B. Agriculture: Community Livestock Development Project (Nepal)

(NB: To read more about gender, agriculture and CCA, see Sectoral Module A.)

Project Name:

Community Livestock Development Project (CLDP)





Implementing Organizations:

  • Primary Executing Agency: Government of Nepal
    Department of Livestock Services (DLS)/
    Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC).
  • Management and Livestock Services Delivery: Five DLS regional directors overseeing District Livestock Services Offices (DLSOs) and NGOs at the district level.
  • Microfinance Executing Agency: The Rural Microfinance Development Center (RMDC)
  • Technical Support: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Funding Partners

Budget (US$):
33 million (ADB)/Asian Development Fund: $20 million, Government: $5 million, RMDC: $6.5 million, beneficiaries: $1.5 million

: 2003–2011

Project Objectives
: (Source: ADB 2011b)

Reducing poverty in a gender-inclusive and socially equitable manner through the livestock sector:

  • Improved food security
  • Improved nutrition
  • Increased incomes
  • Increased livestock-related employment.

Notable Gender-Related Activities and Processes: (Source: ADB 2010c)

  • Strengthened the institutional capacity of DLS through the provision of a gender consultant for the 6-year project period
  • Mandated 35 percent women’s participation in mixed farmer groups, and in beneficiary-level training activities
  • Required all training activities to have a session on gender issues, in addition to specific gender capacity-building activities
  • Recruited at least 35 percent women community livestock assistants to ensure larger outreach and benefits to women farmers
  • Improved women’s access to technology and extension by directing such training to at least 35–50 percent women
  • Stipulated at least 35 percent women’s representation in umbrella ward-level farmer coordination committees and similar executive committees
  • Promoted one model woman entrepreneur per project district to increase women’s participation in enterprise development
  • Ensured that at least 35 percent women beneficiaries were informed of project activities, including information on microfinance and lending modalities, and the proposed 15 livestock investment models
  • Strengthened linkages with the Department of Women Development to expand opportunities to farmer groups
  • Facilitated increased support for gender mainstreaming activities through the establishment of GFPs at the field to review progress made in addressing gender concerns
  • Required all data to be gender-disaggregated
  • Allocated budget for gender mainstreaming activities
  • Required NGO partners to have at least 50 percent women field staff
  • Gave special attention to increasing women’s resilience via non-formal education for business literacy, skills development, savings and credit, and participation in production and marketing activities.

Notable Gender-Related Results:
(Sources: ADB 2010c, 2011b)

  • Increased number of farmers groups that had at least 30 percent women members
  • Increased percentage of community livestock assistants (CLAs) that were women (58 percent)
  • Increased capacity built for understanding and addressing gender issues via gender-focused training (i.e., 4,781 farmers, 300 cooperatives, staff of 134 NGOs, 119 livestock enterprises, 50 CLAs, 317 DLS officers, and 2202 DLS junior executive staff;47 DLS officers involved in a national workshop on gender strategies)
  • Increased capacity building for understanding and addressing gender issues via management, leadership, and technical training (i.e., 200+ DLS officers, 280 key farmers, 55 feed millers)
  • Increased percentage of women seed growers (52 percent)
  • Increased percentage of women on farmer group committees (58 percent)
  • Increased access to farmer group-based livestock insurance security schemes (40 percent women in insurance groups)
  • Gender policy for the DLS was approved.


Asian Development Bank. 2003b. Report and recommendation of the President to the Board of Directors on a proposed loan to the Kingdom of Nepal for the community livestock development project. November 2003. ADB, Manila, the Philippines.

———. 2010c. Gender equality results – Case studies: Nepal. ADB, Manila, the Philippines.

———. 2011b. Completion report, NEP: Community livestock development project. ADB, Manila, the Philippines.

Calvosa, C., D. Chuluunbaatar, and K. Fara. 2009. Livestock and climate change. Livestock thematic papers: Tools for project design. IFAD, Rome.


T.N. 2008. FAO consulting services for the CLDP.
Cited in
: Mahul, O. 2009. Feasibility study for agricultural insurance in Nepal. Report No. 46521-NP. July 2009. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Geneva, and World Bank, Washington D.C.


  1. Introduction

Livestock are an important source of nutrition, power, and income for the 80 percent of the rural population of Nepal who depend upon agriculture as a primary livelihood source. Livestock also provide draft power, family food, and marketable commodities. Agriculture accounts for one third of Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product. In 2003, when the CLDP was being designed, livestock contributed 31 percent to the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (ADB 2011b). Dairy is the most important livestock activity, accounting for 62.7 percent of the total livestock sector contribution to AGDP, followed by meat (32.4 percent) and eggs (5.0 percent) (ADB 2003b). Various government development plans for agriculture and the entire economy emphasized the potential of the livestock sector to improve the nutritional and economic status of small and marginal farm families, if animal quality was upgraded, forage and feed production was promoted, and access to extension services and markets was improved. The plans envisaged a participatory modernization process that would in turn, boost the contribution of livestock to 45 percent of the AGDP (ADB 2011b).

Over 70 percent of Nepal’s women are engaged in livestock rearing. While they make many of the household decisions associated with livestock keeping, they lack sufficient status, negotiating skills, and social networks for effective marketing of livestock products. Although women took most of the responsibility for livestock production, they lacked property rights. Without these rights, they were unable to take loans because they could not meet loan collateral requirements. They were also not part of the priority lending agenda for commercial banks. Women involved with livestock management had a critical stake in obtaining services, supplies, and finance to sustain their efforts. For marketing, they needed greater access to membership benefits and leadership opportunities within farmer groups, umbrella organizations, and cooperatives (ADB 2003b).

The CLDP built upon lessons learned from three ADB livestock development projects implemented in Nepal between 1980 and 2003 (ADB 2003b). These projects covered 24 of the 75 districts of Nepal, but many poorer families did not benefit. The western districts received only limited ADB or other external assistance and these areas coincided with high activity areas for the civil war. The emphasis and geographic scope of the CLDP was intended to promote technologies that poor beneficiaries were able to adopt and support changes in the DLS to become a more facilitation- and output-oriented organization. There was a need for a greater emphasis on social mobilization and gender equality, including micro-credit for women. Past experience also suggested the importance of forming government partnerships with private sector enterprises, cooperatives, community-based organizations, and NGOs to establish and strengthen competitive agricultural livestock and crop value chains. The project was intended to benefit 164,000 families through “increased livestock productivity in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner, while strengthening the capacity of women and men to manage the development process”(ADB 2011b).

Besides a Project Management Services component with administration, procurement, reporting, and capacity-building functions, there were four fieldwork components (ibid.):

  • Community development and capacity building for a variety of actors, working through partner NGOs and assisted by government CLAs
  • Livestock productivity improvement (i.e., goats, buffalos, feed development, animal health services, microfinance and livestock mortality insurance in 22 districts of the Far-Western, Midwestern, and Western Development regions)
  • Livestock processing and marketing (i.e., meat and dairy processing, hygiene, marketing, and enterprise loans, consumer awareness, and education program in 21 districts of Mid-Western, Western, Central, and Eastern Development regions)
  • Livelihood pilot program in higher altitudes (i.e., baseline survey and participatory data collection, multi-sectoral planning, and pilot livelihood activities implementation in five districts in the Mid-Western and Far-Western development regions).

Although CCA was not considered when this project was designed, livestock are an important dimension of household livelihood resilience in Nepal and elsewhere. Any climate change that affects feed and fodder supplies, vector multiplication and animal health, and transportation conditions will have important impacts on family and national income (ibid.).

  1. Summary of Project

General description of proposal preparation

  • The Government of Nepal requested technical assistance and funding from the ADB to engage government staff and key stakeholders in a participatory process to design the CLDP.
  • Poverty analyses were used to select project districts. Factors included (1) the proportion of marginal and small farm holdings (weighted for rural population, and quality of land), (2) the proportion of ethnic and disadvantaged caste groups, (3) people in low-paying occupations and unpaid family workers, (4) literacy levels, and (5) lack of access to drinking water. The project design included 48 districts across all five development regions of the country. In addition, poverty mapping proved to be a useful tool to determine the beneficiaries and suitable ways to involve them in project activities (ibid.).

Gender integration during project design/formulation and proposal preparation

  • Covenants were added to the ADB loan to (1) ensure attention to gender and implementation of the project’s GAP in the loan agreement and (2) completion, within six month of the loan’s effective date, of the gender-disaggregated initial baseline physical and socioeconomic surveys, submission of a detailed implementation and monitoring plan, and annual reports for ADB review (ibid.).
  • Findings from a gender analysis (ADB 2003b) conducted prior to the loan agreement determined that:
  • Women have significant roles in the livestock subsector, particularly in day-to-day decisions about animal grazing, collection of water, fodder, and forest leaf-litter;watering the livestock;application of compost;and the use and home-based processing of livestock products. Their limited access to resources and decision-making power in livestock management are serious constraints to their involvement in livestock enterprises offering greater returns on their labor and, hence, higher income.
  • Women experience a heavy time burden with their productive and reproductive duties. Wood and fodder collection take considerable time;the project planned to help women grow forage plots next to their homes and free their time for other activities such as calf-rearing and commercial forage production.
  • Extension and training are often provided to men on the erroneous assumption that the message will trickle down to women. Consequently, livestock knowledge has been transferred inefficiently, or not at all, from husband to wife. The CLDP planned to increase the number of women in contact with extension services, increase gender sensitivity among policymakers and managers, and routinely measure gender impacts.
  • Women, particularly those from poorer households, lack access to finance for their livestock activities. With banks, women lack the required collateral, their literacy levels make it difficult to understand and negotiate the application process, and they are more constrained with respect to mobility options to travel to bank branches. Group guarantees and community-based service were more likely to be beneficial to women.
  • A GAP was part of the project loan and design document. It specified activities, features, and targets for women’s participation under each project component to help achieve gender-inclusive project outcomes. It specified an allocated budget for gender mainstreaming activities. Under the loan covenant, DLS agreed to recruit the services of a gender consultant from FAO for work with the DLS on organizational transformation, recruitment, and capacity building;service delivery;monitoring;and a gender policy over the project period. Both men and women GFPs were planned for central, regional, and district field levels. The project manager was intended to serve as the GFP and convene periodic focal point meetings. The project set a 35 percent target for women from among the 390 CLAs proposed for the project;the CLAs were identified by their communities and were expected to eventually become self-supporting via the sale of livestock improvement/para-veterinary services to the community.
  • For the NGO partners of the DLS who would be responsible for gender-sensitive social mobilization work, the project established selection criteria for partner NGOs to have at least 50% women field staff.
  • Specific community-based targets were set for client women’s participation and benefit distribution (i.e., raising women’s involvement as members in mixed-sex groups and various trainings to at least 35 percent) and logistical adaptations for meetings time, place, and delivery.
  • A women’s literacy training component was added in locations where a low level of literacy constrains livestock enterprise development.
  • The Project Steering Committee and the Implementation Coordination Committee were designed to include representatives from the Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare (ADB 2011b).

Gender integration during project implementation

  • The project deepened understanding of gender dimensions of project districts via district-specific, sex-disaggregated poverty, and social mapping and analyses in 27 districts, as well as baseline surveys, and set up a gender-disaggregated performance monitoring system (ADB 2010c). The project ensured that gender data were collected through all surveys and participatory rural appraisals for the high-altitude livelihood pilot component, including information on livelihoods, livestock production, and processing activities at high altitudes, and that both men and women were consulted (ibid.).
  • CLDP improved gender mainstreaming capacity and service practices of the DLS via 26 months of technical assistance from a gender and development specialist consultant, training staff at all levels, assignment of GFPs, recruitment of 50 percent women among the selected CLAs, and forming local partnerships with the Department of Women’s Development and NGOs with gender mainstreaming experience. The Department of Women’s Development at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare were also part of the Project Steering Committee, which was chaired by the Secretary of MOAC and also the Implementation Coordination Committee, which was chaired by the Director General of the DLS. The DLS also field tested two tools: the gender audit system and gender budgeting (ADB 2010c, 2011b).
  • The project built the capacity of client women in mixed-sex groups via technical, gender, and literacy training, and improved gender mainstreaming knowledge for men in these groups.
  • Logistical accommodations were made to improve women’s participation, particularly in technology-related training at district and regional centers far away from women’s homes and villages, by providing childcare facilities at training sites;more field-based trainings;and curriculum revision of technology-related training to suit less educated trainees (ADB 2010c).

Key gender-related results

  • Gender sensitivity knowledge and skills were strengthened at the DLS and microfinance institutions. DLS capacity was built through training for 93 field staff and 50 DLS officers on gender and development issues in the livestock sector;convening of a national workshop on gender policy with 50 officers;and assignment of GFP duties to 75 DLS staff at the central, regional, and district levels (ADB 2010c). The project also developed training manuals on livestock and gender mainstreaming that DLS continued to use in its regular program (ADB 2011b). The microfinance institutions undertook gender sensitization training and incorporated specific features to meet women’s financial needs (ibid.).
  • For the 134 NGOs signing partnership contracts, these organizations had a 55 percent proportion of women staff. These organizations provided services in social mobilization, awareness raising, and institutional capacity development of farmer groups. In total, the project trained 206 staff of partner NGOs and 50 staff of microfinance institutions on gender sensitization and other social and technical areas (ADB 2011b).
  • The DLS formalized its gender equality objectives, commitments, priorities, and responsibilities through the DLS Gender Strategy for the Livestock Sector, finalized in June 2009 (ADB 2010c).
  • The CLDP adopted a number of mechanisms to keep track of the distribution of benefits to different categories of men and women farmers, including (ADB 2003b):
  • A baseline survey
  • An information system to identify key information and indicators at the household, district, department, and ministry levels
  • A recording system for client and partner groups and organizations
  • A sex-disaggregated participatory M&E system that emphasized changes in poor men’s and women’s well-being (i.e., basic needs, assets, social indicators, and access to savings and credit) and set specific gender-related targets (Table 15)
  • Process monitoring via reports from CLAs
  • Periodic review workshops on project progress, by local livestock action teams, local authorities, and other stakeholders
  • Project progress reports will include sex-disaggregated data on project impact, outcomes, and output indicators in the design and monitoring framework, as well as ethnicity and caste disaggregation
  • Audit reports on NGO performance
  • Independent midterm evaluation of the project’s results, poverty impact ratios, NGO usefulness, and sustainability
  • Benefit M&E studies.

TABLE 15 CLDP Indicators and Targets

Indicators Target
Women’s participation in mixed farmer groups and beneficiary capacity-building activities 35%
Training activities which include a session on gender issues, in addition to specific gender capacity-building activities All
Percentage of female CLAs to ensure larger outreach and greater benefits to women farmers 50%
Percentage of women participants involved in technology training 35–50%
Percentage of involvement by women in 10,000-ha perennial forage coverage and fodder seed production 50%
Percentage of women among 1,500 contract seed growers 35%
Percentage of women training participants among 1,200 rural milk collectors for 30 urban communities 50%
Percentage of women loan recipients through RMDC’s 76 microfinance institutions 50%
Percentage women’s representation in umbrella ward-level farmer coordination committees, and similar executive committees of community associations and cooperatives 35% minimum
Percentage of women beneficiaries who are informed of project activities, including  information on credit and lending modalities, and the proposed 15 livestock investment models 50% minimum
No. of model women entrepreneurs per district to increase women’s participation in enterprise development One/district
Percentage of women field staff required for NGO and community-based organization project partners 50% minimum

According to project implementation reports, the CLDP made good progress in achieving targets for women’s participation and pursuing initiatives to reduce gender disparities (ADB 2010b):

  • Women’s representation met or exceeded expectations for the 32,394 farmer groups (62 percent women), cooperative membership (55 percent women and 16 women-only cooperatives out of a total of 54), livestock committee membership (64 percent women), contract seed growers (at least 60 percent women among 1,500 growers);micro-financing program participants (100 percent women), private para-veterinarians (31 women), and training workshops (40 percent women in meat hygiene awareness workshops) (ADB 2010c). At least one model woman entrepreneur was selected in each project district to promote women’s agro-processing and marketing enterprise, management, fodder tree and seed management, and cooperative management and leadership. Men became more accustomed to seeing women more as equals contributing to the economy, the family, and the community.
  • The positive project outcomes for rural women included:
  • Expanded technical capacity for women in entrepreneurship and other topics
  • Increased production, under the Livestock Productivity Improvement component, for goats, pigs, poultry, and forage, for 63,523 families (62 percent women), which were from disadvantaged castes, resource-poor ethnic groups, and former bonded laborers (ADB 2011b)
  • Increased hectares of land under improved perennial forage (i.e., 12,542 ha of community land and 300 ha of private land), which directly involved 58,149 farmers, of which 60 percent were women (ibid.)
  • Broadened income-generating opportunities for women from livestock rearing to employment, including nontraditional jobs such as butcher shops, processing and marketing milk, milk collectors, forage seed producers, work in meat shops, work as village animal health workers, and CLAs (ADB 2010c)
  • Increased access of women to financial services with 86 percent of the $23.6 million loaned by microfinance institutions going to 90,222 women for their livestock production and to 6,420 men for livestock marketing and processing enterprises, with 100 percent loan repayment performance (ADB 2011b)
  • Reduced drudgery for women from the plantings of fast-growing perennial forage species (e.g., fodder collection time of women to distant areas decreased by two to five hours per day and women)
  • Increased income for women to use on children’s education, family healthcare, and purchase of food (ADB 2010c).
  1. Conclusions


The Nepal CLDP demonstrates the opportunities for designing and implementing activities that support women’s various roles in the day-to-day tasks associated with the livestock value chain, particularly in the context of a pro-poor approach. Livestock are a key asset for poor households and they fulfill multiple economic, social, and risk management functions. Climate change is expected to heighten the vulnerability of households engaged in the livestock value chain, increase pressures on forage and water supplies, change grazing ecosystems, increase the spread of livestock diseases, and intensify conflicts over scarce resources. Losing livestock assets can lead to a household spiral into chronic poverty. For women, lack of land rights and tenure security;lack of access to information, technology, services, and finance;and lack of political power further increase their vulnerability to the risks to their livestock livelihoods from climate change. Accordingly, gender-sensitive strategies are needed to improve livestock management and increase resilience in a sustainable and socially equitable manner.

Strengths of the project’s design and implementation for advancing gender equality included:

  • Donor loan covenants that support specific gender mainstreaming actions or targets (e.g., gender expertise, gender-sensitive poverty mapping, and consultations at the community level during the design process and performance monitoring).
  • Developing a comprehensive GAP with specific activities, features, and targets for women’s participation under each project component and support for the development of a gender policy for the government implementing agency.
  • Seeking out gender expertise via partnerships (e.g., local NGOs, Department of Women Development and the gender consultant) and building internal gender mainstreaming capacity for the service delivery agency (ADB 2011b).
  • Delegating gender responsibilities and data collection from women to GFPs at the central, district, and village levels for GAP implementation (ADB 2010c).
  • Gender capacity building for project staff, NGO partner staff, and DLS leadership and field staff, including gender sessions in all topical training, gender-focused training, and a gender policy workshop (ibid.).
  • Establishing a results framework, performance management systems, indicators, and targets that require all data to be gender-disaggregated and ensured that field staff pay greater attention to gender mainstreaming.
  • Allocation of a specific budget for gender mainstreaming activities specified in the three-year GAPs in 22 livelihood project districts (ibid).
  • Establishing targets for women’s participation in training and other activities and set minimum eligibility criteria for groups to ensure that women were part of mixed-sex farmers groups (ibid.).
  • Adapting the project approaches and promoted practices and technologies to findings from gender data collection (e.g., using poverty mapping findings to shift to a greater emphasis on goat-breeding improvement program for women and disadvantaged groups, particularly in remote areas with no access to microfinance) (ADB 2010c, 2011b).
  • Bringing microfinance to more women using local microfinance intermediaries and a group guarantee system (ADB 2010c).
  • Increasing the visibility and value of women’s contributions to various links in the livestock value chain, as farmer groups and cooperative members, CLAs, private para-veterinarians, and training participants (ibid.).

Lessons learned and missed opportunities

  • Women’s participation in more sophisticated enterprise activities (e.g., commercial processing and marketing enterprises) needed to be linked to capacity building, institutional loans on a group guarantee basis, and better linkages with marketing institutions (ADB 2010c).
  • The project’s GAPs and disaggregated project performance monitoring system facilitated the project’s systematic, comprehensive, and coordinated approach to address gender issues. It combined institutional capacity building of the implementing agencies while mandating and enabling women’s participation at the community level in all project activities, including farmers groups, technical and leadership skills development, gender sensitization training, and enterprise development (ibid.).
  • The project’s performance monitoring system disaggregated data across different categories of men and women farmers and was possible due to baseline survey, which disaggregated by sex, caste, and ethnicity. All executing partners, including the farmers groups, were required to keep sex-disaggregated records (ibid.).
  • The project missed the opportunity to track women’s direct benefits and the impact of the project on women, including basic social indicators;empowerment indicators (i.e., economic changes, social networks and status, leadership changes);impacts of women’s gains on children’s well-being;and gender relations at the intra-household and community level (e.g., bargaining power, mobility restrictions, expenditures).