From July 21 to 25, 2013, the Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) traveled to Dang district to conduct the first phase of its Goat Livelihoods Program entitled: “Poverty Alleviation through Income Generation from Goat Farming.” Partnering with local livestock experts Krishna Paudel and Govinda Nepali, NCBL conducted community empowerment trainings with 50 families in five conflict-affected villages: Chailahi, Dharna, Satbaria, Rajpur and Ghorahi.
Goats are an important source of sustainable income generation and a cornerstone of rural life in Nepal. They can be bred and sold for meat in the market, help save foreign currency and offer a high nutritional value to local communities. Goat dung is also used for fertilizer to grow vegetables and skins can be sold to make bags and shoes. Culturally, goats play a significant role in Hindu religion as sacrifices at marriages and the annual Deshain festival. In post-conflict situations, goat farming is a powerful means of victim assistance, development and peace-building that allows survivors to return to their normal lives.
Yet many people in remote and conflict-affected communities are unable to access the economic and social benefits of this animal. The 10-year conflict in Nepal claimed not only individual victims, but also impacted entire communities who lost farmable land and agricultural labourers. Poverty remains one of the most visible and destructive scars of war. It is for this reason that NCBL prioritizes sustainable livelihood projects as a core tenant of its victim assistance and peace-building programs.
This week’s trainings provided 10 women in each community with information and skills needed to establish a goat farming cooperative. Participants learned about the best breeds of goat, how to build and maintain goat shelters, lease and grow grass fields for grazing, feed goats a healthy combination of grass and grains, prevent and treat goat disease and organize cooperatives. In September, NCBL will return to distribute 200 goats for 50 families. In phase two of the project, participants will be expected to breed enough goats for 50 new participants to establish a goat farming cooperative in their community.
Initial feedback on the trainings has been extremely positive. One group told NCBL that they are so eager to get started on planning the shelters that they couldn’t sleep the night we left. NCBL would like to thank the Poverty Alleviation Fund as well as its local staff in Dang – Prakash Sapkota, Metmani Chaudhari, Sanjana Chhetri and Meena Gurung – for making this project possible. For updates and news on this project visit www.nepal.icbl.org, ‘like’ the NCBL Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.