Chicken for Peace

Published April 20, 2016 by Dorothy Mwangi and Yvonne Kwamboka

Chicks owned by Mawazo Self Help Group in Isiolo County Kenya under REGAL-IR project

When Abdul Noor Aliya’s mother talked to him about the value of poultry business, he was skeptical. As a Boran man, he had learned from a very young age that cattle, sheep, and goats are the highest value domesic animals. Surely his mother couldn’t be right!

But as Abdul started to monitor his mother Abadia’s business from a distance, he realized she might be on to something. He watched the Mawazo Bora group, composed of 16 members, establish the poultry business from their home. The group received support from Adeso’s Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands-Improving Resilience(REGAL IR) program, namely business training, vaccines and capital - which came in the form of chicken feed and an initial stock of 500 chicks.

Six months later, his mother’s group sold 150 cockerels and earned Ksh 120,000 (or around USD 1,200), which they used to purchase an additional 300 chicks. At the same time, the group’s 250 layers produce 200 eggs per day, earning them Ksh 2,000 (USD 20) per day.

Abadia feeding the additional 300 chicks 

The overall success of the poultry business shocked Abdul. He would have never imagined that it could be more successful than herding cattle, sheep, and goats. He was so impressed he shared his findings with his 26-year-old friend, Mohammed Suleiman, who like Abdul is a member of an Isiolo youth group. 

As the two young men started talking about it, they realized other advantages of the poultry business, including a faster return on investment, a readily available market, fewer risks of the chicken being stolen, and no conflict over pasture and water with neighbors. Herding cattle, sheep, and goats on the other hand tends to contributes to inter-clan conflicts in the area as clans who share similar values compete over limited resources.

As Abdul and Mohammed see it, the poultry business also reduces the risk of personal injury and death that comes from cattle rustling between pastoral communities.

The two friends now agree: the poultry business has value! Mohammed has even offered to part with two acres of land so that to the Isiolo youth group can use it to set-up a poultry business. The youth are now seeking sponsors for their business idea.