Goat Face Illustration

Sangeeta Devi is telling Yasmin Sultana, her village’s goat nurse, how she negotiated the price for her two male goats. “I told the goat trader very clearly that I had weighed my goats yesterday and knew that my goats together weighed 44 kilograms and that the fair market value was 11,500 rupees ($177 USD),” she says excitedly.

Earlier Sangeeta had been offered just 7,000 rupees for both goats. Yasmin had advised her she should accept no less than 11,000 rupees, so she turned down the initial offer. Saying no is not easy in this context. But Sangeeta is a member of Project Mesha, the women’s goat rearing group run by the Aga Khan Foundation and supported by the Gates Foundation that helps get their animals to the market. Ensuring their goats are healthy is an important responsibility for members. They regularly ask Yasmin Sultana, their village pashu sakhi (or “friend of the animals”) for advice on goat health, vaccination, deworming, and other services. In her regular visits, Yasmin examines the goats so that the women can track their health and detect any problems

Sangeeta Didi with goat

Using a simple scale, Yasmin weighs the goat and recommends that the women note the weight. Before selling goats to the chiks—local (male) goat traders who often avoid weighing the goats so they can make lower offers based on rough estimates—Yasmin helps the women weigh their goats so that they approach negotiations armed with facts and good marketing information. The women become more confident in negotiations, and more able to secure fair prices, getting a better return on their investments.This, in turn, provides women with a level of financial independence and empowerment. And as research shows, when women control their own finances, they spend it on things that improve the quality of life for their family.


Bill Gates highlights the Pashu Sakhis
as his ‘heroes in the field’

Institutional Partners

At AKF, we partner with incredible institutions to improve quality of life around the world. This story highlights just one example: the success of our partnership with the Gates Foundation. A selection of key institutions who invest in and contribute to the impact of our programs include:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • OPIC
  • World Bank Group

See all of our valued supporters here.