Since project implementation, Heifer Zambia has reached 8,510 families (2,300 more than planned) and 23 institutions in the target communities of the Masaiti, Mpongwe, Luanshya and Kalulushi districts. The project continues intervention activities to improve participant’s skills and knowledge in integrated agriculture, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation practices. Local institutions have also adopted these practices through the support of community leaders.During this reporting period, 379 families have been supported with draft cattle, dairy cattle and meat goats. Ninety vegetable packs were provided and 8,066 participants were trained in human nutrition, agroforestry, conservation farming and water and sanitation activities. Trading, gardening and farming have improved the incomes and livelihoods of numerous families. Farm families were able to hire labor and acquire production assets such as land, livestock, bicycles and ox carts. Project participants also bought iron roofing sheets, beddings, mattresses and solar panels for their homes.
Training Helps Woman Become Role Model in Indian Community
Kaushallya Devi has become an extraordinary example for women in her community. Although she is considered part of the poor, “untouchable” social caste in India, she manages to provide for two daughters and one son. Before joining Heifer India, her only income was generated from agriculture and working as a day laborer. Her husband had helped support their family, but an accident left him mentally disabled. Her difficult situation became worse when her brother-in-laws denied her family help. Devi felt hopeless and was now solely responsible for her three children and her husband’s treatment. Heifer India’s project holder, Ghoghardiha Prakhand Swarajya Vikas Sangh (GPSVS), approached Devi and encouraged her to join the project Promoting Socio-economic Transformation of Marginalized Communities through Agriculture and Livestock Management in Madhubani. Her poor economic condition led her to join the project. She contributed to the Self-help group’s (SHG) monthly saving fund and received training on SHG management. Devi eagerly participated in every training and group activity in order to build a better life for her family. Heifer’s intervention also allowed her to receive training on Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her dedication and talent made her an excellent candidate for a Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW). Over 10 days of training, Devi learned about animal care and treatment at the GPSVS Center. She advanced quickly to Improved Animal Management (IAM) training and received a medicine kit to begin treating livestock. Now, she provides local communities with basic veterinary care and earns enough income to support her family’s needs. Devi generates 125 Indian rupees (about $2) per day and more than 3,500 Indian rupees (about $57) each month. This income may seem meager, but it allows her children to attend school and pays for her husband’s treatment at Dharbhanga Hospital. Devi said although she still has struggles to overcome, she will continue to learn. “I may walk through dark valleys, but I will still work for my economical sustainability and a better future.”
In one subproject, 135 original families and 70 POG families received the gift of buffalo. Since then, project participants have not only begun increasing their household income through the training and inputs provided by the project, but they also initiated projects for the benefit of the entire community. In one of the community’s self-review and planning sessions, it was noted that a main limitation to their increased income from goats and buffalo was a lack of suitable roads for motor vehicles. So in their own initiative and effort, the members of the Gayeatri Pariwar Bachat Samuha group have were able to build a road by lobbying $1,149 from the Kamal Mai Village Development Committee (VDC) and the District Development Office. The community members donated two weeks’ worth of labor for this project. Men from the community also gave their full support for this project. The road was built and joins the Kamalamai VDC with the capital of the district, providing greater access to markets.