19,0000 Women Trained in Dairy Value Chain through WELD project
Engro Foundation’s immensely successful Women Empowerment Livestock Development (WELD) project, funded by USAID and implemented by MEDA, saw 19,000 women overcome the odds and receive training to provide vaccinations, health care for animals and offer this essential service to other female farmers.
The WELD project that trained over 600 rural women as livestock extension entrepreneurs and 18,000+ dairy farmers in better animal husbandry practices concluded last year in June. The project saw many rural women go through many hardships, facing harsh criticism from their families and communities, as they got trained to provide vaccinations, health care for animals and offer this essential service to other female farmers. But it paid off in the end; the average increase in income was Rs2,500 which can go a long way in positively impacting the lives of these women and their families.
Shahida Khuroo is one such entrepreneur. Initially when she started working, male members of her community in the village came and spoke to her husband about how they were ‘worried’ about her behaviour. Her husband, who would often help take care of the kids and even cook when Shahida had to travel to another village, became subject to ridicule, often being told he was ‘not man enough’ to control his wife. One day the men in Shahida’s village even stopped her from going on a vaccination visit. However, Shahida and her husband persevered on and Shahida continued working and soon was making waves, providing vaccination and heath care services to the nearby Katcha area – reaching almost 18 villages. Her husband also assisted her and enlisted the help of his relatives to introduce Shahida to their communities where she began to provide services. Shahida’s husband often tells us that “It’s all about trust; she trusts me and I trust her.”
Shahida makes on an average of PKR20,000 per month. She has 4 sons, whom she has now put in a private school. Her husband runs a small karyana shop in her village and they live in a two bed room house. Shahida hopes to build another room in her house and buy a larger shop for her husband with her earnings. Shahida is one of the many brave female WELD entrepreneurs who continue to strive and push to earn and better the lives of themselves and their families.