Originally published on November 5, 2014.
After years of constant fighting in their home town in Sri Lanka, Kamoordeen, Marliya and their four children recently relocated to Ritheethenna. Although safe from harm, Kamoordeen’s salary as a day laborer was insufficient to feed the family of six. The only livestock they possessed was one cow and a few chickens, which they used for domestic consumption.
Luckily, upon moving to the area, Kamoordeen became a member of the Ritheethenna Milk Producer Group (MPG). As a daily wage earner, he found it very difficult to attend the group’s meetings, so Marliya represented him. Both husband and wife firmly believed that the MPG could help them improve their incomes.
Kamoordeen's ability to attend DEEP's training sessions on behalf of the family enabled them to complete the program and purchase a new cow.
One day, a Land O’Lakes dairy mobilizer visited their producer group to explain the DEEP project and the role of the USAID, Land O’Lakes and CIC partnership. The mobilizer also explained that beneficiaries would be selected according to strict criteria, including completing five technical training modules. After the meeting, Kamoordeen told his wife about the project, but felt that he could not take time from work to attend all five modules. Marliya suggested that she attend the trainings on his behalf, much like the MPG meetings. When they discovered that it was possible as long as one of them completed all five modules, Marliya told her husband not to worry. She was committed to following all five modules without fail.
After completing their training, Kamoordeen and his wife received LKR 20,000 ($185) from the project to go towards the purchase of a new cow. With their new livestock, the family had five extra liters of milk to sell, which bolstered Kamordeen’s salary and allowed Marilya to make more investments in their tiny farm. Marliya contributed part of the money towards seettu (an informal group savings mechanism). Shortly after joining, Marliya received a group loan to purchase another cow, an improved Saheerwal cross-bred cow in-calf. Through clever investment and teamwork, within the span of two years, Marliya and Kamordeen were able to triple their livestock, and double their daily income. After seeing such success, the family plans on continuing with the seettu and participate in future DEEP project activities.