Raising chickens to improve children's nutrition
For awhile, it seemed to Blanca as though her one-year-old daughter was always sick. She did her best to provide for her three children, but the signs could be no clearer: her youngest as well as her two other children were unmistakably undernourished.
Today, Blanca’s three children have a much brighter future thanks to a project supported by Plan USA donors. They are among 289 families in El Salvador benefiting from a poultry-raising project geared at improving the nutrition of children through home-based production of meat and eggs.
When asked about her participation in the project and what it meant to her, Blanca did not hesitate: “I live in Agua Fria community. I started to help the community thinking of my children. Miss Cira, who is my neighbor, invited me and now I’m happy to participate in this. I was selected by the members . . . because I have a one-year-old girl who got sick very often. I’m making an effort to move forward with the project because I believe it will help me.”
Each aspect of the project was designed to help ensure the success of the program:
- In addition to receiving the poultry, families also received assistance constructing coops for breeding and raising the birds.
- Participants attended a comprehensive two-week training to learn about the treatment and handling of the poultry; prevention, detection and treatment of diseases; hygiene and care; and feeding and nutritional requirements.
- All poultry received vaccinations and the communities received a supply of vaccines for the most common diseases.
- “Replication sessions” after the initial trainings helped verify the families’ understanding of the trainings, their skill at carrying out the lessons, and their ability to pass on their knowledge to other families.
In the words of Blanca, "I think this is a great opportunity to learn how to raise chickens. If we give them the care they need we will get more eggs to feed our children and we will have the chance to have more birds to sell. All of this will improve the nutrition of our children and they will be healthier.”
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