Establishing a welfare group in Rawati

Rawati village in the Indian state of Bihar is a great example of how a village can benefit from insightful community development.

In the village of Rawati there are 21 households - with a total of 33 horses and foals - which depend on working animals. The majority of these animals pull brick kiln carts, earning between 100 and 150 rupees a day (less than £2.25).

We began working in Rawati in 2008, laying a foundation for community action. This included:

  • helping establish an equine welfare group, which included all 21 owners
  • training owners in the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of common ailments such as colic, respiratory diseases and tetanus
  • implementing community-led health check-ups and tetanus vaccinations

As a result, the community has seen improvements in the welfare of their working horses, which has also benefited owners and their families.

Responsibility pays dividends

Through Rawati’s equine welfare group, owners have built a community fund which gives them increased purchasing power. For example, rather than paying a trader five rupees for each kilo of feed, they can now buy good quality feed direct from a supplier at three rupees per kilo (a saving of 40 percent) and store it properly so it stays dry, ready for use.

Local service providers have also become members of the group. Hashim is a farrier and he gives fellow group members a 20-rupee discount on each horse he shoes. Owners buy good quality shoes and nails and set aside three days a month for farriery, so they get a good service at a reduced price. Nazim and Zahid offer a hair clipping service. They bought clipping machines with loans from the community fund. Members’ horses are clipped every 45 days to reduce skin diseases and problems such as ticks.

All of these outcomes reflect the increased self-confidence, motivation and morale amongst the community in Rawati.