Training for Transformation

The Poultry Project: When Opportunity Meets Preparation, Great Things Happen!

The Poultry Project: When Opportunity Meets Preparation, Great Things Happen!
21-day-old chicks at the Poultry Project

Some say that 90 percent of all small businesses fail. What they don’t say is that the pain of rejection experienced by those courageous optimists is so deep and personal that many go on to other careers and never try again.

Moving on to another career is a luxury Felizarda Joaquim couldn’t afford when her once-in-a-lifetime successful chicken broiler business came to an abrupt end. In 2007 Felizarda had started out with 100 broiler chickens and within 45 days, she had 750. Irvine’s Zimbabwe, a broiler farm, was so impressed that they financed her business and within another 45 days she doubled the number of her broilers to 1,500.

“Those were the great days,” she says. With her husband working for Revista Tempo, an independent newspaper, her broiler business sustained the family. Suddenly, her funding was cut. She could not find a way to be sustainable. She couldn’t believe it; she was back to square one. Deep down, she knew that even though she was discouraged, she was not ready to throw in the towel.

That’s where the Poultry Project comes in. Created to assist the community in employment opportunities, particularly for women and youth through entrepreneurial development by United Methodist Women in Mozambique South Annual Conference, this project is training women and youth to develop their skills.

After more than ten years of unsuccessfully trying to receive funding from the government and other organizations, Felizarda Joaquim decided to take matters into her own hands. In 2019 at age 66, with a retired husband, no job, caring for two grandchildren and her disabled adult daughter, Felizarda dipped into the family savings and started a new broiler chicken project. So far, so good.

Felizarda found the Poultry Project and United Methodist Women. When she learned that her broiler chicken project was approved by United Methodist Women Mozambique, she volunteered to do whatever was needed. She saw all her past projects and failures as preparations for this moment. Falizarda assisted in building the chicken coop, vaccinated the chickens, identified broiler companies, and made sure companies received their broiler chickens.

Felizarda currently has 800 broiler chickens of her own and she works very closely with Adelina Chilundo, UMW Mozambique South Annual Conference executive secretary, in running the broiler chicken project. She is the bread winner for her family and the project coordinator for the Southern Annual Conference.

Because of her hard work, together with the executive secretary of United Methodist Women in Mozambique, the project will probably sell 1,500 broilers this summer. The proceeds will go directly to United Methodist Women Mozambique.

Future of the project

Along with the experienced technical team from the Annual Conference, the plan is to add more chicken coops and make this project grow and help more women and youth. In the future, the project will provide food security. Chicken farmers will be able to take care of their homes, buy school materials for their families and balance their nutrition.

Because of COVID-19, the project is experiencing many challenges, but the women are determined to continue their work. The project aims to encourage women and youth to be financially independent and supports them in their small businesses.

More farmers and new technology will improve the productivity and ways of raising chickens. The Poultry Project is a collaboration between United Methodist Women and Shared Interest aimed at improving rural structures and infrastructure. Recent new recruits include three women and one youth.

This project was once a dream, but is now a reality.

God moved people from outside Mozambique to help. From this project, women and youth have decent work to uplift their lives.

To God be the Glory.

Adelina Chilundo is the Executive Secretary of United Methodist Women in the Mozambique South Annual Conference.

Posted or updated: 7/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

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*Training for Transformation

United Methodist Women Economic Development Initiative (EDI) creates economic opportunities even in the most vulnerable rural communities. The seed grants support women entrepreneurs to start and run viable small enterprises, agribusinesses and income-generating activities. The opportunities that these small grants create for women, their families and communities are powerful catalysts, especially during COVID-19 when the economic situation is becoming more and more insecure.