That is when the Village Organisation appealed to the PEACE project to help them learn new ways to deal with disease and to increase milk output. A group of 30 women was formed – and the Livestock Farmers Field School established. Once a week for a year the women met to learn about different treatments, to talk about their problems, to experiment with different cures and treatments, to chart progress and establish for themselves, from their own experience, what works best.
Drawing comes quickly and naturally now. Saadia proffers a drawing: depicting two pails, the one half empty, the other full “My milk production is up this much,” she says.
The women have been taught how to do all sorts of tasks using simple sketches: how to milk the cows so as to reduce the risk of mastitis, how to ensure a balanced diet, how often to water them, how to make sure their shelter is ventilated and clean, how to prevent diseases, which diseases are more prevalent at which time of year, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.
They can now confidently explain that a balanced diet and a mineral block really helps increase milk production. Income is up, not only because their animals are better fed and looked after, but also because they have fewer problems with contaminated milk.
Above all they have been taught to think, to observe their animals, to experiment, and to try to establish cause and effect.
They have tracked the various diseases they have experienced: mastitis, worms, red water, foot and mouth, fever, ticks, scabies, pleuropneumonia, worms – the list is long. They establish the times of years they occur, the risks, and what helps prevent them. Prevention is what they’re really focused on now.
If one woman introduces a change in diet to treat a disease, another will try a medicine, a third both. Then each tracks the result. They work in three teams of ten. The ones to get the most right answers, get little rewards.
Zeba proffers a drawing of a happy faced buffalo. “My buffalo talks to me,” she says. “She is happy now.” And so are the other women themselves.
“Milk, more milk, more money” – they chorus in Pashtun. That is their slogan.
EUR 40 million
October 2012 – October 2016
Bacha Jehan, teacher