Theresa - one of BRAC program's participants
Theresa is a subsistence poultry farmer in Liberia. Five years ago, when her husband fell sick and lost his vision, she became the breadwinner for her family of nine children. At the time, she earned her living making charcoal. Devastated by her husband’s decline in health, Theresa went from house to house asking for dirty clothes that she could wash in exchange for money.
“I was dirt in the eyes of the community,” she said. “When you are out of money, people look down on you. I never even had a voice in my community; people neglected me.”
While the country struggles to recover from the devastating shock of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, most Liberians continue to live on less than $1.25 a day. A shocking 36 percent of the population suffers from malnutrition.
One key way for Liberia’s economy to grow, and for people to break free from the cycle of poverty, is through agriculture and livestock farming. This sector generates many jobs that fit people’s skills and experiences, and contributes to about half of the country’s GDP.
In several weeks, BRAC will implement the next phase of this project, building on its successes: reaching 130,000 Liberians, and reducing food insecurity among more than 12,000. BRAC’s bigger goals, however, are ending hunger, improving food nutrition, and generating sustainable livelihoods for all Liberians.
The project supports vulnerable people across six food-insecure regions of Liberia, at least 65 percent of whom are women. They include women like Theresa.
After she joined BRAC’s program, she learned new and modern poultry rearing technologies. With her new skills, a batch of 20 chickens, and a small enterprise loan from BRAC, she started her own business.
“Through these chickens, my life has changed: I no longer need to wash strangers’ clothes to earn enough money to feed my family,” she said.
Indeed, Theresa now makes $50 a month and has grown her small starter batch of chickens into a modest poultry farm with 83 chickens.
“I am thankful for this poultry livestock project. Now, I know how to continue rearing poultry,” she said.
Currently, about 178 new poultry farmers have joined this program. Yeaneh, a new poultry farmer who just received a batch of 20 chickens from BRAC, couldn’t contain her excitement or hide her ambition.
“I want to become a major egg producer!” she exclaimed.