Empowering women out of poverty through the establishment of a joint business opportunity
In partnership with the Community Congregational Church (CCC) and the United States Navy, AADA completed a pilot program focused on empowering women out of poverty through the establishment of a joint business opportunity. In 2009, AADA completed the Blessed Hope Poultry Farm in the town of Muyuka in the South West Region of Cameroon. AADA and the Blessed Women of Hope women’s association collaborated on the conception, development and creation of a poultry farm. The Hope Poultry Farm will impact an estimated 500 beneficiaries including 200 immediate family members and 300 extended family members. Increased financial independence will allow members to expand existing businesses, improve their decision-making capabilities at home, improve family nutrition and healthcare and provide support for school fees, uniforms and school supplies.
15% of the profits will also be utilized to help support groups within the Muyuka community that are also in need. Donations of food, toiletries and clothing will provided to two groups within the Muyuka community (as identified by the Poultry Farm Committee): the Muyuka Blind Center and FAWODA Center for Elderly Women.
AADA believes that this profit-sharing strategy will assist in cross-community relationship building and furthermore provide a mechanism within the community to ensure the Blessed Women of Hope are accountable for profits from the project.
Issues Facing Women – Cameroon’s Social Welfare System
Women are tasked with caring for the family and also providing financially. Women are forced to work in the informal economy resulting in high inputs and low wages. Families suffer from lack of money for healthcare, education and food creating a cycle of poverty across communities.
AADA believes that women deserve the opportunity to gain skills and contribute in a meaningfully way to the betterment of their family and community. Increased financial freedom allows for improved health, increased enrollment and retention in school, and better decision-making capabilities for the women.
Blessed Women of Hope Women’s Association
The Blessed Women of Hope women’s association was established in 2000 with ten active members. The group is composed of both teachers and businesswomen varying in age from 24 to 50. The Blessed Women of Hope have successfully begun several projects including a beehive, snail farm, poultry farm, piggery and plantain farm. During the evaluation process, the women expressed that a lack of capital had reduced their ability to expand small business ventures and make them more profitable. The women indicated there is a near-constant unmet demand for poultry; therefore, they believed an expansion of their existing, small-scale (50 chickens) poultry farm (operation of which has been discontinued due to a lack of capital) would be a successful business venture.
Blessed Hope Poultry Farm
The Hope Poultry Farm houses 500 chickens in a building measuring 12 meters long x 5 meters wide x 2 meters tall. The farm includes a brooding room, (for the regulation of chick temperature) an intensive closed-air living system (confined for disease control), feeding and watering troughs and an equipment storage unit.
A Poultry Farm Committee, consisting of a President, Secretary and Treasurer, has been elected by the Association to oversee the project. Tasks include establishing a calendar of daily care of the birds by the association members, monitoring that care, overseeing the sale of the chickens, allocation and distribution of the proceeds, drafting written updates and maintaining records and a project budget. The Committee is in direct collaboration with AADA’s Project Manager, Construction Manager and technical experts, which are providing them with the knowledge and tools to manage and sustain the Farm and overcome any problems that may arise. In order to ensure equal participation and shared responsibility, all association members will be tasked with the daily care of the chickens.