This project (supported by Elanco Animal Health and its employees) has enabled vulnerable rural farm families to enhance their livelihoods and food security through integrated agriculture production, promotion of health and enterprise development in Masaiti, Kalulushi, Mpongwe and Luanshya districts. The project continues to improve participants’ skills and knowledge in integrated agriculture, nutrition, hygieneand sanitation practices. Local institutions have also adopted these practices through the support of community leaders.
To date, 9,203 families (2,993 more than planned) have been supported with draft and dairy cattle, meat goats, vegetable packs, agroforestry seeds and other interventions. During two Passing on the Gift® (POG) ceremonies, 47 new families received a total of 12 draft cattle, 21 dairy cattle and 140 goats. Chickens, eggs, milk and fish provided families with a variety of animal protein, and families also had access to fresh vegetables.
Furthermore, families are engaged in marketing livestock, livestock products and horticultural produce—especially milk, maize and fresh vegetables. Farmers are now selling 110 pound bags of maize directly to the private sector for about $15, which is approximately $2 more than they received from milling companies or the government through the Food ReserveAgency. Monthly incomes also improved from livestock and milk sales, allowing 65 families to buy bicycles to transport milk and iron roofing sheets for their homes.
In addition, a total of 790 men and 1,017 women participated in trainings including: Manure Use, Bee Keeping, Human Nutrition, Entrepreneurship, Conservation Farming, Livestock Management, Enterprise Development, Gender Equity and Leadership, Water and Sanitation Practices, Milking Techniques and Hygiene, Group Dynamics and Management, and Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs).
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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 the period under review the project participants were engaged in the marketing of crops, livestock /livestock products and horticultural produce. Maize marketing was one of the major economic activities and farmers were selling directly to milling companies or to the government through the Food Reserve Agency. The Private Sector was buying a 50kg bag of maize at ZMW 75.00($15) while the government through FRA was buying at ZMW 65.00($13).
Highlights for this period:
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.
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.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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