The community thought that vaccinations caused death because they always administered them after the animals were already sick
When Archana started with only one goat in 2013, no one could have imagined where she would be only a few years later. Her goats had given birth to five kids, three of which died. On the years that followed, few would survive each year, adding to her losses. Through PROTIC, Archana learned how to take care of her goats through trainings on vaccination, the various apps she had on her smartphone, and the call center. She started feeding them properly and knew how to treat them when they got sick. Her goats stopped dying from a disease, reaching near one hundred percent survival. By 2017, she had 36 goats. She now earns Tk15,000 per year from them, easily her largest source of income. She even sold 17 goats one year to travel to India and buy gold as well as a fridge. Her training from PROTIC enabled her to succeed.
Now that Archana is doing well with her goats, the community sees her success and believes in her. They come to her proactively for vaccinations, a practice that was nonexistent in her community before. The community thought that vaccinations caused death because they always administered them after the animals were sick. At that point, it was too late and no vaccination could help, so the animals would die. However from Archana they learned that vaccinations were a preventative measure, given every six months to protect them from disease rather than be used as a treatment once they were sick. Archana used to go to people’s homes to convince them to vaccinate when she was first trained by PROTIC and was often turned away or met with resistance, but now her neighbours ask her for the next vaccination in anticipation. They come to her, not the other way around.
Archana is now the go-to person for anything related to goats. She stores vaccines in the fridge, keeping extra for anyone who may need them. She also keeps medicines for the animals and takes good care of the notes she took during each training and phone call with the call centre, using it as a reference when required. She has acquired all the necessary knowledge and skills.
From Archana, we learned that empowering one woman can empower the rest of the community. Archana’s expertise on goat care was transformational because now she can sustain herself through this practice. She is no longer reliant on her husband to take care of her, she has gained the trust and respect of her community. She is grounded in knowledge, which she would not have had without the PROTIC training and her access to smartphone.
Tania Ahmed and Mity Mahmuda are research officers at ICCCAD.