Shubh N. Mahato, Surya Laxmi Bajracharya


Belsi, is a small village of 79 households in Chitwan district of Nepal with lush green fields, vegetable gardens and concrete houses. One can hardly imagine the plight it suffered just a decade ago. Engrossed in their work, the faces of the villagers exude content and confidence. However, the people of Belsi have not always been happy. The road toward self reliance in Belsi began in 1999 when the local women organized themselves into groups with assistance from Heifer Nepal. Prior to receiving goats from Heifer they organized themselves into a self-help group, built shelters for the goats and planted grass and fodder.  They participated in trainings on goat management. Income from the goats helped them to initiate monthly a saving and credit scheme. A group saving and mobilization fund opened the door for other income generating activities. During the two years of Heifer's involvement in Belsi, the women learned ways to improve their economic and social condition.  In 7 years, these 50 women, have spread their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to 760 women in their own community as well as in neighboring communities. Today the income of each family ranges from 250 USD to 4500 USD per annum from the sale of goats. Each family is keeping 4 to 6 goats and there are 30 breeding bucks in the community. Building on its valuable experience of working with farm communities, Heifer Nepal uses training and livestock, especially goats,  as tools for poverty alleviation  with a belief that development is not only about distributing inputs but about empowering individuals, developing successful models, building communities, producing deeper level impact and transformation of lives from receiver to giver, crossing the border of selfishness to sharing,  not only thinking for self-livelihood but for the community livelihood and community development. By addressing the inter-related causes of poverty like social discrimination, illiteracy, superstition, poor health, and family and communal conflicts through Heifer’s model of holistic development, Heifer Nepal brought lasting social and economic empowerment in the lives of more than 17,000 Nepal families.


holistic community development, poverty, women


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