Livestock and Training
By combining the provision of livestock with training in animal husbandry, natural resource management, leadership skills and gender equity, we have created a development model that strengthens the social, economic and ecological fabric of a community.
Livestock play a central role in our work, both as a strategy for alleviating poverty and achieving food security and proper nutrition.
Livestock provide food and nutrition for people, while also giving them tangible assets with which they can improve their livelihoods. Each country program has a tailored approach to animal health and husbandry, based on local resources and livestock.
Our attention to sustainable livestock development includes improved access to animal health services and disease control, improved management, improved nutrition and improved marketing of livestock and livestock products.
Passing on the Gift
Passing on the Gift is the hallmark of our approach. Initially, the concept mandated that each farming family who received an animal gift passed on the first female offspring to another in need. While that hand-off of livestock remains a fixture in most projects, the idea has blossomed and encompasses far more than our founders expected.
I have raised her like my own daughter. Please take good care of her.MEMBER OF PRAGATISHIL WOMEN’S GROUP, BELSI PASSING ON THE GIFT CEREMONY
Examples of how farming families have reinvented the pass-on idea show immense imagination and generosity. In our Asia projects, original self-help groups are passing on the gift to multiple groups, going far beyond the one-to-one model. In Cameroon, families from the Bui Donga Smallholder Integrated Sheep and Goat Project invested about $13,070 into community projects as part of fulfilling their pass-on obligation. And in the U.S., farmers have developed an incubator program where each new farmer agrees to mentor the next generation of participants.
Whether farmers are passing on animals or time and knowledge, the act transforms recipients into donors and produces a profound sense of accomplishment. Tangible gifts come with intangible benefits of opportunity, dignity and acceptance.
This practice, at minimum, doubles the impact of the original gift, transforming a once impoverished family into full participants who improve and strengthen the bonds within their communities.
Caring for Livestock - Training
Feed, water, shelter, reproductive efficiency and health care are the essential ingredients in successful livestock management. Through the Cornerstones of Improved Animal Management and Sharing and Caring, project participants learn to nurture their animals.
Our projects often train participants to be Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs). A CAHW is a specially trained local community member who helps farmers and community groups raise healthy animals to maximize their benefits. They are generally responsible for both the local community group and the local government veterinary services as appropriate.
CAHWs develop veterinary medicine-related small businesses and employment opportunities within communities. Often, they set up a small shop to market other agriculture products. CAHWs perform a wide range of basic tasks, like providing preventive health care, disease treatment, training and advisory services. They also transfer basic knowledge on animal nutrition, suggest breed improvement according to local conditions and vaccinate animals. Through regular home visits, they are a vital communication link between farmers, veterinarians and government livestock offices.
The primary purpose of the CAHW program is to reduce livestock mortality rates and increase productivity through affordable basic animal health services.