More

    First Person: What I learnt from the Gabhales

    AgricultureDairy FarmingFirst Person: What I learnt from the Gabhales
    - Advertisment -

    First Person: What I learnt from the Gabhales

    Through the provision of livestock and associated training, the family not only regained their economic stability but also underwent a significant emotional and psychological transformation.

    By Amgoth Mahalakshmi

    In the villages of Ambevadi, Ghodevadi, Manjargaon and Shirevadi of Maharashtra’s Nashik district, the poor live mostly in thatched or tiled hutments. Like villagers elsewhere, they toil hard to make ends meet. They have, to varying extents, the benefit of entitlements like guaranteed employment through MGNREGA and access to food rations.

    The NGO Pragati Abhiyan works among these people – working to enhance rural livelihoods, to enable the poor break out of the poverty trap.

    “Most rural poor in the region are either landless or small landholders with no irrigation facilities. Pragati Abhiyan works towards developing solutions that create an enabling environment for the poor to break out of the poverty trap,” says Ashwini Kulkarni, Director of Pragati Abhiyan. “Lack of access to productive resources together with structural marginalisation pushes them into the poverty trap.”

    As an Abhijit Sen Rural Internship Fellow, I learnt about livestock as a mean of support for families who lost their earning members in family. In many cases the breadwinner died during the COVID-19 pandemic. The families were helpless. As a young person from the city, I had little clue of their state of being. On the ground, I observed the potential of using livestock as a sustainable means of support for families who have lost their earning members. The internship helped me examine the socioeconomic impact of such an approach, considering factors like income generation, food security, and overall well-being. Investigating successful case studies, challenges, and best practices provided me insights into how livestock can play a pivotal role in empowering families during times of crisis.

    - Advertisement -

    Post-pandemic recovery

    I spent my internship time in a village comprising 23 families who experienced the loss of their earning member. The 23 families were given a diverse set of livestock, including goat, hens, roosters based on their individual needs and how the families were provided with training and guidance on animal husbandry, health care and market oriented strategies to maximize the benefits from the livestock.

    Here, I saw how a holistic approach to post-pandemic recovery, with emphasis on the role of livestock worked to offer a viable means of economic support to families affected by the loss of earning members. I learnt much from my participation as a listener to the discourse surrounding sustainable livelihood diversification in the aftermath of the global crises.

    Pragati Abhiyan seeks to provide solutions that foster an environment that allows the underprivileged to escape the cycle of poverty. Most rural poor are either landless or small landholders with no irrigation facilities. Lack of access to productive resources together with structural marginalization pushes them into the poverty trap.

    I saw, for instance, how the close-knit Gabhale family of three in the village of Ghodevadi was coping with the sudden death of its sole breadwinner, Santu Shankar Gabhale. Laxmibai started to work as a cook in the village school and also undertook work in others’ farms for some additional income. Laxmibai Santu Gabhale and her two children fit the definition of the word destitute.

    The Gabhales had been traditional farmers for generations. Shankar had been the driving force behind their farming activities, ensuring the family’s financial stability. His untimely demise left the wife and children in a state of shock and uncertainty, as they grappled with the sudden loss and the financial burden the mishap brought.

    Livestock management

    Recognizing the Gabhale family’s predicament, NGO Pragati Abhiyan stepped in to provide support. A plan was devised to empower the family by gifting them a pair of goats. The aim was to diversify their income sources and help them regain financial stability. The animals were chosen for their potential to generate regular income through milk production.

    The family received training on animal husbandry, healthcare, and the proper management of the livestock. This education was crucial for ensuring the well-being and productivity of the animals. Over the next several months, Laxmibai and her children learned to care for the livestock and effectively manage their newfound responsibilities. They diligently followed the training they had received, providing proper nutrition, shelter, and medical care to the animals.

    With the passage of time, Laxmibai sold one goat to finance the wedding of her daughter.

    Through the provision of livestock and proper training, the Gabhale family’s journey from despair to self-sufficiency serves as a testament to the resilience of rural communities and the impact of thoughtful interventions.

    This also illustrates the transformative impact of timely and sustainable support provided by an NGO to a family grappling with the loss of their earning member. Through the provision of livestock and associated training, the family not only regained their economic stability but also underwent a significant emotional and psychological transformation. To me, this exemplified the importance of holistic interventions that address both immediate needs and long-term resilience-building within vulnerable communities.

    There were 23 such families that I spent time with – learning and experiencing first-hand how resilient the poor are.

    Diversification of livelihood

    The introduction of livestock had a discernible positive impact on the families’ economic conditions. Families with goats reported a significant increase in their income due to the sale of goat meat, and offspring. Similarly, families with poultry experienced increased revenue through the sale of eggs and meat. The additional income played a pivotal role in stabilizing the families’ financial situations and mitigating the economic shock caused by the loss of the earning person.

    Furthermore, the introduction of livestock facilitated diversification of livelihood strategies within these families. Prior to receiving livestock, many families were heavily reliant on a single income source, often the income of the earning person. The provision of livestock encouraged families to engage in animal husbandry-related activities, thus reducing dependence on a single income stream. This diversification not only enhanced their resilience but also provided a pathway to long-term financial sustainability.

    Apart from the economic benefits, the introduction of livestock played a role in fostering social support and strengthening community bonds. Families shared knowledge and experiences related to animal care and management, creating a sense of camaraderie and cooperation.

    The ownership and care of livestock contributed positively to the psychological well-being of the families. Engaging in livestock-related activities served as a distraction from grief and loss, providing families with a sense of purpose and routine. Taking care of the animals offered a form of therapy, allowing families to channel their emotions and energy into productive endeavours.

    Amgoth Mahalakshmi is doing a post-graduation in Forensic Science from the National Forensic Science University, Bhopal. This piece is based on the internship report submitted by the author as part of the Abhijit Sen Rural Internship programme of National Foundation for India (NFI).

    - Advertisement -

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest news

    Floods Batter Pakistan; Over 50 Dead

    Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority is planning for the distribution of relief, but the logistics of reaching relief is...

    China to Import Buffalo Embryos from Pakistan

    The import of buffalo embryos by China can significantly shorten the cycle of improving dairy buffalo breeds from 12...

    Above Normal Rainfall During Southwest Monsoon Season Likely: Ministry of Earth Sciences

    The forecast is based on both dynamical and statistical models, and it suggests above normal rainfall is likely over...

    In Bangladesh, Nipah Virus Keeps the Health System on its Toes

    There’s no cure and no vaccine for the Nipah Virus – and so far this year, both confirmed cases...
    - Advertisement -

    Debt Swaps Could Release $100 Billion for Climate Action

    If a country and its creditors agree to a swap, a portion of that nation’s debt can be written...

    Sri Lanka: Unlawful Use of Weapons in Policing of Protests, Says Amnesty

    During 2022 and 2023, Sri Lankans called for accountability for the prolonged economic crisis, corruption and human rights violations,...

    Must read

    Floods Batter Pakistan; Over 50 Dead

    Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority is planning for the...

    China to Import Buffalo Embryos from Pakistan

    The import of buffalo embryos by China can significantly...
    - Advertisement -

    More from the sectionRELATED
    Recommended to you