Following the inspection of chicken coops, it was time to bring the chicks home to Rwentojo.
This is always an exciting time. The chicks are two months old and at this age it is easy for anyone without prior experience of poultry farming to look after them.
For this round of the program, we reduced the number of participants and increased the number of chicks per participant.
The village Chairman was part of the house to house assessments to introduce us. He did a preselection of the women who are head of households in his village – most of them are widows but there are some who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or they’re alcoholics.
We are keen on investing in women in this part of the country as most have no assets that would enable them to generate income.
The next steps will involve monitoring the farms to ensure that the women are looking after the chicks properly as this has implications for how well develop into hens.
The women will receive training on how to vaccinate the chicks, book keeping and marketing.
Our next send a chicken program is focused on the village of Rwentojo in Itojo sub-county. The participants are mostly widows or single women with children. As well as providing hands on training on farm management we have provided the basics for coop construction
These photos are from our materials distribution session. Each woman received 5 iron sheets, 2 and 1/2 kg of nails, 11 metres of wire mesh and 50,000 UGX (£11.81) to contribute towards the cost of labour.
One of the lessons from phase 1 was that covering more than one village cell at a time was a strain on resources. For this reason, we are focusing on the village of Rwentojo. We will also have fewer participants and more chickens.
Our Project Managers worked with the village Chairman on identifying and interviewing. His preselected group included women who are head of households in his village such as widows as well as those who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or are alcoholics.
It was interesting to note that some women excluded themselves from the project because they felt they could not give it their full commitment, whilst some worried about being able to provide materials for constructing chicken coops.
Our Project Managers were surprised by some of the women’s reactions and had this to say,
For once, it was so refreshing in a way to realise that people are not just willing to take things for free just cause someone is offering them but instead they are already thinking of the challenges they may face. This shows: a higher level of commitment and willingness only to join if they believe they are capable of committing to the project and in this case taking good care of the chickens; that they’re not used to getting things for free; and that they do really need the help we will be providing them.
In fact, one of them has told us we should leave her out as she spends most of her time digging (for others) and collecting fibres and grasses to weave baskets… We tried to convince her but she told us she would not forgive herself if any of her chickens died…It is a real shame as she could really use the help!
About some of the interviewees
Jovlet, she’s a 46 year-old widow who works other people’s land to get an income. She has 6 children but 4 of them already dropped out of school as she could not afford to continue paying school fees for them.
Anna, she’s a 40 year old widow who has 3 children and makes her monthly income selling sugar canes in a small trading centre
Sylvia, a mother of 5 and one more on the way. She’s married but her husband spends most of the money he makes burning charcoal on alcohol especially a local gin called Waragi
Topista, a 50 year-old widow who lives with two of her grandchildren. She spends her days digging and collecting fibres and grass to weave baskets. She doesn’t think she will be able to join the project as she will not have enough time to take care of the chickens.
Mariserina, a 40 year-old widow, who has 3 children one of whom is disabled. She is a coffee farmer and uses the income to pay her children’s fees. She is also a casual labourer on other people’s farms.
Annett is a 43 year old widow and mother of 4. She is a labourer and sues that income to pay her her children’s fees. She’s very proud that at least one of them has completed P7. Unfortunately, she cannot afford to send her child to a secondary school so she will be starting to work as a labourer like her in order to support the family.
The first training session on Poultry Farm Management and Housing took place on Monday. some amongst the group were in for a shock. They arrived late for the meeting and fellow participants required them to pay a fine. The group has also decided to form a management committee that will coordinate their affairs.
Phase 2 is now well and truly underway. Keep an eye on this space for updates