Anera’s Chicken Project has been a resounding success since its start in 2009.
With generous funding from the Moriah Fund, the project has expanded to more than 550 families in impoverished communities across Gaza. Now some families have developed new strategies to benefit from their chicken and egg production.
Ashraf Abu Nahiya recently lost his job. “I used to work in the Palestinian mills. But I got an infection in my left eye and was forced to stay home. These chickens provide us some income so I can at least bring food to my children,” he said.
“Every three days the 10 chickens produce 12 eggs,” he explained. “We ate some of them but since we are only five in the family I took some of the eggs to my neighbor who owns an incubator.” Abu Nahiya gave some of the eggs to his neighbor and when the chickens hatched, he fed and cared for them to produce more eggs. “I tried selling some of the eggs but that didn’t bring much – two eggs sell for one shekel (25 US cents).” So he decided to sell the baby chickens for 15 shekels a pair ($4).
Abu Nahiya has expertise in livestock breeding, especially chickens and rabbits. He bought a Bulgarian rooster to breed with the hens to create a hybrid. The new chickens are multi-colored and will soon produce eggs. “In winter, I cover the cage Anera supplied us to protect the chickens from the cold.” he said. “And, my son Mohammad helps me feed the chickens every day.
To help chicken breeders like Abu Nahiya, Anera has developed new awareness sessions with a veterinarian to teach recipient families the best treatment for the chickens.
Mohammad El Khawalda, a new participant in project has little experience with chickens. “I received the chickens last month. I am jobless and have five children to feed,” Mohammad said. “The training is wonderful. I have learned how to protect the chickens. They are small and won’t produce eggs for another two months. So, I am checking their health regularly, as the veterinarian taught us,” he added.
Both families have recommended the project to other needy people in their communities. Anera is supporting these families by providing them a reliable source of income and a way to get their children protein-rich food to help keep them healthy as they grow and develop.