While the long-term effects of Covid-19 on developing countries like Nepal are still unknown, it is clear that the pandemic is causing unprecedented chaos around the world.
A large number of Nepalese rural households rely heavily on remittances from family members working abroad, with the Middle East being the most common destination. However, as a result of the Covid-19, many people working in such places have been laid off and have returned to Nepal's villages. These hardworking people have returned to their village setting and rely primarily on subsistence farming.
Some are looking for work in micro-industries such as livestock rearing to sell meat/dairy products. The Nepalese economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and livestock, with 65 percent of the population employed in these micro-industries. This sector also accounts for approximately 35% of the country's GDP.
In discussion with village leaders and people in Dangling village, an opportunity was identified to assist extremely poor families by donating a female goat to begin the support cycle. The animal provides an ongoing source of nutritious milk, and most importantly, the offspring generate income for the family, which could mean the start of an ongoing farming business for some families.
A goat is a valuable asset to a vulnerable household; it breeds easily and can produce up to six kids a year. Offspring can be sold to help families cope or kept to produce manure, which will improve subsequent harvests. Ideally, within a year, each family will be able to choose to do both: selling goats to improve their homes or pay for school fees; and using manure to increase their maize and vegetable harvests so that they can produce a surplus to sell.
Improving domestic goat stock will reduce imports while also paving the way for successful family businesses. Over time, the goat yield will help improve family nutrition, and the stable income will allow families to access healthcare and send their children to school.
This project clearly meets the objectives of the foundation to Rebuild, Educate, Assist the Children/Community giving Hope for Nepal.
Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals
This project will contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in the following ways.
No Poverty: Assistance for farmers and educational opportunities will increase the prospects of employment and create further opportunities to reduce poverty
Quality Education & Reduced Inequalities: As the family will have a stable income, the family can send their children to school.
Decent Work and Economic Growth : Through this project foundation aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable productive employment and decent work opportunities for young rural men
Dangling Village, Syangja District, Gandaki Province
As set out in the project brief, improving domestic goat stock will reduce imports while also paving the way for successful family businesses. Over time, the goat yield will help improve family nutrition, and the stable income will allow families to access healthcare and send their children to school.
RFN is excited to invest in rural poor families because we know that having a stable source of income can be truly transformative for families and communities.
RFN has considered various aspects on the environment in relation to the gifting live animals to help poverty in Nepal.
Over recent times, there has been articles published in the media from scientist Jane Goodall advising caution against giving animals as gifts to developing countries, primarily because a large volume of animals can place a great strain on local water supplies. This is not an issue in the Dangling village in Nepal where there is plenty of rainfall to provide water to provide feed in the fields of the village for the goats without impacting harvests of crop to feed the people of the village.
Manure produced from the goats will enhance the quality of soil for the production of local crops and there are no environmental impacts of significance.
In discussion with village leaders, RFN emphasised the importance of identifying marginalised families as a priority for the allocation of goats. This includes:
The most impoverished families, and
Families that can’t afford to send children to school, and in particular giving preference to educating female children and children with disabilities.
In addition, village leaders and the RFN team on the ground in Nepal will facilitate support for the families in raising the goats, selling their offspring, manure and milk, as well as providing advice and guidance of the best model for the family to develop a sustainable income.