“I had to work harder than any men in the district”

Press releases, 08.03.2017

Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates the International Women’s Day. Across the South Caucasus Region, we travelled to our women beneficiaries to listen to their stories about what it means to be a female entrepreneur, a farmer or a business woman in the rural areas of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Anna was honored with the regional “Female Hero” award

Anna Davtyan is a 40-year-old farmer who lives in Ishkhanasar village in the southern part of Armenia. She moved to Syunik region after having lived in Nagorno Karabakh for about 30 years. She used to have a big farm there. After leaving all that behind Anna had to start all over again.

Today, Anna has already built the house of her dreams, constructed barns for her new animals, and started her very own business. Already starting from 2009, Anna had participated in the trainings of the Livestock Development Project implemented by the Strategic Development Agency and funded by Switzerland.

“As I moved to Syunik, I started cattle breeding, while having only a couple of cows. Building a farm from scratch was hard. Thanks to the trainings I gained knowledge not only in the sphere of cattle breeding, but also in veterinary. In addition, I also started poultry. After attending the trainings I had a clear vision on how I was going to construct the barns for my cows, sheep and pigs. Animals need to be kept in good conditions in order to be healthy. I know how to take good care of them. Last year I was honored to receive the regional “Female Hero” award, on which an article was printed in the local newspaper. After all, my only dream is to further work on myself and improve my farming. I would love to visit a country with developed agriculture and gain knowledge on modern techniques.”

Afsana from Azerbaijan

Afsana knows how to take good care of her poultry ©SCO

32 year-old Afsana lives in the Fuzuli region of Azerbaijan. She was left by her husband when their two children were still very small. She says it was really difficult for her to carry this heavy burden. But she had to be strong, and her main priority was to survive with small kids. She started small–scale poultry farming. Her poultry farm was providing income from the sale of birds and eggs. It is already 6 years that Afsana has been engaged in this business and it is steadily growing.

In 2016, Afsana joined training on Financial Education and how to start and improve a business conducted by Finance and Social Innovation Consulting (FSIC) and funded by Switzerland.

“The training provided me with broad information about smart borrowing, income and expenses, and financial goals. Actually, after the training I started to go to the market only with the list of goods I should buy, as it was recommended at the training. I was never spending too much on children’s wishes, as I always had limited financial resources. But I had never thought how I could save even more. After the training, I also started to control my utility expenses, and to buy clothes and gifts only during sales season. As a result, I was able to avoid unnecessary expenses and save more. The savings allowed me to expand my poultry farm by buying more chickens. Moreover, I could buy 3 cows from the savings and the loan which I took to start the new business. I learned how to effectively run and expand the business. I learned how to calculate monthly and annual income and expenditure. I understand that if I want to achieve something, I need to identify my financial goal first and then go towards that goal.”

Eka – a veterinary and entrepreneur from Georgia

Eka proudly shows us her veterinary service center ©SCO

„It wasn’t easy for me. I had to work hard, harder than any men in the district to prove that I can be a professional and I can take a risk just like men can do. Being a veterinary for a woman is not prestigious, they would say. Is it so? Does the profession have a gender? I never agreed.”

Eka Buzariashvili was 38 years old when we first met her. A wife and a mother of three children, she started as a veterinary in Sagarejo, Kakheti region. With limited equipment and resources, she heartily served all farmers, predominantly male farmers, in the district. Today, she is one of the most successful female veterinaries in the region and an owner of a veterinary service center rendering service to up to 30 farmers on a daily basis.

“Hard work, education, and dedication! I am not the smartest of all, but workaholic; and everything that I have achieved, it is through persistent work. I always strive for better”, Eka shares her secret.

The standardized veterinary service center has been established with the support of the “MOLI in Kakheti” project implemented by the Swiss NGO HEKS-EPER and funded by Switzerland. It is located in the center of Sagarejo and serves local farmers with high quality products. It also provides the most updated information on food, equipment and medicines. This is the only service center of its kind that provides on-call mobile services as well. But established farmers are not the only beneficiaries of Eka’s center. 3 students, 2 youngsters and a specialist of the vocational education college in Kachreti have been offered jobs at the veterinary service center.