Creative Solutions with Chickens in Gaza
ANERA has distributed chickens, cages and feed to provide a sustainable source of food and income to 450 families in Gaza who desperately need support. ANERA engineers designed and built the cages, which have an open bottom so the chickens can peck on the ground and can be placed easily in any open area.
For families still recovering from the 2009 war, the deliveries are much welcomed. Osama El-Hossari is one of the recipients: “My family and I depend basically on donations or United Nations assistance. I have six kids and I need to feed them,” he said. Osama says the chickens could bring good luck for him and his family. “Now I can stop spending money to purchase eggs. At least I have a breakfast meal for my children that is rich with protein.”
Over 450 families in Gaza now use egg farming as a source of extra income and food.
Osama lives in a very old house, which was severely affected by the recent war. The kitchen was hit by a missile and the roof has a hole in it. When it rains, water leaks into the house. “We have to put a bucket out to catch the water,” he added.
Saeda El-Daba lives nearby in El Sheikh Ridwan. Her son passed away leaving his three kids with no one to take care of them. With her kind heart and friendly smile, she opened her arms to three orphans. “I take care of them and this cage of chickens will help me provide the basic food for them,” she said. “I hope there will be extra eggs in the coming months and I will be able to sell them,” said Saeda. The chickens lay eight eggs a day, which can add up to some 200 a month.
With all the fear and the stress the children have suffered, they are glad to have the birds. “It is a lot of fun for the kids to play with the birds and fortunately we have the backyard for that,” Saeda said.
One of ANERA’s creative solutions has been the cage design itself. Usually, chicken cages in Gaza are rectangular. Gaza director, Salah Sakka, realized there was a structural flaw. Because the traditional design is flat on top and the cages are made of a light material for transportation and ease of use, they tend to collapse when they are stacked or heavy objects are set on the top of them, endangering the chickens inside.
So Salah created a triangle design for the cages, using his skills as an architectural engineer. “I came up with the triangle design when I was stuck in my house during the bombings,” he said.
ANERA worked with the Save Youth Society, a local partner, to identify the families and distribute the cages of chickens. The Save Youth Society works mainly with women in many poor and marginalized communities of Gaza. Besides helping needy families, the organization helps build on the role of Gaza’s youth in community development.
With continued support from individual donors, ANERA plans on expanding this program to reach more families in need throughout Gaza.