This project has addressed the goal/objective of empowering families with the tools and skills needed to develop economically-viable and ecologically-sound agricultural enterprises:Since project implementation, Heifer China has assisted 434 families in the target villages of Weichang County. From this, 211 original families have received beef cattle and another 34 families received cattle through POG. The remaining families have been assisted through technical training and SHG formation. Project families better understand the connection between hygiene and human health, and are passing on this knowledge within their communities. Education and public services have improved as villagers attend Heifer trainings. During this reporting period, eight trainings on cultivation and planting technology were provided for 687 participants. The topics included fodder nutrition, organic fertilizer and herb planting. Villagers have also applied training on common cattle diseases to improve animal welfare.
Gift of Goats Help Woman Become Self-Reliant
Project Participant Lontiya was forced to rely on her husband’s support throughout their 24 years of marriage. She is unable to have children, and being childless in their community made her an outcast and topic of gossip. Cultural tradition allowed Lontiya’s husband, Sikasunda, to marry a second wife and now at 61 years old, he has three children. Lontiya became angry and bitter toward her husband and said she detested crossing paths with her rival. “I felt so isolated and lonely even when I was in a group of friends,” Lontiya said. “I thought my husband would accept my [bareness] but he spends most of his time with his younger wife.”Through Heifer International’s training on the 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, Lontiya learned to accept her reality and respond with actions of peace and reconciliation. In 2011, she also received seven goats that provide nutritious milk and manure for organic fertilizer. “The goats provide company, especially when I am alone,” Lontiya said. “They entertain me and are sometimes naughty because they are curious animals. They want to chew on everything around them.”After Passing on the Gift® (POG), Lontiya was able to sell two goats and buy agricultural inputs. When her home’s roof collapsed last year she bought iron sheets to replace the thatch roofing. Now, she finds satisfaction knowing she is a dependable wife and can share the benefits she earns with her husband. “This has brought profound joy in my life,” Lontiya said.Last year, she hosted a visiting U.S. team that came to learn more the project’s sucess. “My home is often visited by people from other countries—something I never imagined. I am always delighted to host and I hope they will come again,” Lontiya said. Lontiya said she is grateful for Heifer International’s support and is thankful it continues to enrich the lives of communities worldwide.
During this reporting period, project participants have formed 30 original participant Self-help groups (SHGs), 30 first generation Pass on the Gift (POG) groups and 30 second generation POG groups. Original participants work together to form new POG groups and continue practicing POG despite members’ differences and background. Families in surrounding villages are willing to join Heifer SHGs because they see members’ positive behavioral changes due to Cornerstones training. Wheat farmers produced a larger harvest using the System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) method over their traditional methods. SWI training helped farmers learn modern wheat cultivation technology. One farmer’s 2.5 acres of land yielded about 1,400 to 1,600 pounds of wheat per acre. This project also collaborates with Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) agriculture. Male members of 26 kisan clubs consist of 500 families and wives of farmers in SHG Groups. Their farm land is mostly sandy loam (soil consisting of sand, silt and clay). Specific agricultural packages are being developed to help farmers produce better harvests. Keshore cultivation has proven to be an income generating crop. Arjun Mahato of Belha village earned about 200,000 Indian Rupees (about $3,200) from one acre of the Keshore crop. Vegetable seeds are also given to all SHG members of original placement families. Vegetable cultivation has increased incomes about 2,500 Indian Rupees (about $40) per month, and nutrition levels of project families. Support for the Demonstration of Vegetable and Paddy is also given to the program participants. By System of Rice Intensification method 55 farmers planned to cultivate in 5 acre land.