 850 goats across Kenya and empowered 500 households through the cause initiative. Recipient families are asked to donate the firstborn goat from each pair to the next village family in need. This could provide perpetual giving of goats and nutrition. 

Our vision is in alignment with Sustainable Development Goals 1,2,&5. (No poverty, No hunger and Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). We envision a hunger-free Africa where its most marginalized populations have a chance at wealth creation. 

The issue- What we are solving? 

  1. Poverty- to ensure widows earn a sustainable income through climate-smart agriculture
  2. Hunger- to ensure no widows and their beneficiaries go to bed hungry. 
  3. Injustice- to create awareness of the tribulations faced by widows and ensure their rights are withheld.  

Our Cause Capitalism Philosophy.

A man with many microphones held in front of him

Founder of The Goat Foundation, Steve Down Addressing the press during the goat giveback

Cause Capitalism according to Steve Down is when a for-profit company partners with a nonprofit, not as a gimmick but as a true sustainable partner. 

We believe that for-profit companies should ensure sustainability around the communities they operate in, to promote economic inclusion. 

Companies have to ensure people benefit positively from their creations. That is why we advocate for For-profit and non-profit partnerships. 

Non-profits address global issues by reaching out directly to vulnerable groups. They educate, enable and empower them. This can only be possible if they have financial access to ensure this happens. 

Therefore, we call on more stakeholders to join our cause capitalism initiative and make the world a better place. 


The 200 Goat Donation. 

Financially Fit through The Goat Foundation will donate 200 goats to 100 low-income households in Mariakani, Kilifi County. We work through partnerships with like-minded institutions and strongly believe in the power of the media to amplify the impact of climate change on low-income households fully dependent on agriculture and call for mitigation across all sectors. For this reason, we invite you to witness the impactful donation from The Goat Foundation. 

We look forward to hosting you on the 8th of November 2022. 



A widow beneficiary of The Goat Foundation receiving a pair of goats

A widow beneficiary of The Goat Foundation receives a pair of goats.

In traditional African society, sons get to inherit property from their caregivers. Daughters on the other hand suffer the sin of omission as it is believed they will be catered for by their husbands when they are ready for marriage. This reflects the general belief around land ownership across Africa. Land rights tend to be held by men. For women of all ages to access land, they have to have a male relative; either a husband or father.

For many widows, the narrative changes as soon as they lose their husbands. A study conducted by UN Women found that in Zambia, more than one-third of widows lost access to family land when their husbands died. This is a representation of what happens across the continent. Given the cultural beliefs that surround property inheritance, widows are left destitute with no one to turn to.

Often, the families of the deceased are the perpetrators. They may want another male in the family to take over land and property. In other regions, widows are forced into ‘inheritance’ to protect the family assets. This means that the brother or any able male related to the deceased marries the widow and takes over property rights.

What factors contribute to this?

1. Low literacy levels:

Tertiary education uptake across Africa has been slow over recent years. For women especially, incentives like lowering university entry marks have been able to see many take up education. But across rural regions, girls drop out early due to poverty.

This makes them vulnerable to early marriages. Having no self-sufficiency skills, their roles are limited to child-bearing and tending to domestic work that is unpaid. Over the period, their most productive years are lost, and at the entry of the job market – only minimal jobs are available.

2. Knowledge of land inheritance and property rights is unknown.

Although most African countries are trying to embrace progressive laws on property rights, the implementation is slow.

Most women across rural regions would quickly go to local administrations to solve land disputes. Settlement is expensive and takes a lot of time. According to one of our beneficiaries, they do not believe in justice systems as men intimidate them into bribing their way to victory over land disputes.

Given that most widows living in extreme poverty now have wills, they have no rights to claim over the land.

3. Patriarchy and Cultural beliefs.

The role of women across rural Africa was previously limited to caregiving and nurturing. Although times have changed, patriarchy remains a cultural force that bars women from rightful land inheritance.

How should widows be protected against harmful rights?

Widow’s voices have to be united by a movement that impacts their lives. From a local standpoint to a magnified international level, it is upon us to ensure that we humanize widow’s rights by;

1.) Coming up with favorable policies that support widows access to land rights.

In Kenya for example, forcibly evicting a widow from her matrimonial home and land is considered illegal. More countries need to ensure widow rights are upheld and justice is easy to come by.

2) Create more awareness on laws that protect widows.

The Kenyan constitution calls for parties in a marriage to have equal rights during and even after a marriage ends.

  • The Marriage Act: This act calls for registering all marriages. It immediately grants women a legal basis for land ownership claims.
  • The Matrimonial Property Act: This protects women’s rights to property acquired during marriage.
  • The Land Act: This provides spouses protection from having their home or land leased or sold without their knowledge.
  • The Law of succession: This law gives both male and female children the same inheritance rights.

3) Educate against discriminatory social and traditional practices and beliefs.

More young girls should be empowered to attain education and gain self-sufficiency skills. This liberates them from depending on male relatives on land rights.

Further, men should be educated against the notion that sons are to be bestowed land rights and daughters  should negotiate use of land through male relatives.