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Transforming lives through poultry keeping in Kapoeta

By Ochan Joram

The living standards of farmers in Kapoeta, South Sudan have improved greatly after they started poultry farming. Many residents of this area have embraced this lucrative business opportunity that has improved their standards of living.

Poultry farming  was introduced through the Islamic Relief Canada funded ‘Food Security and Livelihood Improvement Project (FLIP) that was set up in 2018 when the people in South Sudan experienced an acute food shortage and that affected their livelihoods especially in rural areas. This project has gone a long way in improving the community’s ability to be self-sufficient by addressing the main causes of poverty in the targeted areas.  This has been through enhancing the food security and livelihoods of 6,000 vulnerable people through distribution of seeds, poultry chicks and training in agriculture in Narus, Lopua, Loolim, Katodori, Napotpot, Nakoromai, and Nangtuny.

35 year old Irene Nakai lives in Narus Village with her family and is a beneficiary of this project. Nakai depends on a petty trade with a very small income such as brewing traditional alcohol known as SIKO to feed a family of eight members. ‘’The income I get from alcohol is to cater forfood, medicines, school fees, clothes and other basic needs for the family,’’ she reveals 

Nakia is among 80 female-headed families who benefited through the poultry programme. Each family was given three high breed chicks known as Kanyaji from neighbouring Kenya. “I am thankful to Islamic Relief because I was very impressed with the production of the chicken. In two months, the chicken started laying eggs, I can see another source of business,’’ she explained 

Looking optimistic, Nakia expressed gratitude for the training on poultry keeping she received from Islamic Relief.  “I learned poultry keeping is another lucrative economic scheme that is capable of improving my livelihood, I vow to continue despite challenges of diseases and insects,’’ said Irene

Other key components of this project included improving livestock production and access to animal health care services, improving access to agricultural production units such as farms. Extension services were provided and communities supported to develop alternative income sources. 

There are several combined and interlinked factors that are affecting people’s ability to cope with current humanitarian crises in South Sudan. This includes natural disasters such as drought and floods, intercommunal conflicts, cultural beliefs and political instability.  

In South Sudan, women constitute 51.6% of the country’s population. A stiff division of labour exists whereby men are the providers and decision-makers while women are responsible for taking care of home and family affairs. This cultural practice undervalues the contribution of women make through such duties and limits their role in decision-making and income-generating activities.

Social norms and traditional practices hinder women to access and control land even if they are lawfully entitled. This restriction of women’s access to livelihood options and assets has a direct impact on economic gains, food security and resilience.

This project (FLIP) has empowered the capacity of women in Kapoeta east to share a platform with men on issues about agriculture and poultry keeping

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