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FEATURE STORY

Poor Families Find Hope and a Better Life in National Livestock Project

June 3, 2015

The National Horticulture and Livestock Project is increasing productivity and overall production of horticultural products, and improved animal production and health which is helping providing new livelihoods for families across Afghanistan.

World Bank Group

Story Highlights
  • Many impoverished women who have not had a source of income are now receiving much needed assistance to earn their own livelihoods.
  • They have received support and training from the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP), which aims to increase horticultural production and productivity as well as improve animal production and health.
  • The NHLP, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock with support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, has activities in 120 districts across the country.

BEHSOUD DISTRICT, Nangarhar Province – Zahidah, 40, has not let her paralyzed left hand stop her from getting her family’s livelihood in order and motivating her husband to start working following his long struggle with drug addiction.

Zahidah attributes much of her success to the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP). “A year ago, the NHLP provided me with 30 chickens and five bags of grain to establish a small chicken farm,” she says. “Now, these chickens lay 25 to 30 eggs every day and my husband sells the eggs in the village in his handcart.” 

Zahidah lives with her husband and their six children in a small mud-walled house in Qala-e-Mirza village of Behsoud district, five kilometers east of Jalalabad city, the capital of Nangarhar Province. Her hand has been paralyzed for 20 years—the result of an explosion. This injury, along with her husband’s more recent drug addiction, has caused her and her family extensive suffering over the years.

While life is still not easy, the NHLP has provided some relief to Zahidah and her family. Through the small poultry farm in the family’s backyard, Zahidah has been able to slowly turn her life around, one egg at a time.

“I am very happy for the support and assistance,” Zahidah says. “I hope to expand my business, and I am saving money to materialize this dream. Fortunately, today I earn 150 to 200 Afghanis ($3-$4) per day.”

The NHLP, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) with support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), contributes to the overarching goal of increased productivity and overall production of horticultural products, and improved animal production and health. The project aims to promote adoption of improved production practices by target farmers. Service delivery centered on farmers will promote increased participation of beneficiaries in defining the type of services required and in the delivery itself. NHLP activities are currently implemented in 120 districts in 21 target provinces, numbers that may grow as conditions warrant.


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Three of Zahidah's five children. They are have a better life and are now going to school.

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

" “I am very happy for the support and assistance. I hope to expand my business, and I am saving money to materialize this dream.” "

Zahidah

Poultry farmer, Qala-e-Mirza village

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Zahidah’s small poultry farm in the family’s backyard, has been able to slowly turn her life around, one egg at a time. Through the assistance she can earn 150 to 200 Afghanis ($3 - $4) per day

Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Positive changes to life

Fowzia Kaker, 23, is Director of the NHLP Women’s Department in Nangarhar. She says that 417 families have benefited from the program in Behsoud district alone, at an expense of $270,000 to the program.

“Most of the people who have been supported by the program are women whose husbands are either addicts or handicapped, or maybe the families are just very poor,” Fowzia says. “All program participants go through a three-month farming training. This assistance brings about very positives changes in their lives.”

Fowzia points to Zahidah as just one example. “Zahida used to feel very hopeless, but now she is happy and hopeful for her life,” she says. “Her husband is free of his drug addiction and he now sells the family’s eggs and other items in his handcart. This has contributed to increase the family’s income.”

Mohammad Bashir, 15, Zahida’s oldest son, says that the family’s circumstances completely turned around after his mother started to run the poultry farm.  “Life was very tough,” he says. “The fact that my father was addicted to drugs tormented me and I was not able to concentrate on studying. Our economic situation was also very bad.”

Bashir is now in eighth grade, and is happy to be able to study with peace of mind, with a family who can afford to pay for his daily expenses, which include bus fare to school, and money for notebooks, pens, and the occasional snack.

“Before, I did not have the money so I had to walk to school. I was late every day, and I was hungry all the time, too,” he says. “Now, I am very happy. My seven-year-old brother just enrolled in the school. I know he will be comfortable and will not go through the difficulties in school that I went through.”

 


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