A team of health workers trains women from the poorest areas of India to raise healthier goats.
Goat nurses or “pashu sakhis” (friends of the animals) fight the lack of access to veterinary services in India with the help of a program called Project Mesha launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Goat nurses know how to vaccinate, deworm, and provide preventive care to goats and other small livestock in their region.
Goat rearing is an important source of income for many Indian families. Traditionally only women manage this surprisingly profitable business. The money they earn stay in their hands, giving them control of their life and improving their status within the family and community.
India has one-sixth of the world’s goat population and about 70% of it is raised by rural families. The pashu sakhis are working to reduce the mortality rate for goats, which is as high as 40%.
Pashy sakhis support more than 23,000 households in Bihar, the poorest state in India. The foundation is going to train enough women to serve 50,000 households.
This program plans to improve life for India’s poorest women by raising their income. Women will be taking care of the goats, charging small fees for their services. With more cash in their hands, women will be able to improve life for their families in a substantial way.
This form of self-sustainable employment allows women earn respect, dignity and financial independence.