The aim of this project was to develop agriculture and the rural economy to reduce poverty in remote areas of Saysathan district. Villagers in this district of Prai ethnicity have very few or no assets and their day to day survival depends almost exclusively on labour intensive agricultural activities
The poorest households, mostly comprising widows, elderly and disabled people have very low labour capacity and therefore have greatest difficulty surviving and coping with extreme poverty.
Activities were designed to improve the capacity of villagers to manage livestock, develop a commercial network of local animal service providers, and establish a sustainable source of income for those that cannot work in the fields (most poor and disadvantaged families).
In partnership with local communities, the following activities have been implemented;
Establishment of a goat bank in Samet Noi village to assist 28 target beneficiary families
- Consultation with village leaders and community members to identify project participants using established criteria: the most marginalized Prai people: elderly community members without children, single parents, orphans and mentally or physically disabled community members.
- Selection of two animal raisers to represent community
- Establishment of village fund management committees made up of community members and leaders to manage financial and administrative activities.
- Training participants on the administrative aspects of their new livelihood activities, including explanation of the profit distribution model: after the sale of offspring which takes place every 6 months, the deduction of running costs is made. Profits are then shared between the administrators (5 per cent), the animal raisers (30 per cent), and the group of beneficiaries (65 per cent).
- Building appropriate livestock pens, land clearance and forage planting, fencing of grazing area. Approx 7.7 ha of land was fenced with barbed wire and 1.85 ha was cleared and sowed with forage. Three animal pens were built
- Training for community members about animal health and vaccination
- Selection of healthy female goats
- Purchase and delivery of 70 adult and five juvenile goats
Improvements to five goat banks in Kor, Houeysalot, Samet Gnai, Phouleurn and Kongthieng villages to assist 109 target beneficiary families
- Increase of 5. 3 ha of grazing land in target villages
- Forage sown over larger surfaces in target villages to increase quantity and quality of animal feed.
- Procurement of fifteen goats for Samet Gnai goat bank to increase herd size and potential income
- In two of the target villages, enclosed areas were established to showcase animals for sale.
- Reporting boards were set up to regularly update the number of deaths, births and total number of animals.
(Photo: Villagers building a goat pen in Samet Noi)
How are the project aims being met?
The goat bank in Samet Noi has generated income thanks to the first sale of off spring in June 2011. Fourteen goats were sold for US 556. After deduction of running costs (salt, veterinary treatment etc.), the income generated was US $24 for the management committee, US $146 for the goat raisers and US $316 for the group of beneficiaries (US $11 for each of the 28 beneficiaries).
In Samet Gnai, ten goats were sold for US 400 in June 2011. The income generated was US $17 for the management committee, US $103 for the animal raiser and US $223 for the group of beneficiaries (US $8.90 per beneficiary family).
Other villages also made similar sales in June/July 2011. Sales will take place twice a year in each village.
An average annual income for a family in this district is USD $82 so this additional income is valued.
- This project has been able to support approx 10 per cent of the total population of six villages.
- CARE is employing local animal purchasers within the target area. The procurement of goats provides an income for these community members.
- Technical support and training provided in the field of livestock management is increasing the knowledge base of villagers in areas such as vaccination, animal treatment, animal feed and forage.
- The project may indirectly benefit a total of 12,000 people.
- An increase in surfaces of fenced areas and the sowing of forage to increase feed quantity and quality during the dry season
- Improved prevention of goat diseases due to rotation within fenced area during the rainy season
- Set up of improved means for the reporting of goat numbers
While ownership of livestock is not a new concept here, livestock businesses are, and they are proving to be very successful in creating income and independence.
According to Mr Yuan, chief of the Samet Noi village, “the goat bank system is good because such a system providing incomes for the poorest did not exist before. The system really targets the poorest of the village, those who can not work”
In Samet Noi, the beneficiaries include:
- 15 people who are disabled or sick,
- 1 single mother with a child aged three,
- 5 mentally disabled people,
- 4 elderly without children who can look after them
- 3 orphans
“Moreover the system provides income for the goat raiser.”
Beneficiaries were also pleased with the first distribution of benefits which took place in June this year. Most of them said they would use their share to buy medicine, salt and other food products.
(Photo: Sharing out income from goat sales, Samet Gnai)
Significant improvements have been made in disease identification,
prevention and treatment during the past two years. However mortality
rates are still high.
The main challenge for the project will be to further reduce this
mortality rate among goat herds. Reduced mortality rates will enable
goat banks to generate higher profits for the beneficiaries.
In small, remote villages dotted through the mountains of northern
Laos, there are no jobs to apply for and no support for those without an
income. The majority of the rural population survives on what they
grow, and if they are fortunate enough to have food left over, they can
try to sell it. This situation of chronic poverty is the reason CARE is
working hard to establish sustainable livelihoods so families can become
Future of this project
Goat banks will be monitored by CARE at least until February 2012 (as part of the rural development project funded by the Swiss cooperation).
It is expected that further support will be needed in the veterinary field. Supplementary training will therefore be provided to goat raisers and village vets to further develop their capacity to prevent diseases, identify and cure them.
Depending on monitoring outcomes, some improvements may also be made together with villagers on the goat bank systems.
The sale area trialled in two villages this year was successful and may therefore be extended to all villages in which goat raising areas are far away from the village.
An external consultant will be hired to evaluate the activity and report on it. The report will be shared with the Government and international organisations operating in Lao PDR.
This project will create sustainable incomes for extremely poor participants who are often disabled, widowed or elderly, through the establishment of a Goat Bank.
The idea is of the "bank" is not lending money but lending goats. A person
receives a female goat and when offspring are born returns a female
goat back to the bank, and is then free to sell the other offspring.
This project cost will cover:
- Equipment and supplies including purchase of goats, fencing of the goat raising area, start-up fund for goat enterprise,
- Monitoring and evaluation of goat banks
- Field operational costs, travel and transportation
Objective, aim and outcomes
Aim: To reduce poverty through developing agriculture and the rural economy.
Objective: To establish goat banks for extremely poor and disadvantaged persons
Outcomes: To create sustainable income for those villagers that cannot work in the fields through the sale of goats offspring. This income will see that the target beneficiaries being able to contribute to the family income rather than burdening the family.
Background - why is this project needed?
Lao PDR is one of the poorest countries in SE Asia and Sayabouli is one of the country’s poorest districts. Resident villagers in remote areas of the Sayabouli district are primarily of Prai ethnicity and experience very high levels of poverty due to the fact that they have very few or no assets and their day-to-day survival depends almost exclusively on labour intensive agricultural activities.
The poorest households, mostly comprising widows, elderly
and disabled people have very low labour capacity and therefore have
greatest difficulty surviving and coping with extreme poverty.
As no welfare system exists, there is no way to buffer shocks such as
illness, disability or death of one spouse within poor communities. The existing exception is
“extended familial solidarity” but it often remains very limited given
the high level of poverty in the area.
As a result, households with a
low workforce capacity (resulting from a shock or societal disadvantage
e.g. elderly, widowed or disabled) have the greatest difficulties
coping day-to-day or to disengage from
this “poverty/ lack of labour force” spiral.
The project partners with the district level government department of
Agriculture to provide the technical input and training to the
participating villages. The village management committee (an existing
structure) will also be a primary partner of the project and will be
responsible for management of the goat raiser.
Consistent with local norms and systems the goat herding will be subcontracted to a village goat raiser.
Project fit into larger strategy or project
This project is a smaller component of a large project which is funded
by the Swiss Development Committee (SDC). This larger project has been
implementing activities over the last 6 years with key activities
focusing on increasing food security of poor and middle income
households, and increasing Prai women’s and men’s ability to
participate meaningfully in household and community development
As far as livestock activities are concerned, the project aims to
improve the capacity of villagers in terms of animal management
(vaccination, treatment) and develop a commercial network of local
animal service providers. In parallel, the project aims to increase the
access to livestock assets especially for the poorest households.
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