The dairy heifers have been living on the grounds of Loughan House for 18 months on behalf of Bóthar, the charity that uses livestock in development aid. They were raised under the supervision of Alan McGowen.

The partnership between the Irish Prison Service and Bóthar has been running for the past number of years.

The families who are gifted heifers will have to pass on the first born heifer to a neighbouring family. They will also receive training on how to mind their cows by local vets.

Irish dairy cows do very well in Rwanda, giving about 16-20 litres of milk per day. The local cow produces just one litre per day. Contrary to perception, Rwanda is a very green and lush country - the cows will have no shortage of food.

It is almost 21 years since Rwanda was torn apart by an ethnic war which claimed the lives of over one million people. During the genocide, 90% of the country’s cattle were slaughtered, leaving many already devastated families without a source of milk or income. Cow ownership also became a divisive issue.

The Farmers Journal travelled to Rwanda to see the difference these cows are making in the lives of people in this small country in Eastern Africa. You can read the story here.