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With these animal investments, flood surviving women realise there’s no ‘kidding’ around

By: Noman Ahmed

KARACHI: A goat in hand is worth two in the bush for the women whose livestock, washed away by the floods, has been replaced by the Indus Resource Centre.

Although there is no exact figure for the number of animals decimated in last year’s floods, it is estimated that 1.2 million of them perished. Additionally, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has said that 116,210 more animals have died in the waters this year.

Women were hit hard by the loss of livestock, as goats are an integral part of their livelihood. Since they require low capital investment, yield returns quickly and are fairly liquid, goats are referred to as the ‘poor woman’s cow’ in the countryside.

The Indus Resource Centre came to the rescue by launching a goat donation venture which could serve as a pilot project for other groups working to get these communities back on their feet. About Rs2.9 million were collected by the organisation in response to an appeal it made last year, said the executive director of the centre, Sadiqa Salahuddin. So far, it has spent Rs2.4 million on buying and distributing the animals in Khairpur Mirs, Dadu, Jamshoro, Shikarpur and Shahdadkot.

Haneefan, a resident of Dittal Sand village, is one of the recipients. After 10 months, her goat has delivered two kids. Another woman from the same village, Shabbiran, lost two goats and was given one by the centre, and it subsequently gave birth to two kids.

Salahuddin told The Express Tribune that 202 women from 29 villages in the province were given the goats after a rigorous round of assessment and selection.

The centre distributed over 28 goats in Dittal Sand, which was badly affected by the floods. In this village, the animals became a resource the women could tap in to for other needs, such as housing. The flood-hit village was rehabilitated through a scheme initiated by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in which each household was asked to pay Rs1,000 for the construction of shelter. Some women sold the donated goats for amounts ranging from Rs4,000 to Rs7,000 in order to pay for this scheme. While 40 of the donated goats were sold, 91 kids were born. The women who sold their goats used the money to buy calves, repair shelters and pay medical bills, among other things.

Other women have held on to their goats, thinking of future expenses.

Ameena, a resident of Loolja village, said, “I once thought about selling the goat, but I realised that I might need it in the future to pay my son’s school fee.” Another woman, Farzana, said, “I do not want to sell my goat since this is the only asset I have for my children.”

Though Sahiran of Samo Sind village suffers from hepatitis and various skin diseases, she still takes good care of the goat given to her by the centre. It gave birth recently, and Sahiran named the kid ‘Shahid’ after her daughter, Shahida. The IRC is still holding on to about Rs0.5 million in funds and Salahuddin plans to continue the project. “I am making the same appeal this year as the situation has not improved. Those who lost their goats have requested replacements and there are thousands who deserve to be compensated.”

About Rs12,000 is required to donate a single goat and Rs35,000 is required for a cow. Donations can be made at Habib Bank Limited, Zamzama Branch, DHA Phase V. Other details for donation are:

Title of Account: Indus Resource Centre

Account No. PKR: 00120001651403B US$: 00120250022610

Branch code: 0012 and Swift code: HABBPKKA

Source: The Express Tribune