24 Mar 2017

Goats give hope

From Country Life, 9:21 pm on 24 March 2017
Children and kids in Luangwa-Zambia

Photo: Supplied

When you hear Northland angora goat farmer Geoff Copstick speak about children he's met in Africa you want to open your purse and give him whatever money you have.

Copstick is the chairman of ChildFund NZ - the local branch of the international development agency Childfund International, which supports children and their families in developing countries.

Copstick says he doesn't "get emotional about international aid, I'm there to be strategic and financial", but he admits his rural experience gives him a strong connection with communities they're helping.

Jenifer's goat pen

Photo: Supplied

"In Kenya and Zambia, I bump into people who are growing fruit and vegetables, just like Kate [his wife] and I do, they want to run goats, just like Kate and I do. They'd love to have a cow, just like Kate and I do, so the parallels are mind blowing. These are people just looking for the opportunity to make their own lives better." 

He rushes on to say so little money can make such a huge difference and that he doesn't know why everyone doesn't contribute something.

He gives an example of the impact of not having access to clean water.

"They send the youngest kids to the river, there are crocodiles, polluted water. They lug it home, missing school. They get sick from the water ... [affecting] educational outcomes. They have a lack of access to a livelihood and income because of disease."

The solution is simple: a $5,000 (30,000-litre) water tank "that you see on every Northland farm".

Add the cost of a solar pump and "for $20,000, hundreds of people have freedom from the perils of that lack of clean water. And to me, it's why not, why doesn't everyone just do it? But you've got to motivate people to give. The simplicity of the solution is there."

Financial support for Childfund NZ comes from individual sponsors, corporations and the New Zealand government.

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