Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas

by Corals for Conservation
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Happy Chickens for Fiji Cyclone Disaster Hit Areas
Nadelei Workshop
Nadelei Workshop

Our last workshop of participants from the Clyclone Winston disaster zone, was from the community of Nadelei Village, in the highlands of Ba Province in January.  The trainees offered during out fiev day traing some quite horrific stories of the cyclone and how fortunate most were to escape with their lives, as the cyclone had hit in the daytime, so people could evacuate to better shelter as their homes were destroyed one by one.  Many of their local chickens also survived, unlike the areas where the severe cyclone hit at night.

However, all the rebuilding is completed, and noone continues to live in tents, the gardens are flourishing, and things are mostly back to normal. We have also heard this recovery is the case for all the other Happy Chicken sites from the disaster area- Taveuni, Koro, Moturiki, Tailevu North, and Yasawa.  As we are just a bit under our final goal, we plan to merge the project with our main Happy Chickens project, to simplify reporting.  Our main purpose continues to be poverty alleviation, improved nutrition, and community empowerment.   

We thank each of you deeply for helping make this project a big success, which continuies onward, with the chickens are now hatching baby chicks of their own, and with two of the communities running their own small hatcheries, using the small incubators we provided. 

May blessings flow to you all, as you have certainly blessed Fiji with your generosity and love.

Tea time = story time
Tea time = story time
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Participants at breakfast this morning
Participants at breakfast this morning

Greetings to all of our donors and supporters.  Just yesterday, 4th February, 2019 we began our lastest workshop for the communities affected by Cyclone Winston.  Seven youth came by bus and carrier from remote Nandelei Village, in Ba province to our Teitei Livelihoods Centre and happy chicken farm, about five hours distant.  US Peace Corps volunteer, Glenn Hall, organized the Nadelei youth group and found additional support funds. 

Many of the participants lost their homes during the cyclone, and one of the participants had been badly injured as well, while others had family members who were badly injured as their homes crashed down on them-  in the southern hemisphere's strongest ever recorded cyclone. While fortunately none were killed in the village, everyone suffered great material loss. The good news is that almost three years later, reconstruction is nearing completion, crops are now thriving, and most homes have been rebuilt.

The village had previously been known for its many chickens, but most ot the chickens were killed in the cyclone, as the huricane hit at night while the chickens slept in the trees.  The goal now is to improve the local chicken farming methods, so that the chickens sleep in cyclone resistant houses, while continuing to be free-range, while also improving the size and egg laying ability of the breeds through crossing the surviving chickens with our improved Happy Chicken mixed breed.    

The youth are very excited to be learning the happy chicken methods, while also learning about the bigger picture and facilitating the wider development of the village.  For example, as coconut is so important to the food security of the community and as animal feed, and as there are so few coconut trees remaining, the planting of coconut trees must receive a major focus and so we plan on sending coconut seedings back with the group, along with the six-week old chicks we are also sending.  

As electricity has now been restored to the village, we have promised to send a small incubator to the youth group, once the chickens are laying, so that the project can grow under local inititive. We will continure to follow up with the Nadelei community for the next 2-3 years, through our project officer Simi Koto and the Peace Corps volunteer and his replacement.

As the disaster response is coming to a close at three years, and as we are coming close to our original goal, we are now planning to merge the disaster project into the main "Happy Chickens for Food Secirity and Environment" project on Global Giving.  If you wish to continue supporting our work, please give to the main project. 

Vinaka vakalevu - thank you for making this important work of love possible.

Nicole Raivoka teaching about the chickens
Nicole Raivoka teaching about the chickens
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Soap Making
Soap Making

Seven women came to the farm from the cyclone affected area of southern Taveuni island for Happy Chicken traing and they returned home last week after twelve days, with lots of new knowldege as well as with the chickens to start up their own breeding flocks and local egg cooperative business. 

In addition to the poultry training, the women also received training in sustainable livelihoods, such as virgin coconut oil production, coconut cheeze and vinegar production, and permaculture.

Taveuni and all the cyclone hit areas of Fiji are recovering well now, and so this project will soon be merged with the main Happy Chicken project.  Much more is being done as the need for sustainabe, locally based production is great, providing much needed protein to chldren and rural families. We have already produced over seven tousand chcks since May, for a total of about 30 thousand produced in five years. The impact is much greater when we realize that many of these chickens are now breeding and procucing chicks ftheir own. We also have sent out four 90-egg incubators around Fiji and three to Vanuatu.  

Thanks so much for your continued assistance and helping make this work possible, 

Austin

Taveuni Women Power
Taveuni Women Power
Virgin Coconut Oil Production
Virgin Coconut Oil Production
Some Workshop Participants
Some Workshop Participants
Dawn over the workshop
Dawn over the workshop
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Workshop Participants at the New TLC Pavilion
Workshop Participants at the New TLC Pavilion

On 17th June a group of eighteen arrived by covered carrier truck, for a week long training program at TLC- our Teitei Livelihoods Centre in Fiji's Singatoka Valley. Their journey from Wairuarua village, in the remote highlands of Naitasiri, included two hours down river by long-boat just to get to where the road begins, and then five hours journey by truck to the farm. 

We had a wonderful bonding experience, with campfres and singing at night and with workshops sessions and hands-on activities during the day.  In addition to Happy Chicken training, the participants learned principles of permaculture- composting, micro-terracing, intercropping, etc, as well as the making of products such as virgin coconut oil, and chocolate from cacao pods.  Cacao was introduced by government to this community in the 1960s and it now grows profusely in the mountainous and forested area, but no one helped them market it nor ddid anyone show them how to use it.  The participants left very excited and encouraged to work together to build a more resilient and prosperous community, using their newly discovered knowledge and skills.

In follow up, we have already head-started one hundred of our chicks to the eight-week stage, and the commuity has in turn built a chicken shed, and so they are ready to receive the chicks. Preparations are now being made to transport the chickens to the communities as soon as it can be arranged.  A local NGO, formed in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, facilitated the workshop and is conducting follow-up, which will help ensure success.

The plan made by the participants during the workshop was for the chickens to become a breeding flock, but as there is no electricity, they have been taught to hatch the eggs under broody hens. They also plan to situate one of our 40 Watt 90-egg incubators at the village located at the head of the road- which does have electricity, and to form a cooperative relationship by providng hatching eggs and sharing chicks between the two communities. 

Thanks to our donors for enabling this transformative community development to happen.  These humble, poor, receptive, and extremely appreciative people are (through you), being empowered to help themselves. 

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Seni and the incubator + curious school girls
Seni and the incubator + curious school girls

It has been a hot and very wet summer here in Fiji in the southern hemisphere at the Happy Chicken farm, and the hens are have been on their annual "vacation", not laying eggs so that they will have the resources to change their feathers for new ones (= molting).  We closed the hatchery for two months and have just begun to set eggs in the incubators again, as the weather is finally cooler and the hens are gettting back to work laying their precious eggs.  

News from Koro Islnd in the Cyclone Winston disaster area:

We sent an incubator to the Nabasovi Women's Group in January along with 90 fertile eggs- which they successfully hatched, and so we sent a second lot of eggs in February, which they also hatched. But in March we unfiortunately did not have enough eggs to send. However, the oldest hens will begin laying in June, and they have retained 20 of the chickens, which will soon become the new breeding flock!  The woman's cooperative ageed to turn the incubator over to Senirosi Talei, "Bu Seini", who has good business sense, as she successfully runs the village 'canteen'.  Seinirosi will now receive special support to create her own hatchey business, hatching chicks monthly on behalf of the nearby villages.

Thea, the US Peace Corps volunteer supporting the project, will be travelling to Suva soon, to purchase school supplies on behalf of the community, and we will send back with her on th boat 90 fertile eggs for the incubator, starter feed for the chicks, supplemental feed for the breeding flock, and more cuttings of edible feed plants. 

With the first lots of chickens sent to Koro, we had to also send many bags of feed, as the vegetation was so badly damaged that the chickens could find little to eat from the land. That was costly and burned up most of the donations, but it was desperate times.  Now local chicken feeds are becoming more available, with coconuts beginning to bear again, and mornina cuttings which we sent up with the trainees nearly two years ago, have grown into trees whose leaves make excellent feed when combined with coconut and cassava roots. 

Our forging chickens at the farm recently taught us an additional wild plant, which the chickens absolutely love to eat- 'costus' or 'crepe ginger', which turns out to be edible for humans as well- see the photo below. We will now include this plant in the workshops, with one happening at the farm next week for a group of young men from Beqa Island

As local capacity and knowledge of the Happy Chicken methods spreads and increases on Koro, we may need to send an additional incubator to Bu Seine (in red in the photo below), in order to meet the needs of the island's fourteen villages. 

Vinaka valkalevu- thank you SO much to the donors and to our helper Thea, and of course to the Nabasovi Women's group for making this all possible.

         

Costus- a new and highly nutritious chicken feed
Costus- a new and highly nutritious chicken feed
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Organization Information

Corals for Conservation

Location: Samabula - Fiji
Website:
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Project Leader:
Austin Bowden-Kerby
Samabula, Fiji

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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