A Jump in Kids’ Health from Rabbits in Congo
For children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rabbits are more than furry pets; they are a symbol of improved health and social outcomes for local youth.
Rabbits for Resilience, an animal husbandry microfinance program for youth who have suffered severe trauma growing up in a conflict zone, will be launched by associate professor Nancy Glass, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, and colleagues with funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The five-year, $2.69-million grant will support the initiative aimed at giving adolescents ages 10 to 14 an opportunity to learn new skills and engage in the community.
“This is a really important age group,” says Glass. “We rarely talk about these young adolescents or view them as valuable members of the community rather than future criminals and rebels.”
Through raising and selling the rabbits, the youth can help parents and family members in their households—economically and socially. The money they earn could be used to buy school supplies or join a sports team, says Glass, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.
Twenty-four villages will participate, in three groups: those with the adult microfinance program only, ones with both adult and youth programs, and those with only the youth program. Researchers want to determine how each program improves well-being both of children and adults.
“We are really trying to work on economic security, which will improve nutrition and education for kids, and long-term health for women and men who have experienced so much trauma in their lives,” says Glass.
The initiative grew out of a previous program Glass and her colleagues started called Pigs for Peace, an animal husbandry microfinance initiative to help families in conflict areas rebuild economically
and improve their health.
To learn more about Rabbits for Resilience, visit the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.