In recent months, the Ouarkhokh poultry cooperative sold about 80 percent of their chickens to families in their village, and the remaining 20 percent to people in other communities.
In the CREATE! partner community of Ouarkhokh, there are now 12 households that have their own poultry sheds. Seven of these are owned by CREATE! cooperative members, who learned how to raise poultry through CREATE! training and shared this knowledge with their neighbors. Even with all of this chicken available, demand (and prices) for poultry remain high in Ouarkhokh and surrounding villages. Some young men have even returned from the city to earn a living by raising and selling chickens in Ouarkhokh.
Using the skills that she learned from CREATE! field technicians, Mere Awa Top, 45, has built her own poultry shed at her home. In addition to the income that she earns through her participation in the cooperative poultry project, she is also selling her own chickens for extra income. She says, “My children now frequently eat chicken and I earn a lot of money.”
Mere Awa Top says, “CREATE! has helped me earn money and save it in our community Voluntary Savings and Lending Association (VSLA).
Each morning, Mere Top gets up early to complete her housework before working in Ouarkhokh’s cooperative garden site. In the afternoons, she sells vegetables in the village’s market. Mere Top says that she decided to participate in CREATE! training programs because they offered an opportunity for her to learn how to meet her needs and have an occupation. She also believes that participating in CREATE! training programs has brought the women of Ouarkhokh together. She says, “We used to stay at home but now we gather everyday to work together in the garden site.”
Mere Top thinks that CREATE! programs have increased Ouarkhokh’s self-sufficiency, She says, “Before CREATE!, women in our community traveled to Dahra or Linguere (each between 10 and 15 miles away) to purchase vegetables. Now that we have a garden in Ouarkhokh, we no longer need to depend on other communities. Many people know about our project here and they now come here to buy chickens and vegetables.”
Teningue says, “With the help of CREATE! technicians, I am able to raise chickens at home because I have the knowledge I need to do so.”
Meet Teningue Faye, a 21-year old cooperative member in the community of Gagnick Mack. Unusually for rural Senegal, Teningue does not live in a large multi-generational family compound but instead lives in a small house with her husband and three children. Her husband grows millet, peanuts, beans, and corn during the rainy season but does not have work the rest of the year. Although Teningue manages all of her housework alone, she still finds time to work in the village’s cooperative garden.
Teningue says, “I decided to participate in CREATE!’s programs because I felt that training from CREATE! was the only way for me to change my life.” She adds, “CREATE! gave me an occupation. I can know grow a variety of fresh vegetables and raise chickens to feed my children.”
Teningue has noticed a lot of changes in Gagnick Mack since CREATE! partnered with the community two years ago and believes that training in poultry production has been the most beneficial. She says, “I have noticed an improvement in health in Gagnick Mack. Now, everyone can get chicken and it is very nutritious. We also earn a lot of money from selling chickens in the village.”
Of CREATE!’s improved cookstoves, Teningue says: “The cookstove is good for me. Instead of walking many miles to collect firewood, I can now cook lunch with just two small pieces of wood.”
Ndeye Amy Diop says, “CREATE!’s programs have changed my community because now we have the skills we need to be self-sufficient forever.”
Ndeye Amy Diop, 21, lives with her in-laws in the small community of Walo while her husband is off working in Dakar. She started participating in CREATE! training programs about two years ago because she wanted to support her family. Ndeye says that before CREATE! started working in Walo, “the village didn’t have a market and we couldn’t find any vegetables. Now, we have created a small market where we sell vegetables that we grow in the garden site.”
CREATE!’s partnership with Walo has improved access to healthy food and food security in the community. Ndeye says, “My family eats fresh vegetables that I grow myself and I no longer need to walk long distances to buy healthy food.” She also appreciates the benefits of poultry raising in Walo. “Years ago it was very difficult to find chicken in the village but now thanks to our poultry shed we are able to eat chicken frequently.”
Ndeye adds, “My life has changed thanks to CREATE! because now I’m able to work in my village and earn money to solve my problems.”
Ndeye enjoys cooking with her improved cookstove. She says, “Collecting firewood for cooking is now easy because the improved cookstove only requires a few pieces of wood to cook a meal.”
Growing chickens require consistent, diligent care. Cooperative members visit their poultry sheds to check on chicks multiple times each day.
In recent months, CREATE! field technicians worked with community volunteers in Walo, Gagnick Mack, and Darou Diadji to help them build their own poultry sheds. After receiving training in the care, management, and marketing of poultry from CREATE! field technicians, cooperatives in all three communities purchased flocks of 100 chicks to install in their sheds. The cooperatives in Walo and Gagnick Mack timed the sale of their first flocks of chickens to coincide with Eid al-Fitr (Korité) celebrations in early July. The poultry cooperative in Darou Diadji will sell their chickens later in the month.
Well-constructed poultry sheds can withstand heavy rain, punishing heat, and incursions from curious (and hungry) animals.
With knowledge and support from CREATE!, women in these communities will be able to supplement their families’ diets with this important protein source and sell poultry for profit in local markets. Poultry production brings numerous economic benefits to women in CREATE!’s partner communities. Selling poultry is very profitable and women are able to reinvest their earnings into the next round of poultry production. In several of CREATE!’s partner communities, poultry cooperative members have built a local market for their chickens by providing consistent and easy access to high-quality meat for their neighbors and friends.
Ndioba says, “Thanks to CREATE! I have the ability to work to support my family right here in Walo.”
Ndioba Ndiaye of Walo is a member of her village’s new poultry cooperative. She says, “We have just started to raise chickens in Walo. This is a new experience for our community and it will bring many benefits.” Ndioba says that she didn’t hesitate to participate in this new income generating opportunity because she “likes working” and wanted to contribute to the development of Walo.