Every year millions of lives are immensely affected in the flood-prone regions of Bihar. The lack of disaster management leads to the loss of both human and cattle lives and every year millions of houses are devastated especially in rural areas. The distress caused led people from rural areas to migrate to either another district or state to start life again after the catastrophe. Human lives are saved but every year millions of castles lose their lives or are prone to disease. Livestock is the main source of livelihood in rural areas.
For the survival of their livelihood against the catastrophe, this year 35-year-old goat rearer Sanju Devi from Buari village of Darbhanga district, came up with a pragmatically constructed goat shed.
In an interview given to The Better India, she says “Earlier, my goats would die during floods after getting sick; I lost nine of my goats. Later, I lost eight more goats and only one survived. We remain in distress every year” in addition she told “But, this year is different. Six months back in Baisakh (April/May), I constructed a goat shed, which has been very useful and convenient for us. Our goats can now survive the catastrophe. I get compliments from people, but some are just jealous! And some others have asked me to help them get a shed constructed too,” who at present have six healthy goats.
To have a clear understanding of how this goat shed would benefit the cattle we need to understand what is this goat shed model and who will be providing it to people across the state.
SEEDS India (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society) is a non-profit society that has one ultimate goal: protecting the lives and livelihoods of people by partnering with them to build their resilience to disasters and climate change impacts. The Society is working with the vulnerable communities of the state in collaboration with donor Heifer International. For the survival of the goats, they introduced the goat shed model for the residents of the flood-prone regions, which is the first of its kind and is designed to survive catastrophes like cyclones, earthquakes, and floods and the raised structure also helps in expelling fecal and urine outside from the shed.
Prashant Kumar, the programme expert, explains the reason behind the idea, “For at least six months, most of the areas in Bihar remain waterlogged, putting the livestock at risk. During floods, people keep goats on their palangs (beds) or tie them to the bedside. The water exposure makes goats vulnerable to skin diseases, and also makes it difficult for people to live around them with the foul smell of urine and excreta.” he adds, “We have developed the model keeping health risks in mind. So, these structures are constructed at a distance of 10 feet from the homes. This climate-resilient space is dedicated for goats only,”
In the construction of the shed bamboo, grass and ropes are used, it is constructed 3.5 feet above the ground and is a 10 by 10 shed, nearly about 12 feet with four concrete pillars, the bamboo is treated with borax as it increases its durability and also works as an insect repeller. The shed can survive a maximum of 13 years and can withhold 10 goats at a time. Depending on the availability and condition of the land the construction costs a minimum of Rs 8,000 to a maximum of Rs 30,000, and three days in total as three feet pit is dug and bricked to give the base a solid and stable foundation and concrete pillars are created above the base the walls are roof are from made bamboo and grass, respectively.
Furthermore, Prashant says, “We have started this project in 16 panchayats of Darbhanga district. We work with self-help group members, mostly women. We help them get loans from the bank and help them construct the goat shed. We connect them with FPOs (Farmer Producer Organisations) who provide them with goats. We also help them to get their goats vaccinated and insured as well,”
“We get requests via SHGs for goat shed structures. So far, we have got 130 requests, of which, a loan has been sanctioned to 59 beneficiaries and 30 such structures have been constructed. People have started adopting it, and we are planning to expand this in other districts of the state,” he concluded.