Last week I was in the privileged position of running a Leadership Workshop with some of the amazing individuals working for the incredible charity, Send a Cow. I had been put in touch with the business through a contact, Paul Stuart, who is now the Chief Operating Officer there and at the time knew little about what they did and became intrigued to learn more.
The charity was established in 1988 and has now transformed over a million lives in seven different countries in Africa by working side by side with poor families, widows and orphans and educating them with the skills they need to build new lives free from poverty and hunger. Send a Cow provides them with training, livestock, seeds and support, which in turn restores hope and creates stronger communities for the future.
These beneficiaries then adopt the charity’s “Pass it On” principle which encourages them to literally pass on young livestock, seeds or training to others in the surrounding communities, thereby giving their work an even bigger reach.
Send a Cow typically works with groups of farmers for five years to effect substantial and sustainable change. They balance practical farming skills such as animal wellbeing, sustainable organic farming practices and natural resource management, with courses in social and life skills in subjects such as gender equality, conflict resolution, health and hygiene and HIV/Aids awareness. They believe this balance of skills leads to the creation of happier, healthier and more harmonious communities.
Just reading about what Send A Cow did was nothing compared to hearing all about it from this hugely dedicated team of individuals who I was fortunate enough to spend time with when I facilitated a two day programme for them in the beautiful city of Bath. Some of the team were part way through a two week visit from their home countries in Africa and were buoyant having been just paid a visit by their president, Prince Charles, to their Head Office based in Newton St Loe on the outskirts of the city. During his visit, he spent time meeting and hearing from the Country Directors and Programme Coordinators about their work in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Obviously no match for Prince Charles, my arrival was met with both curiosity and enthusiasm from the team. This was the first time in a very long time that they had engaged in this type of training and I was very mindful of how busy they were and the critical impact they were having back in Africa. Asking them to turn off their mobile phones and leave their day jobs behind for 48 hours almost seemed a bit of an imposition. Despite my fears, the group were all delightful and engaging. Not once did I feel that messages were falling on deaf ears or people would rather be somewhere else. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience.
My hope now is that the little bit of learning I have shared will be of some use to them as they undertake their wonderful work in Africa, the UK and the USA. I know that my life is a little richer for having worked with Send a Cow and has certainly raised my awareness to the wonderful work these people do.
There are many ways to help this incredible charity. If you’d like to get involved please visit: www.sendacow.org – I know they’d love to hear from you.