In the Kasekenya Village of the Pallisa District of Uganda live an outstanding group of women known as the Ababiti-bantu Women’s Group. Many of these women are living with HIV, disabilities, or have children with disability. In 2003, they decided to come together to collectively improve their lives. When living with an illness or disability, having a stable support group in one’s community becomes crucial for mental well being.
In 2012, the women discovered a Ugandan organisation called the Gender Integrated Development Program (GIDP). The mission of GIDP is to “provide capacity building services to enable marginalized groups to articulate their mutual concerns and demands, and promote their productivity sustainably for better and equitable livelihoods and self-help.” There is also a focus on aiding people living with HIV.
The Ababiti-bantu women approached GIDP for support in earning a livelihood and both groups decided that poultry keeping would work best for them due to its simplicity and their prior experiences with free-range poultry. After this assessment, GIDP enlisted the financial support of the African Women’s Development Fund based on these needs.
AWDF agreed to fund this project and GIDP received the necessary grant. Amina Nabusigo, the group’s treasurer, readily donated land on which a coop could be built. After its construction, twenty-three of the thirty-two members were trained in poultry rearing at a two-day training workshop. Then, the women were given 300 chicks, feed and medication for the animals.
The group divided into three teams that take turns in managing the poultry farm. They even created a seven-person management committee that oversees the entire project. . The farms were set up in September 2012 and the chicks started laying eggs in March 2013. As a result, the women have acquired poultry rearing and business management skills, which they use in managing the projects and are applying to their individual endeavors as well. Many of the women have even started breeding chicks in their homes applying the knowledge and skills gained.
The poultry project has given the women confidence, visibility and respect in their communities. Hotels in the outlying areas buy their eggs on a cash basis through negotiations entirely initiated by the women without the help of GIDP. They are effectively managing their sales and have adopted good saving habits because egg are always banked immediately.
A good perk is that every two weeks the group members get eggs to
supplement their own diets. The project is slowly building up capital, but not so much that sharing of profits has begun. The women appreciate the eggs they get and look forward to building the capital to the level that profit sharing can start. Since March 2013 the group has collected and sold 86 crates of eggs at 8,600 Ugandan shillings ($3.5) a crate..
This poultry project has really worked wonders in creating a more unified group of women who feel empowered by their ability to run a successful business. Some of the group members’ husbands are so happy with the results of the venture that they sometimes help out at the poultry house!
AWDF is so proud to have been able to be a part of this story.