For: Action Network

Give a goat this Christmas

Have yourself an ethical Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, so what could be better than ethical giving? So, what will it be: a goat for Africa or a bike for an African midwife?

Christmas shopping all done yet? Turkey ordered? Kids’ presents safely on their way to Santa? Grandad’s socks all nicely wrapped? Goat booked and ready to go?

Sorry? Yes, in the last few weeks, it’s almost certain that a charity catalogue or two has hit your doormat. These brightly coloured glossies decorated with festive lamps and stars seem to contain the answers to the world’s every ethical problem. Donate a goat to Africa and you’ll not only keep the villagers in meat and milk for months to come, but you’ll also raise a smile from Aunty Edna, they tell you.


But it doesn’t stop at goats. There are ethical gifts for every occasion. Chickens for India. Beehives for Uganda. Bikes for African midwives. Mosquito nets. You can sponsor a VSO region. Pay for a medical operation. Even donate a bull’s semen to a farmer.

Behind it all are the major charities like Oxfam, VSO and Christian Aid, as well as newer concerns like Good Gifts. According to their website, over the last three years, over 100,000 gifts have done good all over the world, with recipients apparently saying that a Good Gift stays far longer in the memory than a conventional gift.

Good Gifts says that 30,000 people have benefited from a gift of beehives, over 150 villages now have fresh water where there was none before, over 4,000 children in developing countries now have the gift of sight, more than 50,000 goats have passed through their goat bank and around 150,000 orphans have been helped, through orphans’ dowries.

And, for those who believe that charity begins at home, presents from Good Gifts have helped replenish Britain’s trees and wild flowers, apparently transforming whole areas of the country.

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