“A little support goes a long way,” says Lilawati Thalal, who lives in the rural and hilly district of Dadeldhura in western Nepal.
Having completed training in homestead food production from HKI’s Suaahara project, which means “Good Nutrition” (funded by USAID), Lilawati now serves as a village model farmer in her community. And after receiving an initial brood of four hens and one rooster, she has also became a local resource person for raising poultry.
That’s when Lilawati began to create change.
She was enthusiastic about her new venture, but she was also concerned about the reaction of her in-laws when she brought the birds home. She knew they would not support her because of the social stigma surrounding poultry rearing.
But Lilawati’s husband did support her, and she and her husband worked together to manage the birds. She soon added three more hens. But because her in-laws didn’t want the birds anywhere near the house, they built a small, enclosed area to keep their poultry.
Slowly, she started selling her hen’s eggs. As sales of the eggs continued, she continued increasing the size of her brood. And as time went on, the stream of income became steadier.
When Lilawati and her husband informed their family about the new income, the in-laws dropped their objections, became eager to support her endeavor, and now even manage feeding the brood. Lilawati’s husband helps with selling the eggs at the market. And to support better nutrition in their community, they are proud to offer a discount to new mothers.
“Gender disparity is beyond fathomable here, and I am glad to have worked with Suaahara program for three years.” — Lilawati
Lilawati uses the income from her business to help ensure that her daughter can attend a better school. “I saved money to send my daughter to a technical school. I would always deposit money into her school account as soon as I had the cash in hand. I wanted to make sure I paid the fees on time, since I was also worried I might need to spend it elsewhere.”
Lilawati now works for the local government. She has formed her own homestead food production beneficiary group, with 25 founding members who have set an agenda of ensuring that all members plant vegetables and save their group income for projects they deem beneficial to the community. They call the group Laliguras Gharayesi Khaddhanya Krishi Samuha and have proudly registered with the District Agriculture Department Office. This registration has helped the group make connections to local government service providers and development workers.
Liliwati looks forward to being a poultry brooder with a minimum of 50 birds — she has already secured a loan from a local bank — and to a future filled with opportunity. Of her success and that of the beneficiary group, Liliwati says, “Because I persisted, this is a proud moment for us.