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Can goats empower women? Bill Gates says yes

3 April 2019

According to Bill Gates, teaching rural women to raise healthier goats has made them gain financial independence. Known as "pashu sakhis" (friends of the animals) in Hindi, the health workers are trained in how to vaccinate, deworm and provide other preventive care to their goat herds. In many parts of rural India, where goats are a valuable source of income, a healthier goat fetches a higher price. That means more money for buying food to improve nutrition, schooling for children, visiting a doctor, or even building a toilet. Through a programme called Project Mesha run by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and supported by the Bill Gates Foundation, more than 200 women are being trained to be pashu sakhis in four communities in the Indian state of Bihar. He added: "While this project is still small, it has potential for huge impact for poor women in India. The AKF is working with the government of Bihar to expand the programme in other districts in the state.