La Gonave is an island of rural communities, where farming is the primary activity. Most families have small gardens where they raise their own food. Some with larger plots of land raise enough food to sell at Palma, a weekly market. You will see chickens, donkeys, cows, goats and the occasional pig on La Gonave but goats are the most useful animal. Goats can feed on almost anything, mature fairly quickly and are easy to breed. Goats are an excellent source of protein and can be a good source of income for a family. But, goats cost money.
The goat project is designed to introduce farmers to goat ownership. Twice a year, Jean Thoney, the manager of the project, holds a multi-day training program for up to 24 farmers. These farmers are taught the basics of animal husbandry and return to their village with a pregnant doe. Jean Thoney travels from village to village, checking on the health of goats, bringing immunizations and medicines.
The goat project is housed at Nouvelle Citie where the project’s two bucks reside. Farmers can bring their does back annually to be impregnated. With donations, Jean Thoney is able to buy new does for each training session.
Funds raised purchase feed for the dry season, medicines, new does for training classes and provide Jean Thoney and his assistant with a livable wage.