Malaria reduction takes many forms. People can protect themselves from mosquitos by sleeping under nets, or they can reduce mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating areas of standing water. These are indeed important interventions in working to reduce this disease of poverty. And because malaria is a disease of poverty, another important way to reduce malaria is by reducing the burden of poverty in areas of high malaria incidence.
The Lutheran Malaria Program in Zimbabwe is working to provide income generating opportunities for community members in the Burure region. The Lutheran Malaria Program grants seed money so that small businesses can commence their operations. The Pindirai Jehovah Poultry Project is one such sustainable livelihoods project, and is located in Chitekete, Zimbabwe.
Photo: A boy stands outside of the Pindirai Jehovah chicken coop.
There are ten women who belong to the poultry project cooperative. The women purchased the chickens with seed money provided by the Lutheran Malaria Program in Zimbabwe, which is a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe. All of the women who are in the cooperative are also members of the local Burure Lutheran Congregation. The women of the cooperative learned about this opportunity through their congregation's malaria focal person, who frequently speaks to the congregation about how to prevent and treat malaria.
All of the participating women take an active role in caring for and tending to the chickens. They have a roster which lists the various chores and they divide the tasks amongst themselves. They even take turns watching over the chickens at night. Once the chicks have grown, they can be taken to the market and sold.
Profits are collected and saved. Women in the cooperative can use the savings to help with medical costs, like malaria medication or travel expenses in order to access care. If a cooperative member falls ill, the members meet to determine how much assistance can be provided by the cooperation. Since the start of the poultry project, cooperative member Mrs. Wazha noted that the extra income has made it easier to transport people to clinics.
Photo: Mrs. Wazha, a member of the cooperative, holds up two of the chicks from the poultry project.
The chicken cooperative wouldn't like to be limited to only chickens. With their profits, they have already purchased three goats, and they hope to someday acquire some cattle.
The chicken cooperative brings business to the community, is a source of food for local families and provides sustainable incomes for the participating women. In addition to all of those community benefits, there are solar panels on the roof of the chicken coop, which brings some power to the village. Truly, the Pindirai Jehovah Poultry Project is an asset in the community of Chitekete, Zimbabwe!
Photo: Some of the women of the cooperative, along with area malaria leaders, stand near the project.