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Three chickens were all it took to change a life

Miknos with his chickens.
Miknos with his chickens.
Miknos checking up on some community goats.PHOTOS: Plan staff
Miknos checking up on some community goats.

PHOTOS: Plan staff
October 15, 2010

Several years ago, Miknos Simanga received three chickens through a Plan livelihood program in his village in Zambia. Through the program, Miknos learned how to care for the chickens and boost their egg production, improving his family’s nutrition and generating income.

Within a few years he added pigeons, guinea fowl and turkeys to his small enterprise. Today, he is a well regarded animal care expert and one of 60,000 Plan volunteers worldwide.  


Pay it forward

Each week Miknos visits 125 farmers, traveling on a bicycle provided by Plan to help him efficiently treat the community’s livestock. Miknos spends about 70% of his time doing Plan work and says Plan’s commitment to helping his community inspires him to pay it forward.

“If people, through Plan, are kind enough to help us, then it’s worth the sacrifice to make sure their assistance makes a difference,” he says.

“Someone calls me if their chicken is sick or if they don’t know which seeds to plant. A sick goat might not seem urgent to you, but here it may equal the loss of a family’s entire livelihood. It is important business.”


The power of giving back

Miknos and volunteers from other communities meet each week to share what they’ve learned, continually building their knowledge. “If I’m able to send my children to school and my neighbors are not, this is not something to be proud of. I must help them achieve my level of success.”

For Miknos, success is his one-room mud hut, some poultry, a few cattle, a 20-year marriage with his wife Anasiasia and three children – all of whom attend school.

“To share what I have – my knowledge, my guidance, my support – this is just the right thing,” he explains.


 Chris Harding October 15, 2010 12:31 PM
All they need is a chance! Peter Singer: "If I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing." "If it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it" - Peter Singer, Utilitarian Ph
 RT November 1, 2010 3:25 PM
A view of a world we don't know!
 Jose Rojas November 3, 2010 2:42 PM
Giving seeds, water wells OR technical training is ok. Giving animals is less efficient and perpetuates animal abuse.
 kwyskiel November 28, 2010 8:05 PM
giving ANYTHING is ok. The animals provide milk,fabrics and food,we arent sending them dogs to kick around. MOST of them take very good care of their animals. children can be moved from malnutrition and poverty into health and success with a just a goat.
 S.Levron January 7, 2011 5:09 PM
Are you kidding me? Animal abuse? I hope that if you or your children are ever starving that someone is kinder to you than you are being right now. These animals provide food, clothing, and way to make a living for these unfortunate people. God put these animals here for the survival of his children... It doesn't take a genius to know that providing these animals is very important and a productive way of helping and being kind to someone.
 mandy Thody March 24, 2011 1:30 PM
to the presumably vegan commenter above - there are many parts of the world where soil will not support crops but goats and poultry manage quite well, this essential protein is needed by the people and traded to those with arable land also. Vegan is not a world wide option.
 Rose April 26, 2012 3:11 PM
This is not a place to speak negatively! These people need all the help they can get!
 Judy Robbins November 14, 2012 2:15 PM
I think it is wonderful that we can help people half-way across the world by providing chicks or a goat so they can have a healthy future. We couldn[t ship these gifts, so thanks to Plan USA they have them.Judy
 seyyidi taye December 15, 2012 7:12 PM
i want to my contribution phisical because this plan is the first organism i supporte well and i know that the program de go as them like