Improving livelihood througth livestock
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Improving livelihood througth livestock02 juin 2016
25 September 2015 – Annonciata Nsekugabanye never imagined she would one day be able to provide a dignified life for her family.
A seasonal labourer in the Kirehe District in Eastern Rwanda, the mother of four could not afford to buy food, clothes and other essentials
But in 2010, Annonciata and her husband decided to venture into the livestock business after they learned about a new project in their community .
This programme was introduced by the IFAD-funded Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP) . Through the project Annonciata’s family received a cow.
"Who would have thought that we would have repaid our loan by selling milk, let alone that the children could drink milk every day."
"I had to learn pretty quickly how to take care of the cow so that I could get the most of it," says Annonciata. And mastering the art of animal rearing opened a multitude of new opportunities for Annonciata.
Right away the family was able to benefit from a more nutritious diet. Milk, which once was a luxury item in Annonciata's household, became both a staple of their diet and a lucrative source of income.
Against all odds, and with a lot of apprehension, the family decided to take out a loan to build a proper cowshed.
"Who would have thought that we would have repaid our loan by selling milk, let alone that the children could drink milk every day?" wonders Annonciata.
Very early on, the family started to use organic manure as fertilizer. The manure allowed them to grow a variety of crops and vegetables.
Learning good farming practices also allowed them to continue to increase and expand their production.
Today, Annonciata is not only able to put more food on the table, but also to sell her vegetables and bananas.
"Five years ago, if someone would have told me you can make US $3000 a year by selling milk, vegetables and bananas, I would have told them they are crazy," says Annonciata.
"Now, I am considered as a pioneer farmer in my village. I learned that it takes a lot of hard work, good will and patience to change one's life for better".
Now a successful smallholder producer, Annonciata can send her four children to school, put nutritious and healthy food on the table, buy clothes for her family and afford health care.
"I am proud of what I've achieved. I'm proud of my children's accomplishments," says Annonciata."I'm also proud of the social status that I managed to build for my family and myself".
Annonciata is keen to keep moving forward in her life.
She is looking forward to sending her children to university, maintaining her role as a model performing farmer, expanding her skills and becoming a mentor for others in her community.
"I managed to put poverty behind me," says Annonciata.
"I want to share my experience with others and help others to do the same thing so that there are many more pioneer farmers."