Guest Author: Aastha Garg, field specialist, S M Sehgal Foundation, Mahendergarh, Haryana
Pinki Devi, from Kultajpur village, Narnaul block of Mahendragarh district, Haryana, reported that farmers in the village faced issues such as malnutrition, sickness, and even the death of young goats on a regular basis.
14 November 2023, Haryana: In April 2022, Pinki Devi eagerly volunteered to attend the Pashu Sakhi training when it was provided by S M Sehgal Foundation under the HDFC Bank-supported Parivartan project. At the training, Pinki Devi learned about the sanitation and hygiene needed to raise goats, the importance of vaccination and deworming, the treatments for common ailments in goats, cows, and buffalos, recipes for creating nutritious feed, and the use of natural resources like spices and neem oil to improve livestock health. As a trained Pashu Sakhi, Pinki Devi started imparting this knowledge to others in her village.
When Pinki Devi first started working as a Pashu Sakhi in her village, she said that only five women beneficiaries of the project were willing to listen to her advice or implement the new practices. Only after many months, and being able to cure a goat who was ill, did people begin to trust and listen to her. In the last year, Pinki Devi has dewormed and treated over a hundred livestock in her village. While initially starting with those with goats, she now works with villagers from across her community. She also conducts door-to-door interactions, ward meetings, and community meetings to have more reach and engagement with the village community.
Pinki Devi goes to the closest town herself, to purchase vaccines and other medicines needed to carry out her job as a Pashu Sakhi. She receives an income of INR 3,500–4,000 by providing these services to her community members, and she has become financially independent as a result.
Pinki Devi as a Pashu Sakhi performs three kinds of complementary functions:
• Extends improved practices and knowledge sharing,
• Provides doorstep first aid and counseling services for disease prevention and management, and
• Demonstrates best practices and enterprise management in her own house.
Pinki Devi continues to liaise with the local government livestock doctor, who provides her with guidance and support when she faces any difficulties. With an increase in the health and nutrition of livestock and their reduced mortality, villagers have improved their incomes by selling the goats at a much higher price. For example, a goat that would sell for Rs 5,000 previously, now sells for around Rs 9,000. Seeing how goat rearing was becoming a successful venture in the village, four more families started goat rearing in the past year.
“In the beginning, people couldn’t believe that a woman was able to work with livestock and provide medical support. Today, the same people respect the knowledge that I have, and are willing to listen to me and the information that I share with them,” says Pinki Devi, on overcoming biases in her community.”
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