One of my first marketing positions was with Chick-fil-A. As a part of our training, we learned all about the history of the “Cows.” You know the ones: the cows that post billboards saying “Eat Mor Chikin!” Those cows have been around for over 10 years now, and while they are a marketing campaign, they also have come to represent so much more to me.
For the American restaurant chain, the purpose of the cows is to promote the selling of chicken, so they (how do I say this delicately?) won’t be made into burgers. I love this marketing campaign because it’s funny, and it’s creative, but it also reminds us that all animals have a purpose. It just depends on who you are talking to, and in what context.
For our brothers and sisters in Burundi, cows are a precious commodity. One cow can make the difference between a family who is struggling to survive and one who is thriving.
A boy leads a cow in his village in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Our goal in all communities where Food for the Hungry (FH) works to have an exit plan. We want to come into a community, work with the people to identify systematic problems and then help them plan and implement sustainable solutions. Over the next decade, we work alongside churches, leaders and families to help them learn the practices of nutrition and hygiene, farming and savings, and then we watch them thrive on their own. It is a beautiful picture of how God is with us in our struggles and walks with us to the end.
And so we start small. We work on the basic things, and then we graduate towards the bigger solutions. Manirakiza is one man in Burundi who lives with his wife Nahimana and their seven children. With the help of FH, Manirakiza and his wife began to practice and promote good hygiene and nutrition behaviors, adopted good practices in agriculture and prioritized the education of their children. After these solutions were put into place, Manirakiza and his family were given a cow.
And that made all the difference. In six months, the cow gave birth to a male cow and then again to a female cow a while later. Each day, the cow provides about two gallons of milk. The family uses what they need, then sells the rest sell in the market. Through this sale, other families can benefit from milk, and Manirakiza and his family benefit from the financial gain. He can pay for school for his children and other family needs. In addition, the cow’s waste helps provide good quality soil for crops to grow.
A cow as a part of village life in Africa.
These crops provide food for a family that used to have none! Can you imagine that one cow can take someone out of poverty and into a situation where they can provide for their family, their community and teach others to do the same? Manirakiza’s wife says, “Though I have a large family, I do not experience food shortage in my home. Our farm can produce enough to feed my family the whole year. Every year, the soil is becoming more fertile and productive. My children have good health; they eat good and diversified meals. In case of illness, we easily get money to take them to the health center for treatment. We are grateful to God and to FH Burundi for this wonderful gift.”
Eat more chicken? For our brothers and sisters in the hard places, the answer is: “Absolutely!” Because one cow can make all the difference. This year, you can help bring change to families like Manirakiza’s through the purchase of cows, cow pies and, yes, chickens, in our gift catalog! Help bring hope to our brothers and sisters in global communities and visit our gift catalog today!