Goat activities for the second half of March 2020, were significantly slowed down by the coronavirus. We begin our quarterly vaccination campaign on February 15th 2020 for the goats. We did cover three out of the five villages that we serve: Desvarieux, Noyau and Feja, until we were forced us to stop visiting with our goat members. The Haiti government has prohibited all large gatherings including churches, schools and have asked that people stay home unless there is a real emergency.
We have since been able to resume field activities, however, when we visit with the goat farmers, we split them in small groups of 10 or less in their respective communities and then work with them on separate schedules during the day of their monthly meeting.
Covid-19 does not have any direct impact on the health of the goats of the program, but is does affect members of the program in many other ways. Currently, price for goats dropped a great deal at the public market due to the fact that goat merchants have not been coming to the markets as they used to. As a result, farmers who bring a goat to the market either have to return home with it or sell it for a low price. That could be as low as 30% less compare to what it would be sold for before the outbreak of the virus. Goat famers become less capable of buying basic products for their families. There is no cash flow, not a lot of movements in the public markets.
Other activities for the month include educating goat farmers of our program on the basics measures to take in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 into their community. For instance, we talked about washing hands followed by practical examples, social distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing cannot be applied. At the end of the session, we give each participant a homemade mask.