Revolving livestock scheme to assist migration returnees

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has handed over a revolving livestock scheme that was started in 2007 to Ward 9 community and the Chiredzi District authorities to reduce irregular migration, especially among the youths through the reintegration of returned Zimbabwean migrants from South Africa back into their communities.

According to Yukiko Kumashiro, IOM Programme Support Officer the overall objective of the pilot project implemented by IOM in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe was to reduce irregular migration especially among the youths through the reintegration of returned Zimbabwean migrants from South Africa back into their communities.

"This was done by promoting sustainable livelihoods through the establishment of a community-managed livestock scheme. The project sought to provide a viable livelihood opportunity, offer returnees an income generating activity, contribute to household and community development and reduce the incidence of irregular migration," Kumashiro notes.

Kumashiro adds that with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the project targeted 200 returnees from South Africa who were assisted and registered by the IOM Beitbridge Reception and Support Centre, and 200 vulnerable households from the communities to which the migrants returned. The beneficiaries targeted were households with orphans, unemployed youths, the elderly, the chronically ill and female-headed households. At inception, 201 households were assisted with 886 goats and the goat population has risen to over 2400 goats after two years.

"By the end of the project, a total of 460 households have been assisted and another 200 households have been registered to receive goats from the third cycle of the pass on scheme", she says.

The project is reported to have also equipped the project beneficiaries and host community to engage in commercial goat production to produce goats of good quality meat which can compete on the domestic and international market. The revolving livestock scheme stimulated the development of a commercial small livestock industry in Ward 9 of Chiredzi District, an indicator of the multiplier effect of the project, says Kumashiro.

Also recently IOM has assisted project beneficiaries with marketing and has managed to facilitate the sending of goats to an abattoir in Masvingo. Beneficiaries who sent their goats expressed joy at the returns realized and there has been renewed interest in marketing goats for slaughter.

The beneficiaries should be able to meet the financial costs associated with marketing the goats. To this end the community was assisted by IOM to open a bank account for the project into which funds are deposited. The community agreed through the project constitution that members should make contributions into the Livestock Insurance Fund Account so that there will be resources available to meet the market related costs.

"Throughout the project duration, IOM has been working closely with government agencies and departments, NGOs and other stakeholders. The support from Agritex, the Veterinary department, the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, the District Administrator’s office and the Chiredzi Rural District Council have been instrumental to the success and sustainability of the project," says Kumashiro.

It is noteworthy that the community based Project Management Committee and the Cluster Committees established through the project have shown that they will be able to continue with the activities through the support from the Veterinary department, Agritex and the Local Authority.

The objective of the Revolving Livestock Scheme is in concordance with one of IOM’s key focus areas of reducing irregular migration through facilitating the sustainable reintegration of returned migrants and community development initiatives.  IOM will be using the positive outcome of this project to develop strategies for replication of the project in other high migrant sending areas. IOM hopes to be able to replicate the Revolving Livestock Scheme and use lessons learnt in Plumtree to complement the activities of the Plumtree Reception and Support Centre.

“It is our hope that the Ward 9 community through the structures that were set up in partnership with relevant government agencies will continue to work in the same spirit and realize benefits from the Revolving Livestock Scheme.  If managed well, the scheme will be able to spearhead development in this community and the impact will have a spill-over effect into other sectors of the economy”, said IOM Head of Programmes, Ms. Natalia Perez at the official handover of the Project recently.

By Wallace Mawire


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