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THE CHICKEN PROJECT: CUBULCO

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Food security in Cubulco

In 2020, Alejandro and Kathryn Ortiz, members of Central Church, heard the call to serve God in Alejandro’s home in Guatemala. Answering the call, they moved their family to Cubulco, a small town in the mountains north of Guatemala City. Alejandro ministers to a congregation in the mountains outside town.

The Ortiz Family

The Chicken Project

In 2018, the Central Presbyterian Church participated in a Mission trip to Cubulco, Guatemala, to help a local church build 3 classrooms for Sunday school. At that time, the team saw the needs of the local people and implemented small chicken projects with three hens and four sq. meters of chicken wire. In July 2021, the Ortiz family returned to Cubulco to continue the church’s work and create new mission areas. Through ImpactHope (Mission Agency) and the Central Presbyterian Church, the Ortizes planned to restart the chicken project. Their vision was to bring hope and food security to low-income families.

How is the project being implemented?

A Guatemalan Christian agronomist Willy Urizar provides the necessary expertise. A work team called TENAMASTE helps with the chicken project. The name means ‘Wisdom and Coexistence’ in Aguacateco Mayan Language. Tenamaste aims to recover and promote endogenous agricultural production and empower women and their knowledge of Ethnoveterinary practices. The team consists of Guatemalan community developers who strive to work with indigenous people. They focus on facilitating appropriate agricultural methods using local resources specific to indigenous people.

Tenamaste has successfully promoted food sovereignty in Guatemala through 12 years of field experience with more than 170 organized community groups.

Did You Know?

Chickens have over 30 unique noises they can produce – all of which are used for different purposes. Their clucks and crows are used primarily to raise the alarm, usually for danger or food! The average chicken has a life expectancy of around 3 to 4 years due to its vulnerability to predators and diseases.

They can get up to 9mph for short bursts, but chickens’ real advantage comes in their agility – they can turn on a six-pence. This speed and agility help keep them safe from predators – or help them avoid us when we are trying to round them up back into their coop.

DEVELOPMENT OF KNOWLEDGE & LOCAL PRACTICES: TENAMASTE will redirect the local people’s knowledge in a more participatory manner.
In the process of making organic antibiotics and vitamins.
When the project is self-sustained, we expect that the group will sponsor a family or families in need and start the whole process of training with them.

Goals of the Project

To strengthen the food and economic conditions of the families of the target group, to develop alternative agricultural production and practices, and to learn more about God.

SPECIFICS:

  • Strengthen knowledge in raising Creole chickens.
  • Empower local techniques and practices by carrying out a process of endogenous livestock management.
  • Generate income to help the economy of the target families and share profit with those in need in their community.

Hopeful Egg-spectations for the Future!

The project’s donors would contribute tin metal roofs, meshes, and corn; the families would contribute their time, labour, and supplies for medicines; the technical team would train the group every three weeks and schedule the follow-ups. The goal is to do this project for six months at the start. Each beneficiary family could give three chickens to another needy family (known as a ‘chain pass’). In this way, the project would be a long-term initiative; and a way of showing love for other brothers and sisters from the surrounding communities.

Progress and Hope!

The first workshop training was conducted in October 2022, and 12 represented families attended the session. Two grandmothers, aged 87 and 72, participated in the group training. They were eager to learn more about heritage chickens. After the training session, a meeting was held to collect feedback about the workshop. Both ladies were motivated to start as soon as possible!

Willy shows the group how to mix all the ingredients to make the chicken food, which is essential to keep everything dry and ensure it doesn’t go rancid.
Toasting herbs to make remedies.
Cutting eucalyptus leaves as the base for cough syrup.

Whom will it Impact?

Families will practice an endogenous model of livestock production on a creole chicken. The initial plan was to ensure each family had access to at least 15 hens and one rooster and dedicate themselves to breeding creole chicken with local techniques and organic feed.

Initially, 12 families were included in the pilot project. Still, due to higher demand, Alejandro spoke to the group of 12 families to ask if they would agree to a reduction in the number of chickens per family. This way, more families could be included to benefit from the program. The group agreed, and each family received 13 chickens instead of 15. Twenty families are benefiting from the project. The program will continue with workshops in the New Year to keep the chicken project going.

To learn more about the methodology, click here.

Here are some snapshots of the workshops!

Support a Family Today!

We continue to focus on the chicken project as an initiative to combat hunger and contribute to food security for several families around Cubulco. The current global inflation also impacts the Guatemalan economy, and many families struggle to find something to eat every day.

The first phase of this project costs approximately $1000 per family. This project is in its initial stages, and there is a need for supplies like tin roofs, chicken wire, etc. Please click here if you would like to sponsor a family or support this project with any gift amount. Please mention ‘chicken project’ in the comments.

Bless a family, bless a community today!

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