Poultry farming project in Kakuma is giving refugees more economic freedomA pilot project with chicken breeding in Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya aims to give participants economic freedom so they can better control their future. 35 year old Jacob Kilozo has high hopes of the project as it will enable them to improve their livelihood.
The project is just about chickens, but for the participants, it has the promise to become life changing. With the support of the Danish development aid, DANIDA, the Danish Refugee Council has introduced a pilot project with chickens in Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya.
The population of Kakuma is 185,000 individuals, mostly from South Sudan. Refugees have very limited opportunities for employment or a livelihood. This is where the chickens come in to the picture.
"We have very big hopes for this project. Soon the chickens will start giving us eggs that we can sell. And hopefully soon more chickens will arrive, which we can also sell, both here in the camp and outside of it," 35 year old Jacob Kilozo says.
He is wearing a bright red t-shirt with the words 'Graduation 2016' written on it. He has just completed a business training class offered by the Danish Refugee Council and is now using the acquired skills to plan the future of the chicken business.
Three months ago, Jacob, and nine other residents of Kakuma were given 33 chicklets, chicken feed and vitamins, and a coop by the Danish Refugee Council. Since then three chickens have died, but the rest have grown big and are now ready to lay eggs. The chicken group will now also be given an incubator, which will help bring more chickens into life.
But the project also requires that the group members invest in it themselves. For the last couple of months, they have been required to provide the feed and vitamins for the chickens. This is not always easy, as income for the refugees is limited; they live mostly off food distributions and small income they earn from day labor jobs. The group members are very happy that the chickens are finally grown.
Hopes to be able to buy lotion and dresses
Another one of the group members is 38 year old Kabariza Musha Yuma. She is raising her six children on her own and her only income is from bringing water to construction workers in the camp.
"When we will be able to sell chickens, it will completely change my life. Just having eggs for my family to eat will improve our lives greatly," Kabariza says.
"Right now my children go to school without shoes. When we start making a little money I will be able to buy shoes for my children."
Two of Kabariza's six children are teenage daughters aged 14 and 16. At the moment she is very worried about them.
"Right now I can't give them the things they wish for. They would like lotion for their skin and new dresses. If I can't buy these things, I fear that they will find boys who promise these things to them, and they will end up becoming pregnant."
But the chickens have given both Kabariza and her family new hope for a better future.
"My children know that I work with the chickens. This has reassured them, because now they know that I can take care of them," she says.
The poultry project is a pilot project in Kakuma IV - one of the five parts of the Kakuma camp. Danish Refugee Council is planning to expand the project in the coming years, so more groups can start chicken businesses. It is also the plan that the existing groups will help new groups get started.