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Giving families the skills to enter new enterprises and radically improve their power to earn.

Poultry Development Services (or PDS) offers very poor families who are living below the poverty line the opportunity to start a small backyard farming enterprise and earn the money that will enable them to change their lives in a positive and permanent way.

Since 2011, PDS has been offered to over 7,300 impoverished families living in rural villages on the outskirts of Kolkata. We have delivered over 23,000 subsidised poultry toolkits to these families, teaching them the skills they need to raise healthy chickens and start earning from the sale of their produce. Impact assessments show that our PDS programme is making a real difference to the lives of approximately 44,000 men, women and children.

Our poultry toolkits comprise ten one-day-old chicks or ducks, feed for two weeks, vaccinations and medicines and six months of expert training in all aspects of poultry rearing. The training is offered to the whole family, from the grandparents down to the young children, so everyone benefits from learning a new life skill.

Each toolkit costs 1,500 rupees (c.£15/USD$24) and we sell them to home farmers at an average subsidised cost of 350 rupees (c.£3.50/USD$5). In charging for the toolkits, farmers realise their value, attend the training and take ownership of their new enterprise. It also contributes to the financial sustainability of the programme.

Toolkits are delivered by our partner organisation, Shivia India (aka Nirdhan), through a team of local Livelihood Service Providers (LSPs) who are recruited from the villages where we work. They are well respected, understand the needs of the farmers and are committed to creating positive social change. LSPs complete our Social Impact Assessments to identify potential farmers, measure outcomes and monitor success. Assessments show that the sale of eggs alone can supplement household income by up to 30%.

Families use their profits to significantly improve their lives. They buy better food and clothes for their children, keep them in school or even send them to school for the first time. Many reinvest in additional toolkits or use their income to start another small enterprise. One of the most rewarding benefits of the programme is that our women farmers are earning for the first time – the feel empowered, gain respect and have new hopes for their families.

“Having recently sent a group from Artemis to India, we were thrilled to see the impact of the work being done and to meet the team on the ground. It was truly humbling to see the difference being made to so many people by this group of highly motivated and capable people. Well done Olly and the team.” STEWART BROWN, Trustee, Artemis Charitable Foundation

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Video embed: 
A short video about Shivia's Poultry Development Services project