Missionary in Haiti wants help starting a chicken program

The Kibble Goddess

Songster
11 Years
May 24, 2009
178
9
149
Sylvania, Ga
Unfortunately, she knows nothing about chickens. She has asked me to design a program for her to raise chickens and give laying hens and roos to locals to improve their diet and sell eggs in the market. Chickens are occasionally available in the market there for purchase for foundation stock. I have a thousand questions for her, but want to know if any of y'all have any experience with something like this.

All comments welcomed.
 

SoniaS

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
13
0
22
Sacramento, CA
I was in Haiti about a month ago for work (engineer). I noticed that all of the animals are very scrawny there. The tiniest chickens, goats, dogs and cats I've seen. The only fat animals are the hogs - I guess they really do eat anything. They don't seem to treat their animals with the same affection we do. Dogs are not cuddled. They are literally kicked around and if you tried to touch one the Haitians would probably think you are nuts.

I know I'm not much help:).
 

The Kibble Goddess

Songster
11 Years
May 24, 2009
178
9
149
Sylvania, Ga
Does anybody have a contact at Heifer? I've tried calling the home office, they weren't sure who to send me to, but they did give me a name. Unfortunately she's not answering her voice mail.
 

SoniaS

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
13
0
22
Sacramento, CA
Is your friend in urban port au prince or the countryside? There is not much vegetation in the urban areas and homes are tightly packed. Could make an already unsanitary situation even worse. Or is she located on some sort of compound and wants to create a coop there? Even in the nicer compound I was staying on there really wasn't a good area for chickens but the place next door did look to have a yard. Is she wanting to do something large scale or just for the immediate people she is working with?


Roosters I saw in Haiti:

http://i1080.photobucket.com/albums/j334/sschink/f5f3106b.jpg
 

The Kibble Goddess

Songster
11 Years
May 24, 2009
178
9
149
Sylvania, Ga
The mission is located in Mole St. Nicholas which is on the Northwest coast of Haiti. The areal is very rural, though this village has running water and trash pick up. Yes, the local stock looks like your photo of roosters. NWHCM, Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, envisions developing their own sustainable flock, educating a small number of residents on chicken care, helping them construct coops and yards, gifting them 10 hens and a rooster, and then following up with accountability.

Initially the mission assumed the residents knew about raising chickens and simply handed out chickens. One year and 600 chicken dinners later they realize it's time to back up and have a plan. I know this reflects poorly on the mission, but the mission is understaffed and the missionaries are young and got carried away by their enthusiasim for what is a good idea. I'm sure the residents enjoyed a good dinner, but we really need to make this into a sustainable long term program that can eventually be phased out because the initial need is satisfied.
 

SoniaS

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
13
0
22
Sacramento, CA
I don't think 600 chicken dinners reflects poorly on the mission. It's very difficult to get things done over there, and besides, that was 600 tasty chicken meals
smile.png
. The Haitians already have established cultures and it's not always easy to implement change, even if what we propose is clearly better. It is also a culture that is, unfortunately, used to handouts from the blan (foreigners).


I know this is basicly what you said, but here it is again:

1. Build a small coop at the missionary headquarters with maybe one missionary and one Haitian. Pick your Haitian well - someone smart, communicative, who believes in your idea, and respected in the community. This will ultimately be your teacher. Establish your coop for a couple of months.

2. After the coop has been established, hold verbal training sessions for locals ran by your Haitian. Be as simple as possible. Make sure that any system you are using makes sense to them - uses local materials, follows local customs.

3. Perhaps spend a day making rounds and assisting in coop building. Haitians, if possible, should do most of the coop-building to take ownership in the project. Missionaries provide knowledge. If they don't take ownership in the project, they shouldn't get chickens. Chickens may not be for everyone.

4. After coops are built and chickens supplied, follow up at homes every week or so.

5. Take note of failures and successes. What worked and what didn't? Ask the Haitians what they think. Revise program as fit.


There may be fundamental problems that will have to be investigated. My first thought is security. It could be that they don't want animals inside their home, but they don't want to spend materials to build a secure coop to protect chickens from prey - including human thieves. Whatever the missionaries do, it must be something the Haitians feel comfortable with. Otherwise they won't do it. And it goes without saying, respect the Haitians. Think about how we would react if someone came to our home and tried to get us to build a coop. We may or may not be receptive depending on how it's communicated to us and our own personalities.

I love Haiti and happy that your friend is trying to help. It's a wonderful country with good people, and a rich history and culture. Unfortunately they have very corrupt government and very little economy. (70% of the population makes less than $2/day). Hopefully your friend can create a bit of economy there.

BTW, understaffed...can they get some Haitians to help!? Jobs is what Haiti needs the most! I know...logistically it can be a problem. I think about the number of Haitian jobs just one plane ticket to Haiti could provide...

Anyhow, I am excited about their program and wish them much luck
smile.png


-Sonia

Good radio show on NGOs in Haiti: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/408/island-time

The
project I was involved in:
 
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