By Joseph Scott, Communications Officer- DCA Malawi
Case 1: Stroke patient find hope in chickens
Rose Chaula (below picture), 52, from Mzimba district in Malawi, suffered a stroke that left her right hand and leg disabled. Despite all the signs that she would not be able to use her arm and leg again, her husband felt there was still a chance for recovery and sold all their goats and chickens to pay for her medical bills.
“The animals were all we had,” says Rose from Chang’ombe village. “When we had no food, we could sell a goat or a chicken to buy maize but my illness forced us to sell the animals leaving us exposed to hunger,” she says.
LACTOSAN-SANOVO shines light in Rose Life
Early in June, Rose got news from her village development committee that almost made her cry with joy. Dan Church Aid (DCA), with funding from LACTOSAN-SANOVO, recently launched a chicken project for the poorest families in the area so that they can have somewhere to fall on during hard times.
The project, which is being implemented by DCA local partner, Christian Services Committee (CSC), identified Rose as one of its beneficiaries and she received 10 disease resistant chickens commonly known as Black Australorps, which are good egg-layers as well as a meat birds.
Training for the beneficiaries
Before the distribution of the Black Australorps chickens, CSC trained the beneficiaries in construction of modern chicken enclosures, identification of diseases and treatment and general hygiene in livestock farming.
“I was so happy when I finally received the chickens,” says Rose. “However, because of my disability, I was not able to help in construction of the enclosure but my husband got support from the community to have it ready by the time the chickens came,” she adds.
Hope for a better life
Rose now looks to the future with confidence as the chickens will start laying eggs in a few weeks. In her plans, she hope to sell some and the rest will be re-invested for nesting to grow her flock.
“I will sell some of the eggs to help my family and will also eat some of the chickens when they multiply because my body is now frail and need nutritious food,” she says adding, “I will also use some of the money from the egg sales to buy fertilizer for my field.”
When the chickens start laying eggs, Rose will, as part of spreading the project’s reach to the poor, give back 10 eggs which will be passed on to another vulnerable family in the area. The beneficiaries’ also contribute a minimal fee of MK50 for the drug revolving fund.
Case 2: ‘Early Christmas Gift for Hanock Shirita’ another chicken beneficiary
After being bedridden for close to two months due to tuberculosis, Hanock Shirita (below picture), 60, says nothing could have been sweeter than the news that he was going to be a beneficiary of the LACTOSAN-SANOVO funded chicken project in his area.
A worthy gift in times of need
“I had just recovered from my illness when I was told that I should attend a training in livestock farming as I was chosen to benefit from the chicken project,” says a visibly delighted Hanock, who is also the village chief.
After the training, Hanock was given 10 Black Austalorp chickens for egg and meat production and 5 local chickens that would be used for nesting the eggs.
“Since it’s a pass on project, we need to grow the flock so that others can also benefit from the initiative hence the reason why we are also going to produce chicks,” says Hanock.
Meat and eggs to fight malnutrition
With decreased food output due to poor rains, many children in the village have been suffering from diseases linked to malnutrition. And Hanock’s family also was affected, “My grandchild was recently ill from malnutrition but with the chickens, he will now have a better source of nutrition in the eggs and the meat,” he says.
A chance to earn extra income
Hanock also says the chicken venture will help him have some extra money to buy basics such as soap and to pay school fees after he sells eggs from his flock, “I have two children is secondary school who had dropped because in my illness I couldn’t manage to pay their fees. These chickens are my god sent gift to see them through with their education.”
He concludes, “This is a very good project. I see this village transforming in two to three years’ time as almost every household will have chickens. It’s now up to us to make sure that we make a contribution to keep our drug box full to protect our chickens from diseases.”
Case 3: LACTOSAN-SANOVO brings joy to disabled farmer
Its nearly noon and the sun is at its fiery best in Pakhati village. On the verandah of a small repair shop, that also is a house to Henry Shawa (below picture), 26, is a flock of healthy chickens picking on the left overs of the day’s lunch.
And watching closely is Henry, a beneficiary of the chicken project Dan Church Aid is implementing in the village with funding from LATOSAN-SANOVO. Henry, who was attacked by polio when he was a child, cannot walk but use his limbs for mobility.
However, his disability has not affected his life, “I was selected by the community to be part of the chicken project because they saw that I am a hard worker,” says Henry, who also earns his living by repairing radios and as a tinsmith.
Henry received 10 chickens and ever since the bond with his birds has grown making him to always keep an eye on them as he fears they will be killed by predators, “Every day I wake up in the morning to feed them,” he says.
“I have never owned so many chickens and I don’t want to lose any of them from sickness or predators, that’s why I always make sure that someone is watching over them when I am away.”
“For now, I just look to the future because I know if the chickens start laying, I will have some income through selling the eggs. I will also use some to feed my child so that she doesn’t become malnourished,” says henry whose wife has just delivered a bouncing baby boy.
• Price of 1 egg- MK70
• Price of 1 chicken- MK3,000
• Drug revolving fund monthly contribution by each farmer-MK50
• Well looked after Australorps lay approximately 250 light-brown eggs per year
• 100 farmers have benefitted from the LACTOSAN-SANOVO funded Chicken project