The ladies of the dairy group in the village of Sattalua were eager to tell me about the impact Pathways has had on their lives.
Sattalua is located in a highly disaster prone area, with seasonal extremes swinging between floods and droughts. Periodic waterlogging and drying makes farming incredibly challenging. Pathways has been working with a group of women from some of the poorest households in Sattalua to help them cultivate a sustainable food supply for their families.
Through partnering with government Veterinarian Field Assistants, Pathways has provided training in improved dairy practices. The women can now identify disease symptoms, feed their cows an improved diet and are better informed about livestock breeding. As a result, their cows are healthier and are now producing an average of 2.5 to 3 litres of milk, over a litre more than their previous yield. More milk means more cash and a greater ability to save. And savings are essential in a place where the changeable weather does not guarantee reliable harvests.
Flooding in Sattalua has devasting impacts on households’ vegetables harvests and Pathways has introduced an innovative way to keep vegetables out of reach of the rising waters. Now, the women plant vegetables in plastic sacks and place them on the elevated ground by the road where they remain untouched by even the very worst flooding. In this way, these women are ensuring that their families have access to fresh vegetables during the rainy season. Through the recommendations of the Pathways training, women have begun switching their rice to more flood tolerant varieties and they are storing dry food items as an extra precaution.
The ladies of Sattulua can now await the arrival of the monsoon rains with confidence.
Contributed by: Helena Worrall