September 27, 2021
By Janice Biehn
PWRDF has been supporting the work of the National Council of Churches of Kenya in Kakuma Refugee Camp for many years. This past year we have been pleased to allocate $48,000 to the Upscaling Community Support Systems for Women and Girls Empowerment project, open to people living both in the camp and the host community.
The initiative builds on past progress to strengthen a poultry feed processing cooperative, using the local plant Mathenge, to foster local economic development. The production team’s 12 members (six youth and six women) attended a two-day course at Kakuma where they learned about poultry feed production, explored marketing strategies, and discussed lessons learned. The assorted feed ingredients were procured in two phases to avoid the possibility of ingredients spoiling due to long storage time and the hot climate.
The co-op produces three poultry feed products: chick, growers and layers mash. Each kilo of the poultry feed is sold for between 55 and 60 Kenyan Shillings per kg. The average monthly production is between 1,800 kg and 2,400 kg. Approximately 1,500 people benefit from the project, including the co-op members’ families and the poultry farmers who purchase the feed.
The co-op members also carried out important repairs and maintained the machines, including the threader machine that sews and seals the filled feed bags, and the mixture machine. The project facilitated focus group discussions and meetings to assist the group members to candidly discuss issues affecting the group such as marketing strategies, time management, production routine and bookkeeping. Co-op members and NCCK staff marketed the feed in the town area, and a billboard was created and installed next to the gate to the poultry feed production unit.
The project is ideal because it addresses the economic needs of both the host community and the refugees and keeps the relationship between the two communities in balance in this isolated and deprived region. Since refugees are not allowed to work outside the camp in formal employment, NCCK’s initiatives target the most vulnerable and seeks to improve their livelihoods, health and nutrition. Access to livelihood opportunities and decent work contributes to self-reliance and resilience, which may for young women and girls reduce their vulnerability to gender-based violence, early marriage, pregnancy and/or engaging in sex work.