Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? To Empower Kenyan Widows

Uluyta, Kenya, how I miss you (thank you covid 19). I never thought I would hear myself saying that about Africa. But then again, all I can hear now is the wind and the rain that has not let up all day. Yes, it is tough there, and only the tough survive.

I got to spend some amazing time there with a group of widows and single mothers. And I even cooked for them Irish stew with a twist, I used goat, but I did get hold of some potatoes. All bought by the side of the road as we travelled from Nairobi to this small village in the middle of nowhere. While in the kitchen preparing, okay when I say in the kitchen, I really mean sitting on a bucket peeling the spuds, cutting the meat with a blunt knife and cooking over a fire that was burning in a hole in the ground. Have you ever tried to debone a goat with a blunt knife? A young lad came with a chicken, trying to sell it to me for $10. So I asked him, “what would I do with a live chicken?” his reply was out of this world, “cook it for me”! It was a time of fun, fellowship and learning. I got to share, pray and encourage this community.

And here is what I learned. In parts of Kenya, particularly rural areas, for women who lose their husbands, economic and social inclusion remains a struggle. In some communities, widows are considered unclean and thought to carry an evil spirit of death and need to be sexually ‘cleansed’ to remove this spirit. There can be great disapproval and exclusion of these women, coupled with a traditional silence on widowhood, and therefore they remain some of the most forgotten people in Kenya’s fight for gender equality.

I have spent months thinking and praying about how we could help and came up; well, it was more of a God-given plan. On Saturday, we were able to start a project to train and encourage a group of widows in this rural village of Ulutya, Kenya, to rear chickens. Widows are often forgotten about, experience many challenges in rural Africa; this project is aimed at empowering them economically and socially. Chickens can supply a steady revenue because they are easy to sell on short notice to cover expenses. A $5 chicken can give a return of anything up to $800 -$1000 per year.

Studies have revealed that when women manage the money, they are more likely than men to spend it on issues that aid in the fight against poverty in areas such as education, health, and sustenance.

Why chickens? You may ask. Well, simply because chickens are small, not too difficult to manage, unlike goats or cows, and normally stay close to home and women who sell chickens are likely to reinvest the profits in their families. Benson tells me that keeping chickens is easy and inexpensive to take care of. Various varieties of chickens can eat whatever they find on the ground and only need a simple nest as a refuge, which can be made with local resources. Chickens really are a good long-term investment. If a widow starts with five hens and one of her neighbours owns a rooster to fertilise the hens’ eggs. After three months, her flock can grow to about 35-40 chicks.

The partnership between The Punching Pastor & Arising Christian Ministries prays that it will result in the economic empowerment of the women of Uluyta, Kenya.

This project is up and running in Kenya, and we would like to get this project up and running in Laos, Cambodia & Myanmar.

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