Choummala is Health Poverty Action’s Livestock Health Advisor in Laos. The work she does is tough, but her enthusiasm and dedication to the project shines through.
Health Poverty Action works with remote communities in Laos to provide livestock, such as goats, pigs and chickens. Choummala teaches people how to care for the livestock. Her knowledge regarding livestock treatment and care is vital to the long term success of the project.
“In our country, livestock is a good choice because it is usually sustainable and this allows villagers to learn new skills that they can use in the future. The project needs to be long enough for us to be sure that the villagers can successfully apply all the skills we have taught them”.
Without sustainability, projects only provide short term relief, but make very little impact in the long run. This can often do more damage than good if extremely poor households invest precious time and effort in a project that fails to provide for them in the future.
HPA has formed a tri-partite partnership with Vets without Borders (Canada) and Faculty of Agriculture (National University of Laos) to train Village Vet Workers who were chosen by Health Poverty Action, the village chiefs and the District Agriculture and Forestry Office (DAFO).
These Village Vet Workers give the project sustainability, because the village communities will now have a skilled veterinary worker that they are able to access when their livestock have issues or require vaccinations.
Choummala clarifies that, “Despite initial difficulties, over the course of the project, there have been improvements and now the Village Vet Workers have learned how to use the medicine and equipment. They know the basics of treating and caring for livestock”.
“I feel happy when I can help. When the work is hard, I try to work harder. When I go to the village and see that there have been improvements, I feel positive that I can contribute in this way. I feel connected to these people through their successes and struggles”.
Choummala was interviewed by Moira Deutinger, who is blogging about the communities we work with in Laos.