At the beginning of this year, Losina Evarist Elias was discouraged. Her family was struggling to afford three meals a day. They didn’t have enough money to meet their basic needs, and didn’t even have enough clothing for all nine people in her household.
Their plot of land wasn’t yielding enough, and the wages that they earned from seasonal labor couldn’t cover all of their needs. Losina had tried to raise chickens before as a way to earn an income for her family, but her flocks kept dying in large numbers. She had a feeling that raising chickens just wasn’t a way that anyone could make enough money to care for a family.
We’re thrilled to say that Losina has changed her mind. In March, she joined a CWS program that is helping more than 1,000 farmers in Kasulu district, Tanzania, raise either chickens or pigs. She went to classes and attended workshops on a range of topics relating to raising chickens. Little by little, her discouragement was replaced with hope.
“I always believed that building a chicken shelter was expensive and would consume a lot of my money,” Losina says. During the program, though, she learned how to construct a chicken coop using locally-available resources. Then she put what she learned into action. “I collected bamboo not far from here to build the shelter, and used old, rusty metal sheets for the roof,” she explains. Now she has a chicken coop to protect her flock.
The larger issue, of course, was the diseases that had wiped out her flocks before. Newcastle, fowl pox, botulism and others kill chickens quickly and in large numbers. Losina and her husband had felt helpless to stop outbreaks before when they started. “Chickens were dying in large numbers because of diseases, and I didn’t know what to do,” she explains. “Now I learned how to vaccinate chickens and prevent chicken diseases.”
Armed with this new information, and about to receive three chickens to get her started, Losina is willing to try again. And this time she expects a much different result. “I am grateful to CWS for bringing this project to us as we had the opportunity to learn. Through the training, I will be able to produce in surplus and that will help us to solve several challenges facing my family,” she says.