Handicrafts and Appropriate Technology

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Sustaining Animal Health with Plants

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Aaron Kah

Mamma Bitang, is a Heifer International Cameroon resourceful farmer at the Noubou village in Moutourwa sub-division in Mayo Kani Division of the Far North Region of Cameroon. Mamma, mother of ten (6 boys and 4 girls) received relevant knowledge on treating animals with herbs through her Groupe d’Initiative Commune Wudmezle in 2009 during a Heifer International Cameroon sponsored training workshop on livestock rearing and donation. Mamma like other women in her group was offered a series of lessons on animal husbandry, gender equity, sanitation and hygiene and ethno veterinary medicine. To strengthen the trainings each farm family was given 4 animals a ram and 3 sheep each in compensation of their loyalty to the teachings and prescriptions. Mamma had her share.

Before Heifer International Cameroon’s gift of knowledge and animals to Mamma and her group, they kept a few animals locally and depended on veterinarian doctors for treatment. This was costly for the poor peasant farmers, whose only source of income was their farm out. Mamma retained the ethno veterinary sensitization campaign as a best option of remembering her roots “When I was growing up, I saw my father using herbs to treat animals and the method was very effective” she said.

With little or no vet doctors present in those days Young Girls like Mamma saw herbal treatment of animals as a cultural practice but it soon died off with the passage of time. Heifer International Cameroon’s drilling ignited the passion in the woman. “I do treat bloat in sheep with groundnut oil by giving the animal small quantity of the oil and in about six hours the stomach releases all the gas” Mamma said. Mamma treats diarrhea in sheep by giving the animal Cassia occidentalis (Kenkeliba) plants mixed in their feed. To sustain her treatment process the farmer has planted these plants around her family house for easy accessibility.

Mamma has passed on this gift of treatment with other community members. “Mamma’s knowledge of animal treatment is very effective” Djouma Boukoi president of Groupe d’Initiative Commune des Djinandra, explained after applying the treatment procedures from Mamma to treat her animals of diarrhea. Mamma has been on hand for trainings within and beyond her community for the training of farmers on building animals health with plants and herbs. “I am happy to know that other farmers have learnt from me” she said. After receiving her animal from Heifer international Cameroon, the farmers has recorded only one death in a community where animals die on a daily bases. “I now have six sheep after selling one during the feast of the ram,” Mamma said elatedly.

This woman knows when and what to give to a particular animal when it’s sick. This experience has attracted other farmers to her and she is making a steady income from the treatment of animals. Mamma has also passed on the knowledge of treatment to her children and her animals have received proper care and management. She has used income for this venture to afford basic food crops for her family and her children school needs and medical bills. As Mamma’s project continued to flourish she had extended a word of thank you to Heifer International Cameroon for stabilizing her animal welfare.

Caption: Mamma in front of her barn with her sheep

posted @ 2:31 PM,


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