Farmers benefit from free chicks and training by county extension officers under the Inua Mama na Kuku Project
Ann Ngetich used to live from hand to mouth. The daily chores she engaged in barely made it possible for the family to survive in Eldoret, Uasin Gichu county. But her fortunes have since changed, courtesy of a poultry project started by the county government to empower women.
“I struggled to deliver food on the table for my children. Times were hard. But this has since changed,” says Ann. The chairlady and dedicated member of Mwangaza Women group in Kipkenyo reflects on life, saying: “Since this project begun, our lives have really changed. We are focused.
We no longer ask our husbands for money to buy household stuff since we are earning from poultry keeping,” she says. She is one of the women benefiting from the county government’s Inua Mama na Kuku Project.
Barely a year since the Uasin Gishu county government launched the initiative, the project has gained momentum and is now positively transforming women livelihoods across the county.
“We had many challenges before this programme came our rescue. We used to plant vegetables, but due to climate change that caused uncertain weather patterns, at times we didn’t even harvest anything. There were no markets too. We really thank the county government for this projects, we now have a life,” adds Ann.
Ann says on a bad day she is able to make sales of Sh3,000, up from Sh500 made from the previous daily chores. A common breed the women keep, which is also one of the major poultry products, which are currently commanding the Kenyan market, are the broilers.
These can be produced in efficient conditions within a short time. They typically mature fast but they also consume vast amounts of feed. Going forward, the project plans to embrace more organic poultry products in the form of the kienyeji (traditional breeds) chicken breeds.
“After I was trained by county agriculture and livestock officers through the Inua Mama na Kuku initiative I have benefited a lot. Sometimes I get Sh1,000 a day, which I use to pay school fees for my children and buy food for the family,” says Ann.
Dinah Chepkok, another member of the Mwangaza Women Group, says: “The county has provided us with a favourable market environment. My life has changed completely”.
Women say the initiative has positively impacted on their living standards. “Most of my colleagues no longer depend on their husbands to provide for basic household stuff as they are now financially empowered,” says Dinah.
According to County Livestock Production officer, Salina Katwa, the initiative was aimed at uplifting the living standards of households within the county as well as to boost food security.
She says plans are underway to increase the number of chicks to be given to each women group in a bid to expand the project. “We are planning to increase the number of chicks to be given per group from 100 to 300 when we roll out the second phase of this project,” says Katwa.
“Apart from giving out the chicks, we have trained 75 selected women groups to acquire skills on good husbandry,” she adds.. The sentiments are echoed by the Kapseret sub-county livestock production officer Josphat Kutto, who says following the success of the first phase, the county government has no alternative, but to increase the number of chicks to be given per group.
“Our governor is the initiator of this project and we urge women to come together and form more groups to enable them benefit from such initiatives,” says Kutto. Kapseret sub-county administrator, Philip Biwott, says the project has positively impacted on the lives of many families.
“Some women who used to brew illegal alcohol have joined groups and have had to reform after benefiting from the initiative. Governor Jackson Mandago says other farming projects in the county include Kijana na Acre initiative, where young people are roped into farming activities.