Hatching Hope: How Raising Chickens Transforms Communities
Malnutrition affects 52 million children around the world and, according to Dr. Francesco Branca of the World Health Organization, is considered the main cause of death and disease. One group tackling this issue is Heifer International, a non-governmental organization based out of the United States that combats global poverty and malnutrition. It does this by promoting sustainable development and supporting rural farmers. Heifer International is also known for its charitable model in which a farming family receives a female cow, with the expectation that they will give the first-born calf to another family in need.
Starting in 1944 with the delivery of 17 heifers to Puerto Rico, Heifer International has since helped lift more than 34 million families out of poverty. There are now many more projects that have been launched by Heifer International, including Hatching Hope. This particular program aims to improve the nutrition and livelihood of 100 million people by 2030 through sustainable poultry farming.
Practical Solutions to Poverty
According to the organization, raising chickens is among the most practical ways for families to be lifted out of poverty. Hatching Hope provides funding for the construction of coops so that chickens can live safely and produce healthy eggs. It also gives vaccinations for chicken in order to protect the flock and ensure its longevity.
On the ground, Hatching Hope is providing quality and affordable chicken feed so that both the chickens themselves, as well as the eggs they are laying, are healthy. For example, take the work Heifer International has done in India with the help of Cargill, an international food corporation. Experts ran nutritional analysis tests on ingredients commonly present in Indian farmers’ chicken feed. With the information they found, Cargill came up with a recipe that would provide the chickens with the best nutritional value available.
Women’s empowerment is another benefit to raising chickens that Hatching Hope promotes. In developing countries, many women are without work and depend on their male counterparts for financial security. Through raising chickens, women are given the means to provide for themselves so that they can become self-reliant.
In Mexico, Hatching Hope is focused on communities in rural regions to bolster poultry production. It hopes to increase the size of chicken farms, and similar to India, create more nutritious diets for the animals. In turn, this will help malnourished Mexicans meet the recommended daily values for protein intake.
Hatching Hope is active in three countries, the last of which is Kenya, where the population and demand for food are both growing quickly. Connecting farmers to new markets is another part of Heifer International’s approach. It pushes for a shift toward farmers within Kenya’s markets, which has the potential to connect 6,000 new households.
Hatching Hope is contributing to seven of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In India, Heifer International has supported more than 750,000 families through technical training and building resilience. It has provided assistance to 366,000 families through the promotion of poultry farming in Mexico.
All around the developing world, Hatching Hope is making a difference. Heifer International’s work is promoting sustainability in farming communities, providing better nutrition for both chickens and people, granting women self-reliance and more. Moving forward, Hatching Hope intends to continue chipping away at global malnutrition and seeking its goal of improving 100 million lives by 2030.
– Evan Driscoll