What you need to know:
- Lindah Kemboi has encouraged women to ignore the perception that some jobs are only meant for men.
- Challenges also about; she says that during rainy seasons, she gets stuck or fails to reach her clients.
When Lindah Kemboi, 27, from Poror village in Eldama Ravine enrolled at Kisii University in 2016 for a diploma in animal health and production, she knew her dream had come true.
Having been brought up in a family that practised livestock farming since childhood, she loved rearing and tending livestock. She graduated from the institution in 2018 and some months later, she secured a job at an agrovet in her locality for one year, making her more skilled in diagnosing and prescribing livestock diseases.
She later saw an advertisement at a cooperative society known as Baringo Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Union and she was lucky to be employed as an extension officer. The employment, according to the mother of one, however, came with some challenges – each extension officer was provided with a motorcycle to help them traverse their areas of work with ease and she had no option but to learn the ropes.
“I was brought up in a family where livestock keeping was the main livelihood and, by extension, I loved attending to them, a move that also made me pursue a veterinary career,” Lindah says.
“After graduating from the university, I was hired at an agrovet in my village as an attendant for more than a year and it helped a lot to put into practice what I had learnt in school. Two years ago, I was lucky to be among three extension officers who were employed at a cooperative union, after a competitive interview, of course.”
Also read: For her love of animals, vet is on call
She was attached to Langas Cooperative Society where she is serving dozens of villages. “I mainly deal with dairy livestock and since then, I have traversed several villages treating livestock. I also have a programme on particular days where I mobilise and train farmers in animal health and production.”
Lindah’s day has no particular itinerary because she is usually on call in case of any emergency from farmers. “In normal circumstances, my day starts early in the morning if I have farmers to train, an activity that starts from 8am to 5pm, depending on the programme that comes once or twice a week. Treating livestock, however, has no particular time because you may even be called at night by a client to attend to sick livestock,” says Lindah, who is also nursing a child with a health condition.
When Nation.Africa caught up with her on Kongi farm in Poror village, she was busy training farmers, something she does with a lot of expertise. For her, despite being a woman, she believes that because that is her passion, she does it perfectly well.
“I have severally been called by farmers to go and attend to their sick livestock, with several being those having difficulty during delivery. Being a woman is not an exception, that is my work and I will do it diligently, no matter what time or how the place is. I am on call at any time.”
To reach her clients, she rides her motorcycle. “When I was employed by the cooperative society as an extension officer, it was mandatory that you learn to ride a motorcycle to ease traversing the far-flung villages. I could not lose getting employed just because of such a skill, I took the motorcycle and in two weeks, I hit the road. For me, it’s fun,” she told Nation.Africa.
Her work also comes with challenges. “I am a woman and patriarchal issues are so rife in my community. Some professions are perceived to be for men only and not for women, like being a vet. I remember when I started doing it, some people thought that because I am a woman, I could not manage to even hold and inject a cow, but with time, they realised I can do it perfectly, even better than those men,” Lindah says.
“When locals also saw me riding a motorcycle and traversing far-flung villages, they were so amused and some wondered why I could subject myself to so much ‘suffering’ instead of just being in the kitchen like my fellow women. Some also wondered how I could cope with waking up early or at night to attend to a client.”
Nowadays, she gets so many calls from clients, and that calls for diligence. “I feel so discouraged when livestock die of sickness when I could help. Whenever I treat them, I do so with enthusiasm because I know many farmers rely on them as a main source of livelihood, and I would not want them to go at a loss.”
She also says that during rainy seasons, it is challenging to traverse some villages and most of the time she gets stuck or fails to reach her clients.
“Sometimes you get calls at night and if the place is far, it is risky; in that case, safety comes first. Sometimes you also attend to a client and he or she has no money, yet you are depending on that to buy drugs. Our cooperative, however, has an arrangement where their members can treat their livestock on credit then they deduct the cost at the end of the month through the wages of milk they deliver.”
She encourages women to ignore the perception that some jobs are only meant for men, saying that so long as they acquire requisite expertise, they can do anything that men do.
“This job is well-paying and through it, I can provide for my family. Women should not be ridiculed for doing some jobs that are perceived to be for men only. So long as you have the knowledge, do it and do it better,” Lindah says.
And on the effects of climate change, she encourages dairy farmers not to rely on rain-fed animal feed but instead store silage or hay.