Rabbits Provide Protein During Difficult Times
After 14 years of siege by land, air and sea, the economy of the Gaza Strip is crippled, resulting in high levels of poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency. COVID-19 adds yet another layer of complexity to the already precarious lives of its inhabitants.
Mennonite Central Committee’s rabbit breeding program has long been a blessing to participating families. Women have come to the rescue of their families as their husbands have become unemployed. They’ve raised rabbits for food and income, learning small business principles and basic veterinary skills and sustaining their families.
Local partner Al Najd is following the recommendations of the Local Committee Rabbit Breeders Union to deal with the pandemic. The program continues to identify families in extreme need to receive animals, cages, feed and training. To ensure safety from coronavirus in the tight conditions of Gaza, workers and beneficiaries wear masks and gloves during deliveries, and only one family member attends training sessions and receives the delivery.
Al Najd has stopped field visits, relying on phone calls or video sessions for follow-up calls with the families. Thus far, all veterinary crises have been successfully dealt with remotely.
Due to the severe restrictions imposed by the coronavirus and the closing of the markets, sales of rabbits have virtually ceased, once again limiting incomes. The good news is that rabbit-raising families have a steady source of protein and are generally able to eat meat at least twice a week. This means a great deal to families like Ahed’s, whose household consists of eight members, including his terminally ill father, and Tamara’s, whose family of seven lives in extreme poverty exacerbated by her husband’s work injury.
Palestine Gaza Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and local partner Al Najd