In 2003, Royda, 47, and her husband moved from the mining town of Luanshya to begin farming on about four acres of land in Kamisega village. During the first few years, they had difficules producing enough food to support themselves and their six children. Within a short time, Royda’s husband became ill and passed away.
“I did not know how I was going to survive with the children,” Royda said. “Hope was all I had and I held onto it.”
A neighbor told Royda about a local Heifer International women’s self-help group, and encouraged her to join. “I was hesitant because I was not sure how I was going to be received, but I decided to join anyway,” she said. “I was surprised by everyone’s warm, friendly welcome that made me feel at home.”
After Royda attended self-help group meetings and training sessions, she received a dairy heifer in November 2011. Since then, the diary cow has enabled her to diversify and increase her income. She was able to pay cash for about 25 acres of land that sold for approximately $176 per acre. Royda has also hired brick makers to help build a three bedroom home on the new land.
“I am not worried about paying them because I know I have the resources,” she said. “This would not have been possible if it were not for my cow.”
During this reporting period, 117 original families received 117 cows, 211 original families received 633 goats and 500 original families received 9,400 kg (about 20,723 pounds) of potato seeds. Two milk cooperatives (linked with Mithila Milk Union Ltd/Sudha Dairy) were established and also involved the 117 families who received cows. Currently, between 140to 150 liters/milk/day (about 37 to 40 gallons) is being collected by the cooperative.
Women participants have been empowered to make decisions at the household and village levels after joining Heifer selfhelp groups and receiving training such as gender equity. They have advanced the economic development of their families and also the nutritional value of their children’s diets. As a result, domestic violence and malnutrition have also decreased in the target communities.
During this reporting period in one subproject 139 project families comprising from both original and pass on groups have earned a total sum of NPR 1,323,586 from goat-keeping which shows that on an average each project family has made a an income of NPR 9,522 in six months; while another 34 project families have earned NPR 16,381 each by selling milk and milk products.Project families are continuing kitchen gardening and have increased the consumption of fresh vegetables. 208 project families have adopted kitchen gardening and are cultivating vegetables through improved cultivation techniques, and were also able to sell some amount of vegetable at the nearby markets. On an average, each family earned about NPR 9,422 from veg. sell.As of this reporting period, 7 project families have installed improved cooking stoves; while 4 improved toilets have been constructed which has ultimately supported for the good health and hygiene of the project families.188 project families have planted 22,000 saplings of fodder and forage by utilizing barren and sloppy lands and the territories of their farm lands.