Foundation for small aid projects in Africa
Author: Monica Commandeur
Ms. Phiri is a single elderly woman and a former nurse. She has two daughters and five granddaughters and her mother has only her to rely on. Her husband and two sons passed away years ago. In view of her retirement (in 2013), she developed her entrepreneurial skills: poultry breeding and house building for rental. Through the Musole Foundation, the project holder supports her commitment to continue generating an independent income, and also to be an example of entrepreneurship for other women in her neighbourhood.
The poultry farm initiative
Life is not easy for single women in Africa, especially for elderly single women. Reaching the “retirement age” is a particular challenge. They then lose work and income; while the “pension” payment (often in the form of a lump sum amount) can take years to receive. Ms. Phiri prepared herself for this after the advice of the regional agricultural consultancy service, by building a barn in her garden suitable for 2×50 fast-growing broilers.
However, it proved difficult to make a profit. Often the veterinary, feed and transport costs exceeded the revenues. And the consultancy service had largely overestimated local sales opportunities and prices.
Shift to traditional chicken
Through the project holder Ms. Phiri received support to adapt the back half of her stable into a stable with an outdoor run under a shading cloth, and suitable for breeding traditional chickens. Traditional chickens are more resilient, grow less quickly and sell for better prices.
A flock of 25 chickens and some roosters were purchased through contacts at Slow Food, Africa (Mr. Katebe & Mr. Ndashe or SF Zambia). The intention was to make this business adaptation also an example for the neighbours with similar problems with their “modern” broiler production.C
For a short while this business adaptation seemed an excellent find, but unfortunately the system soon proved very vulnerable to burglaries and thefts.
In particular, it was this proud rooster, which Mr. Ndashe had added to the flock, that had aroused the jealousy of the thieves. And after that first time, the thieves kept coming back, despite a series of security measures.
The outdoor run for the chickens takes up almost half of the garden. The other half uses Ms. Phiri mainly to grow some of her own vegetables.
Reorientation on the poultry farming business
To make the system sufficiently burglar-proof, the entire lot around the house must now be walled. The project holder has sent a contribution to the conversion of the plot through the Musole Foundation, but it has not yet been used, in other part because the prices of building materials have increased extremely since the outbreak of the CoVid19 epidemic (2020).
In the meantime, Ms. Phiri has done a reorientation on the purpose of her poultry farm. In the rear part of her housing system she now keeps a rooster and couple of young laying hens with the intention of producing hatching eggs for the sales of young chicks. An incubator has recently been installed in her neighbourhood as a facility. The idea is that laying hens are less attractive to thieves who are looking for easy to acquire and quickly sell slaughter animals.
Duplex house for rental
Ms. Phiri received her lump sum pension amount in mid-2018, five years after reaching retirement age. She invested all the money in the purchase of a plot near the city center, with the intention of building a duplex (semi-detached) house for the rental of 2 apartments.
Project: School Canteen in Fiadanana
Project: Income Generation Elderly
Project: Beyond Eye Pains
Project: Pension for the Housekeeper
Duration: 2005 (2001) – 2012
Project: Income for Aids Patient
Duration: 2004 – 2005
Project: Special Education
Duration: 2003 (2001) – 2007
The lump sum of pension money turned out to be less than enough for the completion of even one apartment. Over time, the construction was also repeatedly delayed – and obtaining (the right to) connection to the city’s electricity and water supply, proved to be a long-term obstacle. By mid-2020 there is still no habitable house; moreover, the whole plumbing has yet to start, while, in the meantime the building materials have become unprecedentedly expensive due to the CoVid19 pandemic. Since a while, Ms. Phiri suffers from insomnia.
Partly because poultry farming has so far been so unsuccessful, the project holder has in 2020 contributed to the completion of at least one of duplex apartments, through the Musole Foundation.
Photo’s: © Monica Commandeur (1,3) & © Cathryn Phiri (sidebar, 2,4,5,6,7)