During this reporting period, the project families have made significant income from buffaloes keeping, selling milk and milk products; and tailoring. Increased group leadership has come up with increased and effective coordination and collaboration with different stakeholders regarding to the developmental activities. Increased awareness about the sanitation, health and hygiene has supported to undertake sanitation campaigns, keep the surroundings neat and clean. After receiving different slots of the trainings, communities members have maintained social harmony being united and supporting each other. Similarly, project families have cultivated vegetables by using organic manures and have been consuming fresh vegetables daily. It has supported them to be healthy. Besides, they have applied improved animal management technology. Discrimination based on caste, race, gender and religion has remarkably reduced. Communities members appreciate each others feelings, thoughts and ideas and share for betterment of themselves. Seeing the change in project families and the whole communities, 23 other families (outsiders) have recently improved their cattle sheds.
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.