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Empowering women through livestock raising

A group of Pantawid women has operated a livestock project, but can they sustain it? Some people said it will not last long because it is too risky.

This is a common misconception from people who believes women cannot manage a business involving animals. Some might agree, but it didn’t hinder for a group of women in Brgy. Ytaya, Lazi, Siquijor who ably manages their own livestock raising project.

SLPA member is feeding some of the association’s goats.

Who would expect that aside from gaining additional income, acquiring new knowledge and skills, and boosting once confidence in handling and managing a business, the association members would be able to open the minds of some residents about what women can do, which they thought impossible to happen?

“Wala magtoo ang kasilinganan nga makapatindog og proyekto ang mga kababayen-an kay matod pa, ang mga babaye mga arte sa trabahuon unya magsalig ra sa bana ilabi na sa mga binug-at nga buluhaton (The neighborhood couldn’t believe that women can carry out a [livestock] project because accordingly, women are picky and just rely on their husbands especially when it comes to heavy works),” says Ytaya Women Association President Virgie Sumalpong.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) provided a seed capital fund to the association amounting to Php 363,000.00. In preparation for the establishment of their proposed livelihood project, the 30 members have undergone Training on Poultry and Livestock Production and were able to secure National Certificates (NC II) from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

On June 4, 2019, the SLPA has started their project operation. Within six months of operation, the association has sold their goats and chickens and earned a total of Php 72,690.00. Too good enough for less than a year of operation.

But behind the success of the operation are struggles, which tested each member’s determination to continue the project. Pests and Newcastle disease attacked the livestock during the first month of the implementation. And the people expected their business to fail.

“Makadungog me nga dili daw kaabtan og tuig among negosyo nga manok tungod sa sakit na laway-laway (We can hear people telling us that our chicken will not even make it to a year because of Newcastle disease),” Sumalpong revealed. However, the members have persevered and thought of ways on how to recover from their losses. The members immediately coordinated with the Department of Agriculture and asked for assistance about the pest and chicken disease that affected the livestock. The agency immediately extended help in disinfecting the area and assisted the SLPA in the application of insurance for their livestock.

That certain experience has served as stepping stone in building the member’s confidence, especially when seeking assistance from different agencies.

“Dili name maulaw mo duol sa bisan unsa nga ahensya na makatabang namo ug aware na pod me kong unsa to nga mga ahensya ang pwede makatabang namo ilabi na kay puro me mga farmers ug naa sab kaugalingon buhi (We are no longer ashamed of asking help from any agencies. Also, we are already aware about the different possible agencies that could help us especially that we are farmers and we also raise our own domesticated animals),” she added.

Apart from the personal learning experience, the association was also able to help the community. Looking back, the residents have a hard time buying chickens and goats because of fewer people raising livestock in the area. Though available in some barangays within the municipality, but the price is expensive and the quality cannot be assured because some usually apply injections to animals.

Currently, the association’s project offers quality products with a reasonable price that consumers within the community could easily access because the project location is just along the highway. The association is also utilizing the goat manure and chicken dung as fertilizer in their garden for them to be able to produce organic vegetable and helps lessen the expenses of buying commercial fertilizers.

For now, the association is thankful about the struggles they have been through—from hearing negative judgments to encountering pests and harmful disease because it has motivated them to work harder to make their livelihood project successful and sustainable. It also proves how strong women are in times of difficulties. ###

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