is not a video entry

Elizabeth Wayua Mutoso’s chickens were all killed by Newcastle disease, a contagious disease that usually kills most chickens in a household or village.

She hadn’t vaccinated her chickens against Newcastle disease and did not recognise the symptoms when the disease hit her flock. She now knows that she must have bought an infected chicken at the market as the disease spread to the other chickens.

With nearly all her chickens dead, she has no source of cash and cannot afford to buy food or clothes or pay for school fees. As is the custom, she used to sell a chicken every time she needed something. She used to get around KSH 150 (or US $2) for each chicken which was enough to pay for extra food or household items.

Poultry has most impact on women

Poultry are often owned and managed by women for whom they represent an important source of cash income in times of need through the sale of adult birds, chicks or eggs.

GALVmed has prioritized poultry as an important investment area for work because all of the evidence available suggests that these impact most upon poor people and specifically upon the most vulnerable groups, including women and children.

If women are the bulk of livestock keepers and GALVmed improve the health and sustainability of their livestock, then protein levels and the capacity to generate investment income improve for women. At a micro-level, this (in money terms at least) gives women an economic voice within their families and thus a right to investment decision-making.

Livestock beneficial to poor

For many poor people in Kenya, livestock is a major source of income particularly during times of drought.

With climate change beginning to bite in East Africa, increasingly unpredictable rain patterns means that people cannot depend on crops such as maize and beans for food and income as they used to. Livestock such as goats, cows and chickens are more drought resistant and a crucial income to pay for food, medicines or school fees.

Yet development aid has neglected livestock for decades. Only 4 per cent is directed towards agriculture and a fraction of this to livestock.