Improving the livelihood of women SHG members through sheep rearing

posted on 10th February 2022,

SHG women members in Gangavara village have started sheep rearing and thus they are empowering themselves with increased incomes in the process.

Livestock is considered a key asset for rural households. Under Rural Rising – an integrated rural development program of United Way Bengaluru, sheep rearing activities have been started as a source of income generation and self-employment for women in the Gangavara village at Devanahalli, Bengaluru rural district of Karnataka, India.

With the support from United Way Bengaluru’s CSR partner, as many as 28 sheep have been distributed among 14 women beneficiaries during 2020-2021 as part of the integrated rural development program.


Sheep rearing is a sustainable livelihood option for rural communities. Shashikala*, one of the beneficiaries shares about the benefits of this intervention that has benefitted her and others members of the SHG she is associated with. Though Shashikala is a tailor and supports her family primarily from her tailoring business, livestock rearing provides a constant flow of additional income for her and reduces the vulnerability of during the less profitable season?

According to Shashikala, six other members of the Kaveri Shree Shakti SHG who have been provided with sheep have been also benefitted as sheep rearing offers an opportunity for augmenting their income, especially during lean seasons. It is advantageous especially for women who often have no source of income and have the desire to help their families in some or the other way.

Unlike many other income generation activities, sheep rearing does not require capital investment, resources and does not demand very specialized skills. It requires only part-time involvement of the beneficiary and provides a very stable additional income source.

Shashikala mentioned that United Way Bengaluru’s support has been beyond just giving sheep to the beneficiaries. UWBe organized training for beneficiaries who learned about productivity enhancement activities such as better feeds, vaccinations, de-worming, hygienic shelters, and marketing from veterinarians and experts.” Training helped us not only to provide preventive veterinarian services but also to take charge for sheep rearing by being more informed from day one.”, said Shashikala.

Sheep rearing is a sustainable livelihood opportunity as its maintenance is easy and there is the availability of ready-made market round the year.”, said Shashikala.


As per the intervention, two pregnant sheep are given to the beneficiaries. As per the project terms and conditions, beneficiaries cannot sell the offsprings until they turn two. On average a beneficiary can earn up to Rs 10, 000 -12, 000 by selling a sheep.

"This engagement has kept me and other ladies away from wasting time. Women in the village often spend their leisure hours visiting houses and engaging in unnecessary gossip. There is now no time for it and we are busy looking after our ruminants, preparing their feed and feeding them.”


Like Shashikala, other women beneficiaries shared feeling empowered and self-worthy, as they see this as an opportunity to make significant financial contributions to their family needs. The potential of livestock rearing to empower poor communities, especially women beneficiaries is tremendous. Women from Gangavara are happy to be able to support their families financially when in crisis, with the income from sheep rearing.

*Names changed for privacy

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