100% Fouta-Sourced Chicken Coop
Binta has never followed the norms within her community in the Fouta area of northern Senegal. As a single mother, she aspired to make her own money and create her own job opportunities. From starting her restaurant to managing her fields, she took every chance to create a better life for her family. Binta, along with her neighbor and community leader Bocar, met frequently with the Village Chief to discuss better ways to improve the livelihoods of the people of her village. These two neighbors, both managing families and their grueling, year-round field work, always had time to take part in and lead town discussions and conflict resolutions. Binta and Bocar noticed an extreme lack of prosperous economic opportunity for the members of their community. With farming as the main source of employment for the village’s 3,000 residents, there was almost no other means of income. Together, Binta and Bocar dreamt about taking something else to their community, an opportunity for a more sustainable livelihood.
After gathering their closest friends and family, Binta and Bocar decided it was time to create the village’s first-ever chicken coop. The group formed their pitch and approached their local Peace Corps Volunteer about assisting with the project. Their argument was that there were no chickens for sale within 50 km. of the village, and chickens were constantly in demand. Bocar argued that with the demand in the village and visitors to the large weekly market, each group member could make a monthly profit by selling chicken meat. After conducting a small market study in order to determine how high the chicken demand really was, the Volunteer, Binta, and Bocar decided to officially lead the charge towards constructing the town’s first chicken coop. Before implementation began, the group decided they would use locally-sourced materials and chicken breeds. This would decrease costs while supporting the local economy. Before the coop was constructed, the Volunteer trained group members on basic business practices, including marketing, inventory tracking, record keeping, and basic money management. Once the trainings were completed, it was time to construct the coop.
Using funds from a World Connect grant, Pellital Elevage Thille Boubacar (the group’s name) sweated in the hot, August sun and constructed two 4 by 8 meter rooms, using cement and local mud for the bricks. For three days, this newfound group of chicken raisers slapped brick upon brick, huddled together under the tiny patch of shade in the garden where they were building the coop, and hammered away at the roof. Once the coop was completed, the Volunteer entered one of the rooms to find Binta lying on the floor, smiling up at the ceiling, and saying “it’s so cold in here, it is like ice.” It was a sign of a job well done.
Together, the 14 neighbors had started what would soon become a continuously profitable business. It did not take long for the word to spread about the coop and for chicken meat orders to come in. To provide more work for people of the village, the group reached out to a local women’s group to pluck and clean the chickens before sale. Faty, one of Pellital Elevage Thille Boubacar’s members told the Volunteer, “This will give more jobs to the women in the village, and it will make the [chicken coop] project better.” Now, six months after the coop’s completion, the newly registered organization continues to sell its entire stock of 200 chickens each month. With their new source of income, Binta and Bocar are able to provide more economic security for their families, the dream they always wanted.