World Vision Bolivia
article • Monday, February 17th 2014

Guinea pigs provide income opportunities for women

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“When a new guinea pig is born, my daughter writes down the day, size and type of the animal. This helps me a lot with the daily job”, says Sabina. Photo by Andrea Cabrera

For 36-year-old Sabina Morales, it is her daughter Carlita who inspires her to live and work so she can accomplish her dreams. She is also one of the reasons Sabina decided to be part of the guinea pig breeding project of World Vision which is helping families to increase their income.

When World Vision began working in Colomi, Sabina didn’t imagine that this event would change the life of her family. “When World Vision arrived, I didn’t believe in the institution until once I heard on the radio that they were inviting people to be part of a guinea pig project.” 

World Vision trained 38 families in guinea pig breeding, including Sabina.

It was in that message that she found the opportunity to improve her life and learn with a group of 38 families about the business of guinea pig breeding, a traditional activity in the area.

“Before, we had these animals with my husband, but we didn’t know how to breed them and sometimes they died,” recalls Sabina. “At the ADP we learned how to separate guinea pigs depending on their age, gender and how to deworm them with baths and heal their wounds so they don´t die anymore,” she explains. 

The start was not easy. Sabina faced many obstacles that made her want to quit. She even went to the ADP, disillusioned, to return the animals; however, they encouraged her to continue and talked her about God’s generosity to bless families from the communities through this initiative. 


Encouragement from staff and her family were enough to convince her to continue. Thanks to the dedication and support of her husband and daughter, she was ready to start her own business.

Family business

Every morning before going to school, 10-year-old Carlita helps to feed the guinea pigs; she checks her notes about the broods born, their age and weight, while her mother watches with amazement. Carlita is the most enthusiastic member of the family business. “Guinea pig's meat is good for children, it gives them more intelligence. Since we started to eat it at home I’ve noticed that Carlita has even improved her school grades,” says Sabina with pride.

The low fat meat full of proteins has  essential fatty acids (usually only found in fish) that increase synapse transmission and helps to improve brain development, especially in children under five years old. 

Sabina tells with enthusiasm everything about this new initiative which gradually has become the main source of income for her family. “With my husband we have invested in this project; we already had some rooms adapted for the corrals, and with the support of the ADP, we expanded the cages. Now we have around 80 guinea pigs,” she explains.

Expanding her popular business

Every month she sells around 20 guinea pigs and with this activity, Sabina considers herself an important contributor in her family. Her dreams are coming true. Now, she is one of the most recognized micro entrepreneurs in the market because of the quality of her products. “When we go to the fairs, in our motorcycle that we bought with the profits, people admire the size of my guinea pigs and they [would] rather buy mine."

She mentions that she has invested in their food. “With the profits... we also invest in a balanced food, besides what we receive at the ADP. We bought more animals and this way my guinea pigs are bigger and heavier,” she explains, while showing one that weights 2 kilos. 

Sabina is a woman of vision, and is setting an example for all young women in her community. 

Sabina doesn’t see limits in this project that started around a year ago. She is now thinking about expanding the corral because her production is not enough for the demand in Colomi and other surrounding communities.  “Now we are thinking to open a restaurant when the new market infrastructure opens and offer every day guinea pigs’ meals, because here no one else has a business like that,” she says. 

Today, Sabina is a woman of vision. She has learned to lead her own business on behalf of her family, especially for her daughter Carlita. She is an empowered woman, with an initiative that helped her to see the world in a different way, a world with opportunities for everyone and for every woman. 

Story by Jose Luis Roca

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