Women Group in Kiandutu receives a hatchery to boost their poultry business.

A hatchery bought by Jungle Foundation to help Hewapa Women Group boost their Kienyeji Poultry farming.
Slum dwellers from the sprawling Kiandutu village in Thika, Kiambu county have now ventured into farming a program that is geared into transforming lives as well as fighting poverty in the crime prone area.

The program initiated by Thika MP Patrick Wainaina has seen many youths abandon their past criminal activities and mothers reaping heavily in Kuku-Kienyeji poultry farming.

Kiandutu smart farmers youth group members are now busy participating in weeding and other chores under the program that is bringing food in every households table. They are growing vegetables such as sukumawiki, spinach and others in a 50 by 100 small farm that sits under the shanty village.

Poultry farming by HEWAPA women group is making a substantial contribution to household food security through out the slum village and other traders who come to buy chicken and eggs.

For Eunice Wanjiru, a mother of three from Kiandutu slums, joblessness, poverty, hopelessness and sheer lack could not allow her desert her dream of kicking out poverty and live a happy life in a serene place.

She joined the cluster group of 12 other women from the slums to form HEWAPA group, the unseen became what is now the hit song of Thika town.

Formed early this year, the group started by making contributions which they saved for a few months before the delved into what turned to be their game changer.

Through a special contribution of Sh 1,000 each, the poor women who earlier survived on hawking second hand clothes bought 100 chicks and a sack of chick feeds.

Motivated by calls to form cluster groups to benefit from government funding, the group withstood teething challenges to raise the young birds which brooded and more chicks were hatched to form a poultry empire that has become the talk of town.

From a hundred chicks, the group’s strong resolve to succeed in the venture catapulted their ambitions so far managing to hatch and rear over 500 chickens which they sell to Thika hotels, supplying eggs in public primary schools for ‘egg Monday’ program started by the local MP in January this year and chicken for home slaughtering at a cost of Sh 1,500 each.

The group has specialized in the selling of chicks at the age of one month and this they say is due to the high demand and the quest to maximize profits.

They sell a one month old chick at Sh 300, eating eggs at Sh 20 while hatching ones go for Sh 30. This guarantees them profits that now place them in a position to expand their business.

Their earnings from the business have assisted them to fend for their families and at the same time educate their children.

Traditional methods of hatching the chicks has however been their main challenge as the process is time consuming and could have negative results.

As their business expanded, the venture forced them to scale up their efforts such as ensuring that they provide a more enabled environment for their business to thrive.

Taking advantage of being in a self-help-group, the group has been able to solicit funding from local Member of Parliament Patrick Wainaina who bought them a Sh 600,000 worth poultry hatchery machine able to hatch over 1,500 chicks per set up.

“We hope to scale our business to other levels because we now have the capacity. We have a dream of purchasing plots for every one of us where we can bring up our children. Kiandutu is good but a more serene environment will help us wipe our toil,” said Wanjiru.

Their broad vision is to tap into the wider marker and endear themselves as the biggest suppliers of chicken in Kiambu County to enable them attract more customers.

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina while presenting the hatchery machine accompanied by renowned gospel artist Kevin Bahati lauded the women for embracing the economic empowerment program and making maximum use of their little resources to better their lives.

Wainaina said that the poutry business has ensured a smooth supply of the essential commodity increasing the rate of school attendance in public primary schools.

“The crime rate has also gone down and we hope to continue empowering more groups to achieve their dreams,” he said.

The MP in January started a program dubbed Egg Monday which has seen each pupil enjoy a boiled egg every Monday morning.

11-months down the line, Wainaina said the programme has not only improved the general health of pupils but also class attendance in schools.
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