Sustainable agriculture is crucial for countries experiencing food insecurity and malnutrition. Raising broiler chickens is becoming more popular in Swaziland as people try to find extra income amid the country’s growing economic challenges and high unemployment levels. There are two types of broiler chickens reared in Swaziland: indigenous chickens and white bird commercial broiler chickens. Broiler chicks are domesticated fowl, bred, and raised specifically for meat production.
Even though Swaziland is classified as a traditionally beef-eating country, per capita consumption of chicken has been gradually increasing as consumers switch from beef in response to significant price increases and other factors. (Broiler Chickens Market Inquiry Report – 2019)
Poultry Farming to the Rescue!
Hlalisile is an entrepreneur in Swaziland who made her living by baking and selling cupcakes outside schools. This helps her generate some income to pay for electricity and water. Hlalisile runs EMSENI (Place of Grace), a place of safety for children, funded monthly by small donations. She cares for seven children permanently and accommodates more children on an ad hoc basis. These children require food, clothing, and medical care. She also runs a pre-school and feeds the children who attend the school, even though their guardians cannot afford the meals. She used to breed indigenous chickens, but the turnover was slow.
Hlalisile realized that there was a demand for broiler chickens in her area. This generated a quicker turnover. These chickens needed more food, medicines, and protection from the intense heat than indigenous chickens in Swaziland but presented a faster source of income. In 2016, ImpactHope helped Hlalisile start a poultry project to supplement her income. This would provide funding to care for the orphans who lived with her and possibly help her manage the pre-school expenses. Over the next three years, Hlalisile successfully expanded the project, and she could fund these efforts on her own!
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.
Perseverance in the face of Adversity
According to the Africa Centers for Disease Control, Swaziland has seen 1,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people — and 55 deaths per 100,000 people. But the population is just over a million people.
Swaziland faced numerous developmental challenges with stagnating poverty and economic growth. Sadly, a lockdown forced Hlalisile to stall her business. Schools were closed, and people could not afford to pay for her pre-school or baked goods. (voanews – 2020) People could no longer spend money on food the way they used to. Hlalisile started selling chickens to people on credit and waited for them to pay her back at the end of the month. The situation was so difficult that Hlalisile was advised to slaughter the chickens and keep them in the freezer instead of feeding the chickens for a longer period! A terrible heatwave killed some of the chickens, adding to her despair.
Hlalisile needed help to get back on her feet and restart the project. ImpactHope once again arranged for funding through the ‘Gifts of Hope’ campaign last year and designated funds for her poultry project.
She presently cares for seven orphans and continues to supplement her income by selling eggs, baked goods, and more. Her passion and industrious spirit have enabled her to persevere through these challenges!
Help Hlalisile get back on her Feet
Through Hlalisile’s loving care, the orphans are provided for and given hope for the future. She is an inspiration to all of us! You can help Hlalisile expand her poultry project. Sustainability is a critical component of every project for ImpactHope. Hlalisile is living proof that business and ministry can thrive together! If you would like to support Hlalsile in her endeavors, donate to ‘Where Most Needed’ with a note – Chicken Project.
Thank you for your generosity. You will be changing the lives of this family forever!