I’ve always had a strong affinity for goats…

When my girls were small, we often spent summer days visiting kids – baby goats that is – and chickens at local farms. But the humble goat’s importance to so many people world-wide didn’t really strike me until my first pilgrimage to India.

There I marveled at the central importance of these bearded champions while walking through remote villages. I noticed that many of the small homes I came by (comprised of little more than a single room with a central fire pit surrounded by mats) had a lone goat peering out from within, or lazing in the sun just outside – seeming to enjoy a life lived in close quarters with its covetous human family.

I recently read more about the ever-growing importance of goats, this time in a context I never expected: to combat the prevalence of child marriage in African nations. According to this article on takepart.com, child marriage is deeply rooted in tradition but continues to be perpetuated by poverty. In Ethiopia and Tanzania, for example, young girls are often married to adult men in exchange for livestock – a resource that the girls’ families are dependent on for survival. So the gift of a goat or some chickens to one of these families can make all the difference in the world, especially to their young daughters who have so much life ahead of them!

Inspired to play a role in bringing hope to families across the globe? In my book Soul-Full Eating I write about Heifer International, one of my absolute favorite charitable organizations who truly get goats! Visit them HERE.