Some widows in the in Fako, Lebialem, Meme and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions of Southwest Cameroon have begun witnessing remarkable
improvement in their standard of living thanks to the Nkong Women Entrepreneurship Project (NWEP) of the Nkong Hill Top Association for Development (NADEV).
Initiated in 2007 to improve on the livelihoods of widows, the pig rearing project has become one of the ultimate sources of livelihoods of about 300 widows in fako, Lebialem, Meme and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions.
Some widows, who used income realised from this project to start off other small businesses like palm oil and others, can now boost of a steady source of income. “I now have a stable source of income thanks to this pig rearing project,” Margaret Fotabong, an Ekona based widow testified.
Another project beneficiary from Mautu, Forsie Gladis, disclosed that she can now take care of her basic needs thanks to proceeds from the project. “My pig business is booming. Today, I am proud of my life as a widow because I can solve my own problems without begging for money,” she added.
Though happy with the impact of this project, the Livelihood officer of NADEV, Aldous Lekeanyi, said preventing the pigs from diseases outbreaks remain a major challenge.
“The major disease here is a bacterium called erysipelas; at first such diseases were common only during the months of June and August but recently, it was realized that diseases can attack pigs at any time of the year. To solve this problem, we always vaccinate piglets at the
beginning of the rearing process in order to prevent the diseases, which is not really easy,” he said.
The Project Coordinator noted that when the pigs get ready for sale, they face marketing challenges. “We don’t have a
storage capacity where we can stock meat for sale. The best way is to get potential butchers who sell meat in the market and others who produce soya. Our beneficiary widows often target people who have funerals and other occasions,” Aldous added.
Motivated by the desire to touch the lives of the vulnerable in a special way and to see smile on widow’s faces the NADEV livestock team identifies and select very poor widows in different communities. After this, those identified are trained on pig farming techniques, and back yard pigsties, constructed on their backyard, and two piglets stock in each of the pigsties. This is usually followed by the provision of feed and vetinary care for at least 6 months, after which the widows continue the rearing process themselves.
While some beneficiary widows do breeding, others sell off the pigs for meat at maturity. Money raised from pig farming is a livelihood relieve for them as they often use it to meet various needs; school fees, medical care, and housing facilities including farm lands for crop cultivation. Nkong Hill Top Association for Development (NADEV) is an NGO, working to improve on the socio-economic status of the vulnerable population since 1996.