Over the years in the region of Vacas, Bolivia, several families have experienced little crop yield due to the lack of farming animals able to help plow. Many people who don’t have access to oxen opt to rent the farming animals from those who do.

Irene, a local widow raising seven children, often pays her daily wage to rent oxen from others. The problem, Irene says, is that the people they rent from use their oxen while the climate is right for harvest. So by the time Irene and other renters are able to use the oxen, production is limited by weather.

Potatoes are the main source of food for the families living in Vacas. And Irene had little potatoes, or anything else for that matter, to give her children.

Through PHDP, a 58-member group decided to begin a discussion for resolution. The supporters of Outreach International had raised enough money to give Vacas residents access to livestock. But what would be the best option for livestock for these particular people, in this specific climate? The residents had much to discuss before making any decisions.

Irene and the others used their personal experiences with livestock to determine what would best fit their needs. They decided bulls adapt well to the local food available, work quickly and have a good resale value locally.

The group was excited to receive the bulls. They raised them, bred them and trained them to become strong. Once the young cattle were strong enough to plow on their own, Irene sold some for almost double the original price.

When surrounding communities saw this process in Vacas, they imitated it using pigs, cattle, llamas, sheep and more.

Now, 453 people in Vacas are benefiting from the increase in cattle. And even more outside the community are benefiting simply through word of mouth.

“This has taught us to work together,” said Irene.