the poultry project

2010 Chicken Coop Design Competition

October 19th, 2010

In an effort to connect the local food movement (especially urban chicken keeping) and the design community with our work in Uganda, we launched a Chicken Coop Design Competition.

On July 21, 2010, we invited farmers, inventors, architects, designers, artists – ANYONE – to design a small-flock, backyard chicken coop that integrates aesthetics with utility, creatively (re)uses local materials and is ideal for urban settings.

The deadline for submissions was October 10th and the entries came in from all over the world — Italy, UK, Serbia, Pakistan, France, Quebec, Spain, India, South Africa and several of the 50 states!

A jury will pick one winner, up to 4 finalists and 10 honorable mentions.  There will also be a people’s choice prize winner.

We hope to modify the winning design(s) and build coops for our project participants in Uganda.

All of the chicken coop designs will be on display for public view at an exhibition in Cleveland on Friday, November 26 – more details to come.

Thanks and good luck to everyone that entered the competition!

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Fresh – urban agriculture event in Tremont

September 11th, 2010

The Poultry Team @ the Tremont Farmers Market

We’ve been attending farmers markets and local food events in Northeast Ohio throughout the summer promoting the Chicken Coop Design Competition.  Tomorrow, we’ll have a booth at Fresh – a local food event in Tremont (Cleveland, Ohio).  Come see us!  Here’s more info about the event from the Visible Voice bookstore (event host) blog:

Fresh : going local in an urban environment – Saturday, September 11, 12-9pm

We are pleased to present Fresh : going local in an urban environment, to take place on Saturday, September, 11 from noon-9. The event will include three screenings of the new documentary, Fresh, along with several presentations throughout the day by local foods activists and educators. In addition, there will be several in store promotions, samples from local farms, local wines will be featured in our wine bar and various nonprofits will have booths in our Garden Courtyard. $5 suggested donation (proceeds to benefit City Fresh).

The schedule for the day (subject to change):

Presentations (to be held in the Garden Courtyard, weather permitting)

12:30 – Lynn Rodemann of Devil’s Backbone Market and Educational Herb Farm
3:30 – Ohio City Near West on the new Ohio City Farm Project
6:00 – Tim Smith of the Cleveland Greenhouse Project
6:30 – Jody Lathwell of the Tremont Farmers Market and Josh Klein of Gordon Square Farmer’s Market and City Fresh
7:00 – Jonathan Hull from Green Triangle
Q and A

Fresh, The Movie Screenings (to be held in our meeting/performance space)

Film times are 1:00 pm, 4:30 pm (indoors) and 7:30 pm (outdoors weather permitting). Times subject to change.

All screenings are 25 people maximum. Reservations are required (please call the store).

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A Lesson in Creative Chicken Coop Design: Michael Thompson’s Car Coop

August 23rd, 2010

With the Poultry Project’s October 10 Chicken Coop Design Competition deadline fast approaching I thought I’d take the time to remind folks to get those submissions in and provide a little inspiration for those of you struggling to come up with a creative idea.

The coop pictured here was designed by Michael Thompson using half of a dead 1970 Morris Traveler, a vehicle designed by Britain’s Morris Motor Company (no worries, you won’t be competing against Thompson’s coop in our competition). This baby is pretty slick and proof that possibilities for a really creative design are limitless.

More photos of Thompson’s design are available at

For further information regarding the Poultry Project’s Chicken Coop Design Competition please go to

We anxiously await your submissions and appreciate your support and participation in the Chicken Coop Design Competition.


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The Importance of Microsaving in Developing Countries

July 27th, 2010

I recently ran across a NY Times blog post written by Nicholas Kristof in May of last year. In it Kristof discusses the importance of ensuring a secure place to save money for the poorest people in the world’s developing countries. He asserts that savings is a more important element of microfinance than lending due to the risks of theft and violent crime in countries whose poorest inhabitants are forced to keep their savings under their own roof. Says Kristof,

“Likewise, the book notes that many poor people must pay to save. That’s right — instead of receiving interest for depositing their savings with someone, they have to pay interest on their own money. One common scheme in West Africa, for example, charges an annual interest of 40 percent for accepting savings. If you struggle to save $100, a year later you have $60. But at least it’s safer than it would be under the bed. If we develop banks that actually serve the poor and accept savings, even if they paid zero interest, that would be a huge step forward and a big incentive to start saving.”

Check out Kristof’s full post here. It’s a short read but an interesting look at the importance of the availability of a secure place to save money.

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Security, Stability Necessary for Economic Growth

July 20th, 2010

Following the July 11 terrorist attacks that rocked the Ugandan capital of Kampala, billionaire Kenyan businessman Chris Kirubi discussed how instability brought about by the threat of terrorism can cause great harm to the economic climate of the region. In a July 19th opinion piece for Business Daily Africa Kirubi said,

“Take for example the average Kenyan, who after many years of saving and visualising being self-employed, decides he wants to establish an up-market eatery that can be frequented by all nationalities.

Apart from the usual fixed overhead costs, he now has to contend with additional insurance costs to cover terrorism and the re-building of his business in the event of such a catastrophe.

He is obviously going to think harder and longer before starting up any such venture which puts at risk his whole livelihood.”

Kirubi notes that in East Africa small to medium market enterprises are some of the biggest creators of jobs in the region. In order for entrepreneurial-minded people to go about starting such small to medium-sized businesses political stability within a country, as well as within neighboring countries, is essential. Such a statement may seem obvious but it’s difficult to overstate the importance of peace, stability, and a competent government for developing economies. Without the assurance that their businesses will be secure from the presence of any external threats seeking to damage them (terrorists or a civil war for example), entrepreneurs are much less likely to start their own businesses. Fewer small businesses mean fewer employment opportunities that in turn mean lower levels of consumption. Lower consumption levels hurt already existing businesses leading to a downward cycle in economic activity. All in all instability reduces the likelihood developing countries will experience economic growth.

You can check out Kirubi’s full piece here.

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training workshop & skype

March 30th, 2010

On March 14, Peter & other TASO Mbale staff worked with the GW MPH fellows to host a training workshop for poultry project participants.  The GW fellows brought along their laptops so we could Skype.  I haven’t seen everyone since 2007 – it was definitely the best late night phone call. EVER.  Shamim spoke perfect English and Eric looked so grown-up.  It was exhilarating to see & talk with everyone.   I’m so grateful for Peter, the TASO Mbale team and the GW fellows for the wonderful work they’re doing.  They are still working on the evaluation.  You can see some photos of the evaluation process (home visits) and the workshop on Facebook – click here.

Skype fun!

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“It Is Good to Start a Project Instead of Giving Someone Food and Then Tomorrow I Am Hungry”

March 5th, 2010

I am excited to report that the first day of the Poultry Project Evaluations went extremely well! Peter, four other fellows, and I went out into the field yesterday to two households that had been recipients of PP hens (photos will be posted once the internet speed picks up a bit). Here are client updates:


Faith is a child client (she is HIV+) and lives about 30 minutes north of Mbale, in Bukeda. In 2006, Faith received 4 hens from the PP. To date, the family has managed to use the 4 hens and their products to purchase 1 heifer (which might be pregnant!) and 1 goat. The household sells the eggs from the hens to buy more animals, salt, sugar, soap, transport to health units, fix their bicycle, and buy clothing and uniforms for Faith. Due to recent heavy rains and flooding, the household lost 15 chicks. Learning from this, they are hoping to construct a house for the chickens to keep them safe during the coming rainy season.


Betty is 16 years old and is in Senior 4. Betty lost both her parents to AIDS, and now lives with her Uncle Stephen. Betty was at school when we arrived at her compound, so Stephen updated us on the project. The household started with 4 female birds and one male. Now, the household has between 60 and 70 chickens. Earlier this year, they sold 100 birds to pay the school and registration fees for all the children in the household. Without the Poultry Project, Stephen said, “…there would be a problem” paying school fees. “I have liked the project” Stephen said, “You have to be patient, but then it is well paying. It is good to start a project instead of giving someone food and then tomorrow I am hungry”.

We will continue to visit households this weekend and into next week. Thank you so much for supporting the Poultry Project!

Kate, Gwynne, Ashley, Peter, Nikki and Kelsey.

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Evaluation Begins Tomorrow!

March 3rd, 2010

Great News! The GW fellows and Peter Welikhe (Project Officer for TASO’s Sustainable Livelihood Programs) are going to be spending the next week doing outreach visits to all the Poultry Project kids and families to conduct evaluations on the project outcomes. We will be spending March 4,6,7,9 and 11 visiting the homes of the recipients. And then next Saturday (March 13) we will be holding a workshop at TASO Mbale for all participants to share their experiences, successes, hardships, etc. We will have a Vet there during the day to answer any questions in regards to the animals wellbeing. We’re very excited and can’t wait to share the results, stories, and photos with everyone! –Kate

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Greetings from Mbale!

February 15th, 2010

Hello Everyone! My name is Kate Hesel and I am one of the current GWU fellows working at TASO. Kelly has asked me to occasionally blog about my experiences at TASO and in Uganda. Here is my first entry!

The past three days we have been away from the center, and out in the field, which I’ve been thrilled about. The first day we went out, we were accompanied by 4 doctors, 6 nurses, 5 counselors, pharmacists, managers, and organizational staff. We all oaded into several TASO Land Cruisers and went to a government-run clinic about 40 minutes North-East of Mbale. The government allows TASO to come to the clinic once a month to hold its outreach clinics—designed for TASO’s clients that are too sick, poor, busy, or live too far away to attend the center in Mbale for services (TASO holds these twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, in different locations around the Mbale district). The clinic runs exactly like the centers do – patients see doctors, counselors, and receive medication. TASO also brings other services to the clinics, such as massage, aromatherapy, and CD4 counts. We had several roles that day, but mainly spent the day measuring out medication and distributing it to the people waiting. We sorted everything from Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Magnesium, Amoxicillin, Erythromycin, several anti-depressants, Flagyl, Septrin, and ARVs (Anti-Retro Virals, the medicine used to fight HIV). We also handed out food, registered patients, performed triage, and helped out wherever we were needed. It was a tiring day, but completely fulfilling and exactly what I have been waiting to do since I arrived in Uganda.

The next day we went out for home visits to see people who are benefiting from TASO’s Sustainable Livelihood Projects (SLPs). SLPs are given to people or families who are infected with or affected by HIV. They are designed as income generating activities that can enhance the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. The Poultry Project is one of these activities. TASO has partnered with other organizations such as Heifer International to give land, seeds, animals, sewing machines, etc, so that people can earn extra money while fighting the disease. We first went to visit a man named Joseph, who was “resurrected” by TASO (his own words). Joseph worked on the border of Uganda and Kenya before diagnosed with HIV and returning home to his village in Mbale. His CD4 count was at two (basically death’s door) before he went on ARVs through TASO, which also gave him some money to purchase some land around his house. He now has multiple fields growing all sorts of local foods, all of which he sells to make a substantial living and support his entire extended family. He is one of TASO’s biggest success stories. He thought us three white girls visiting him at his house were hilarious and wouldn’t let go of my hand the entire time we were at his house and in his fields. It was a great experience.

We made two more visits to other households during the day, one to a girl who TASO is supporting by paying her school fees, and another family that is being supported with school fees and by the provision of several hoes so they can make a garden in their backyard. The head of that household was an orphan who already had two children of her own and was taking care of her brothers and sisters. One of her own children was born with an excess of fluid in her brain and even now, as she is six years old, has a gigantic head that needs continuous medicine to keep the fluid draining. Unfortunately, “continuous” medicine is hard to come by when you live 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital by car, and you don’t own a car, or a bike. Nothing here has a quick cure, almost no one lives near enough to a hospital, let alone a doctor. TASO’s field officers spend their days in trucks and dirt bikes trying to reach these people. I can see the work is exhausting but extremely rewarding.

AIDS is everywhere in Uganda, and subsequently TASO is a household name. TASO is almost singlehandedly responsible for controlling the disease within the past 20 years in Uganda; it’s a feat that is so unbelievable many people believe that TASO practices witchcraft – this success could only be from higher powers. Our guard, Tom, spent last night telling us about how his sister is HIV+ and her children are sponsored by TASO to go to school. Everyone seems to have a story like this – the disease affects everyone, directly or indirectly; there aren’t limits to its reach like back home. It was particularly moving at the outreach on Wednesday when we were surrounded by about 300 HIV+ people – I can’t even count the people I know back home who are HIV+ on one hand. In any event, the past few days have been very fulfilling and have given me such a great appreciation of the work TASO does here.

This coming week we will be spending more time at the center, designing the monitoring and evaluation plan for the SLPs, and for Kelly’s poultry project. I will blog again with more specifics about how that process comes along! Thanks for reading!

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evaluation begins

February 10th, 2010

I am overflowing with gratitude – the GW MPH fellows have decided to conduct an evaluation of the Poultry Project.  Our project manager, Peter Welikhe, said they’re also planning a training workshop for our participants for early March.

Thank you GW fellows – your contribution to the Poultry Project is incredible!

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February 8th, 2010

Is the Poultry Project working?  Is it meeting its goal of improving the lives of children affected by HIV/AIDS and their caregivers?  How much money do they make from egg sales?  Is it enough money to make a significant difference in their lives?  Why are some families’ more successful at keeping chickens and growing their business?

We are hoping to get some answers to those questions in the coming months.  There are some George Washington University MPH students doing fellowships at TASO Mbale and they may help us conduct an evaluation!   An evaluation is long overdue and essential if we decide to scale-up and expand the project to TASO’s other 11 branches.

The evaluation will be qualitative and participatory.  We’re considering the Most Significant Change methodology (suggested by alanna from blood and milk – an intl dev blog I respect and admire).  Do you have any suggestions?  I ask that question and smile because I think I’m the only one reading this blog.  I’ll keep you posted on the evaluation.

The photo above has nothing to do with the post but I like to add an image and I don’t have any evaluation-related photos.  This photo was taken on E.105th street in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland.

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HIV/AIDS in Uganda – WSJ article

February 5th, 2010

Aid Watch, a blog I love and read often, posted “How the war on AIDS was lost” in response to a recent Wallstreet Journal article about AIDS treatment shortages and increased HIV incidence in Uganda.  Both articles describe a shortage of AIDS treatment for the increasing HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, but then point to spending on treatment rather than prevention as the cause of increasing HIV infections.

I have worked in HIV/AIDS services for almost 5 years and what I know to be true, in the US and Uganda, is that treatment and prevention are interdependent.  I also know that HIV/AIDS is a complex problem with social, economic, political and public health factors – a complex response is essential.  There is not a silver bullet solution to HIV/AIDS.  And prevention is difficult.  The WSJ article praises the Bush administration for PEPFAR, but fails to acknowledge the misguided PEPFAR prevention policies that ignored evidence-based prevention practices in favor of ideology and may have contributed to increased HIV incidence in Uganda and other PEPFAR-funded countries. Finally, the WSJ article failed to mention the innovative and effective work of The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), an indigenous AIDS service NGO in Uganda.  TASO uses a community-based approach to provide care and services to Ugandans infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Paul Farmer has spoken out against the treatment vs. prevention debate.  Here he describes the connection between structural violence and HIV, shedding light on the complexities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the need for a multi-faceted response (from Pathologies of Power):

HIV attacks the immune system in only one way, but its course and outcome are shaped
by social forces having little to do with actual virus
… From the outset of acute HIV infection to
the end game of recurrent opportunistic infections, disease course is determined by, to cite but a
few obvious factors: (1) whether or not post exposure prophylaxis is available; (2) whether or not
the steady decline in immune function is hastened by concurrent illness or malnutrition;
(3) whether or not multiple HIV infections occur; (4) whether or not TB is prevalent in the
surrounding environment; (5) whether or not prophylaxis for opportunistic infections is reliably
available; and (6) whether or not antiretroviral therapy (ART) is offered to all those needing it.

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4th qtr report 2009

January 27th, 2010

Our Poultry Project General Manager, Peter Weilkhe, compiled the following report detailing participants’ progress over the last quarter of 2009.  Currently, Peter’s reporting is the only monitoring and evaluation mechanism we have to assess the efficacy and impact of the Poultry Project.  I am posting the report to keep the Poultry Project accountable to its donors and participants.  I invite readers to offer feedback, suggestions, and commentary.


The Poultry Project that was started in 2006 for initially 20 OVC has had to expand and touch the lives of over 20 OVC and their siblings. It has been noted that the success of the program has caused recognition from government
authorities at local level, caused competition and served as a learning point for many around these areas among other strong points. By far the poultry project has had a big impact on the lives of the OVC, and their families as illustrated in this report, many have had their hope restored, got involved and learnt a lot in sustainable livelihood programming among others.  To give you a better beginning of evaluating our success, below were and are still the objectives of the program since 2006
· To ameliorate the dire situation orphans and vulnerable children find themselves
in by empowering them to become self-sufficient through active participation in
an income generating activity.
· To provide sustainable support for child-headed families and HIV+ children
through income generating activity (smallholder poultry production – layers)
· To develop skills and confidence among participants through dedicated,
responsible participation in this program, while fulfilling the mission of TASO -
contribute to a process of restoring the quality of life of persons and communities
infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
We are hopeful the future programming is going to be more informed!


(1)FAITH- Bukedea.
Faith is now a happy young and healthy girl. She is happy to receive visitors and shows a great improvement in the way she does her work. She has been promoted to primary three in the coming year 2010. The family has so far acquired a cow from the 6 goats that they had early in the year. The cow is currently pregnant. The family has retained one hen which is now laying.  How the project has benefited the family · The bicycle has helped the family transport themselves and faith to the hospital whenever they fall sick.
· The sale of 10 hens helped them meet medical bills and food for the family.
· The family has been having a balanced diet because of the eggs they eat at least 3 times a week.
· The chicken droppings have been used for manure in the kitchen garden.
· The family was able to raise 50.000= fifty thousand shillings as pocket money for Kedi Ben who is now doing a bachelor of commerce distance programme at makerere university year one
Over all the family is very happy and have hope.
Is always at school but the uncle has been running the project on her behalf when ever she is at school. Poultry is doing very well so far the family has 184 hens and harvests 12 eggs a day .and makes a tray in 3 days.  Because of his hard work in the project, he was selected by the community to benefit from the NAADS (National Agricultural Advisory Services) who have given him a fencing wire for his compound.  He sold 3 goats and paid school fees for Betty at 150.000= for the previous term. And 1 goat died.
· He was selected as a lead farmer in his area by the NAADS programme.-this he attributes to the project.
· Payment of fees for the whole year.
· Having a balanced diet for the whole family at least an egg in 2 days.
· Has a stable income of 6000= UGShs every 3 days.
· Has been able to support other siblings in basic supplies.
· Hopes to buy a cow from the hens soon.
(3)PETER-child headed home.
The home is now clean and habitable .the hens are 9 and 9 chicks and 1 goat the family. The family has been able to eat some eggs regularly although they could not remember exactly how many. The bicycle is still in running condition and supports in domestic work besides helping peter take his firewood to the market and family to health unit besides collecting food for peter and his family. He sold 2 sheep and 3 goats to buy food for the family during the famine period
in the area. There was a lot of drought that affected the crops and yield was so poor. The family is happy the project rescued them.  The eggs supplement locally grown food.  Peter is now happy and busy tilling the land again for next year.
His major challenge is the jealous villagers who want to encroach on his land.
Has been promoted to senior four although with a poor grade div 4.  The family has used the aggregate they bought from the ground nut business to put up a ring beam on their house.  They lost all their birds to Newcastle disease and so far have 2 goats.  The challenge was during drought, most of the profits from the business were used to buy food for the family which is so extended totalling to 11.  Agnes also looks to be struggling in school. We are planning a discussion with
her director of studies early next year to see if we could iron out the issues surrounding her performance especially that she is going to a candidate class senior 4.the other option will be to support her do a skills course if she is not able
to handle the formal education.
Jude has 2, cocks, 6 hens and 1 goat. From their garden, the harvest was not so much only a basin of ground nuts due to drought. The family currently survives on the cassava and potatoes they had planted. Jude got only 4 points at school out of a possible 19 points. He attributed that performance to the many issues at home where his little sister Maria who was attending a primary teacher’s course at ST Mary’s eloped with a man, got pregnant and sold some food wanting to abort. She later moved away from home to unknown destination but rumours indicate she has eloped with a boyfriend who is yet to be identified.  The other challenge to the family was the grandmothers house got burnt and after collective support from the community, a new one was built which barely lasted 5 days and was burnt by a wild candle bringing the number to 2 burnt houses in an environment of OVC who have little they can do.
Achievements from the project.
· Sells some eggs to buy the domestic requirements to support Christy.
· Source of food.
· Have a cassava garden which is serving them hopefully up to Jan 2010
3 hens and 18 chicks. She has also acquired a sheep at 45000= and has enabled the family enjoy a balanced diet when it comes to selling and eating the eggs and the proceeds of the sales.  Esther is also doing well in school and has been promoted to senior 3.  Esther’s untie has also started a ground nut business as can be seen in the photo that will be sent in Jpeg.she says she started this business after acquiring the ideas from the workshop and meetings with colleagues.
Her siblings have fully embraced the project and so far have 16 hens. And 1 goat.  The bicycle is supporting them with domestic work as the person who was ridding got another business to do.they have always sold eggs to get food and
also eating part of them. They look healthy and happy.

Given their location, poultry is always stolen. They have resorted to using their bicycle to do casual work for a pay which they use to feed themselves. They have been supplementing that with cassava from their garden. The boys are not
interested in going to school for formal education as they say they are too big for the classes and some times they don’t pick what the teachers are teaching. In our assessment if possible we are thinking of linking one of the boys to a skills
builder for example a tailor to help him get the basic skills and there after support him do some business which the rest can support/be supported .
Was not at home for the last time we visited and according to reports she could have gone to Kampala to work as a house girl. Kampala is the capital city of Uganda where many young girls and boys admire to go. The care taker says from the sale of the bicycle, they bought 2 goats.
Is a happy and hopeful young child. she was promoted to primary two and so far has 2 goats and 3 hens.shamim and the grand mother have always had a balanced diet and supplemented their food with an egg once a week.
They hope that with time, they will get a cow from their project.
TO VISIT IN January when the ground is dry.
(12)DOREEN -not visited due to bad weather. We hope to visit in January when the ground is dry.
The family has 5 hens .the bicycle has been able to support them pay fees for Sandra,. the fees include lunch and breakfast. They have also been able to provide for her scholastic materials from the bicycle earnings. They appreciate the poultry project so much for it has helped them reduce on the dependence burden.
They have moved to another place which is yet to be located .
So far has 12 hens and had their goat stolen. They however plan to buy another one from the chicken they have. They have now moved to the new site after the land issue was resolved and the old woman together with Rashid allowed to stay
in the proposed site.a temporary structure was erected as Juma about to complete the roofing of the other structure .photos will be coming early January.
Was 9th in class out of 67 and promoted to primary six in the coming year 2010.his other sibling Joan had and average 40 in class and was also promoted to primary 2,the other sister Evelyn sat for primary leaving examinations. The family is now happy in their new house .they have one goat and 3 hens.they sold 2 hens and supported themselves with food when conditions were too hard. As of now the family is happy and planning to set up a kitchen and structure for the goat.
Was not available at home during the first quarter report as he had gone to Kampala to look for some jobs there but came back as he was not getting. He has 1 goat and a calf from the bicycle. He is hopeful the two items can help him
have some bigger assets in the coming future. Currently he is planning to hire some gardens and plant some crops for next year. As par the other domestic social bit of life, he divorced with his wife and that is one of the reasons the home was deserted in the early part of the year 2009
(18) YEKOSOPHAT-sironko
Was promoted to primary four with an average of 90% in eight subjects.yekosophat is hardworking at home as well as he spends most of the time looking for food for his two bulls. He also has 1 hen. Most of the last three months, the mother khainza has been attending to the young one who has been sick but by the time o the visit, the baby was fine. The family is very hopeful that come next year their bulls will be paired with other bulls inn the village to do ploughing and all that comes with increased food security for the family. They appreciate the project so much.
(19) ERIC
Had cough at the time of visit 17th Dec 2009 but was happy and able to perform other duties at home. Eric so far has two cows at home .the proceeds from the bicycle was added on to the goats and another bull was bought. This means Eric has a heifer and a bull from the project. The family also has 8hens and 2 goats from the project. He did not perform well in primary one and will repeat next year. Eric’s mother Sophie is planning to marry again early next year to another person of the same status. She has requested for drama group to be there on her ceremony and will update you on the developments.
Happy with the project and so far has 12 hens .her bicycle has been supporting to take her to the clinic quite often and has been supplementing her diet from the poultry project, eats an egg in 2 days and is healthier despite the many trips to
the clinic.
His sibling together with the grand mother have been able to continue with the project and so far have 3 goats from the project. This goat was procured from the sale of chicken when it was pregnant. The two kittens were born after as will be
seen in the jpeg that will be sent separately. Simon who replaced late Anania was promoted to primary six .

(22)MICHAEL.  The family encountered a misfortune early December when their house was burnt to ashes. They are currently at a neighbors place until early next year as we plan rehabilitation exercise.

The family has 12 hens and has been happy to have sold eggs to buy domestic requirements. Emma repeated primary seven and sat for his exams. We wait for his results early 2010.the family has also been mobile a little during November
and December while attending to their sick grandmother

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new year, new blog

January 25th, 2010

Thank you for visiting our new blog.  The Poultry Project, in collaboration with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) Mbale branch, is beginning its fourth year of operations in Mbale, Uganda.  Our organization helps families affected by HIV/AIDS start their own sustainable smallholder poultry businesses. The families we work with are comprised of children that have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illness, have HIV, and/or are being raised by an older sibling, a grandparent, or another relative.  Each family receives chickens, poultry vaccines, a bicycle, training and ongoing support from the Poultry Project and TASO. The chickens are raised as free-range layers and the eggs are sold and eaten. Families keep 100% of the profits from their poultry businesses. They use the money to pay for basic needs and school fees. We currently work with 26 families living in the Mbale region.
We are busy finishing our website and applying for 501(c)(3) charitable organization status.  Check this blog for updates and become a fan of the Poultry Project on Facebook.

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The Poultry Project

October 4th, 2008

vaskas bro rooster.jpg
The Poultry Project is in it’s third year and currently supporting over 20 families affected by HIV/AIDS in Mbale, Uganda through a sustainable agriculture slash microenterprise initiative.
We are currently working on our website,
We encourage you to take a moment to visit the Africa 101 Project website to learn about an amazing HIV/AIDS activist’s heroic journey – Suzanne Engo is running from NYC to Chicago to remind people about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She stopped in Cleveland today to show her support at the AIDS Walk. Go to:
Oceans of gratitude to you and yours for your continued support of The Poultry Project.
When one is infected, we are ALL affected.

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Praise the bridge that carried you over…

September 7th, 2008

We want to extend a sincere thank you to our friends and family members who have given us support and love during our stay here in Uganda.
The donations raised this year were more than we ever anticipated.
With the donations we received, we were able to purchase goats, chickens, ox plows, add five new beneficiaries, fix leaky roofs, construct structures for livestock and continue the Poultry Project.
Above all, we were able to shine a light on the lives of many children who often go unnoticed. By sharing their stories, we have given them a voice.
But, we are mere messengers and you are the people who acted. It is because of your benevolence and generosity that anything has happened here.
Thank you,
Jerry Raffa
Stelio and Katie Flamos
Susie and Dave Pavlick
Ron Marshall
Susie & Dan Lee
Belterra Casino
North End Yoga
Alicia Orr
Allessandra Miele
Loretta Bowlby
Mary Jo Barr
Sheila Bray
Emil Alecusan
Carly Pavlick
Katie Pavlick
Mary Grace and Bill Pavlick
Andy Johnson
Sarah Wineland
Lauren Alviti
We will be forever changed by this experience and ceaselessly grateful to our friends and family for being such good people.
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September 7th, 2008

September 2nd
Today we met with TASO’s Senior Management team at the Ugandan Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe.
During the meeting we discussed our work with the Poultry Project and the possibility of expanding the program to the other branches.
The meeting went very well. The board was so impressed by the growth and progress made and the many successes shared by the beneficiaries. They also expressed their deep appreciation and admiration of Kelly Flamos and Julian Harris for taking the initiative to implement such a program that has changed the lives of so many vulnerable children.
Lastly, they were equally grateful for the many caring friends and family members we have back in the states and thank you for your compassion and continued support.
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Joe, Emily, Tina Achila (Dir. of Psycho-Social Programs), Juliet Tembe (Chairperson Board of Trustees), Harriet Wanyoto Mabonga (Dir. of Advocacy), and Rober Ochai (Executive Director TASO)
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Fixing a hole where the rain gets in

September 7th, 2008

August 31st
Today was our last day in Mbale and we had one last stop to make.
We went to Hanania’s house to check on the new roof.
When we walked around the bend of the dirt path, standing out behind the thick green bushes, was a shiny tin roof glistening in the sun.
The family greeted us and proudly showed us their new roof.
Their happiness is attributed to our friends and family who have generously reached out their hands to help the greater good. Thank you all for you donations, you have helped this family, given them shelter, and renewed their hope in a better day.
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The new roof is responsible for their smiles – and the glare in the picture.
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The new roof.
As we drove away from the late Hanania’s home, we all felt at ease. It was a great way to leave Mbale and begin our next journey. We are in Kampala and staying at a magnificent hotel – it will be nice to relax after three weeks of hard work.
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On our way to Kampala the driver stopped to buy goat meat kabobs. This billboard towered over the streetside food market.
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We also got to see the Nelson Mandela Stadium, home to the national football team.
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And we saw advertisements that would get very few responses if posted in an American city.

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September 7th, 2008

August 30th
The Workshop was today!! Every single participant showed up, some came with their aunts or uncles, some came with their siblings and few came alone. They all received a Poultry Project T shirt and they wore them proudly.
We introduced the new participants and the new organization model. There are now a total of 28 participants and they will be separated into divisions of 5-7, based upon where they live. The divisions are Bukedea/Kumi, Mbale 1, Mbale 2, Sironko 1, and Sironko 2. Each division will be lead by a chairperson who was chosen for their outstanding work throughout the first two years of the Project.
The divisional system is important for two major reasons. First, the beneficiaries are required to attend monthly divisional meetings, led by the chairperson. There, they will have the opportunity to discuss challenges and draw upon the experiences of their colleagues. Second, each beneficiary will be required to make periodic savings deposits to a divisional bank account managed by the chairperson and Peter (General Manager). Once a beneficiary has saved a certain amount, the Poultry Project will match his or her savings. Also, a higher bench mark will be used for a second savings match and once it is met, the participant will graduate from the Project. This sets up a savings culture among the participants and enforces the idea of taking ownership of their work and small-holder farming business. It also allows us to add new participants when the current group graduates.
We are very excited about the potential of the new organizational structure and hope it will increase independence and empower the children.
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The Poultry Project
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Kedi Ben, Jude and Charles: Three incredible boys who give strength to their families and carry on the memory of their parents.
After the workshop Jude, Christy, and Kedi Ben joined us for a traditional Ugandan dinner at the Mbale Resort.
Simple things like enjoying food and hanging out with your friends are luxuries we often take for granted. Watching the kids relax and not have to worry about their problems, even if for only a night, was truly rewarding. Seeing the boys act like children, being carefree and laughing, is a memory I will always keep close to my heart.
Christy shoots pool for the first time, he was a natural.

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September 7th, 2008

August 29th
Today we made our way to Ikokole Esther’s home, a potential beneficiary. She was working in the field when we arrived, so we sat and waited under the shade of a large citrus tree.
Linda, a counselor who is notorious for stealing oranges during home visits, made use of her free time and large bamboo pole she found on the ground.
Linda had found the perfect apparatus for extracting the tiny green fruits (yes, the oranges here are green).
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Linda at work.
After feasting on the stolen oranges, Esther and her family finally arrived. We carried out the typical assessment, viewed the home and talked about the many challenges the family faces.
We learned that Esther (15 yrs) lives with her five siblings and an aunt who is HIV+.
The aunt’s health is deteriorating, and as she grows weaker, Esther is beginning to take on more responsibilities. She is currently in S1 and excels in History, French and fine arts, but paying for school fees is becoming increasingly difficult.
When we asked her if she had any plans, should her aunt pass away, she looked away and began to cry.
This may seem like a harsh subject matter to bring up, but it is essential to survival that they prepare. The children will have to bear the burdens of caring for the land, paying school fees, managing their health and food — all while providing each other with love and support.
It’s overwhelming, but this is the stark reality faced by many children here in Uganda.
So many children are living alone…
So many children are suffering…
The only thing we can do is to tackle the problem one child at a time.
Esther has been added to the Poultry Project and her 5 chickens, a bicycle and a chicken coop will be delivered to home within the next week. It’s a small offering of support, but the gesture seemed to brighten her spirits. Esther seemed genuinely happy and flashed us all a great big smile.
We then made our way over to Michael Wanabwe’s home to deliver the bulk food purchase we made at the local market. We bought Michael and his grandma 10 lbs beans, 10 lbs rice, 9 lbs posho flour, 1 lb sugar and a gallon of oil.
The food was purchased because earlier in our trip we learned that he had fallen ill due to malnutrition. He is HIV+ and on antriretroviral treatment, but the treatment is useless without food.
In the past, the family of two was receiving WFP food stipends, but with rising food prices and food shortages, the organization has withdrawn from the region and is giving support to internally displaced people in northern Uganda. Without that crucial dietary supplement, their current diet teeters between one bowl of porridge and going hungry.
When we arrived at their home, we were greeted by an overjoyed little boy who kept rubbing his teary-eyes, almost in disbelief that his friends had returned.
He was so grateful that we were there and for the food we brought that would enable him to have his first meal of the day (it was 7pm).
I tried to contain myself and not be overwhelmed. He was so thin, though. And as I stood there, looking at his little, bony arms and his stunted stature due to years of too little food, I no longer felt the weight of the bags I carried. Rather, I felt the weight of their destitute situation; the insurmountable poverty wreaking havoc on their lives.
Regardless, any pain they were experiencing was hidden behind smiles and to us they revealed only gratitude.
Right now, I hope that Michael and his grandmother are enjoying a big bowl of beans and rice, sprinkled with love.

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A beautiful mind

September 7th, 2008

August 28th
Today we met Nekesa Florence (12), who lives with her HIV+ mother in a one-room, rented home. Her father died of AIDS and she has four siblings, but neither she nor her mother knows where any of them are.
Florence is in P4 and is ranked seventh in her class. We asked how they are able to afford school fees and learned they are often waived because the faculty sees what a promising young student she is. Given her life at home, it is quite remarkable she is able to do so well.
We want Florence to continue to follow her dreams and aim high, because a great mind is a terrible thing to waste.
With the support of our friends and family, Florence will join the Poultry Project and will receive five hens, a bicycle, and a chicken coop. You have all given Florence a chance to shine. Thank you!!!
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Be good to your family

August 28th, 2008

We mentioned a couple of blogs ago that we had negotiated with the Rashid’s great uncle for a plot of land in hopes of securing a place to build a home. We returned to his home yesterday and were overjoyed to learn he and his wife decided to grant his sister the land. We viewed the plot – it is located behind the uncle’s compound and it’s perfect! Now, we must get together with our friend Juma to start the plans/construction on Rashid’s new home. We are projecting the home will cost roughly 1,000USD to complete, but we’ll worry about that tomorrow…
For the time being, we’re happy to know they have land. Things are looking up for Rashid and his Grandma.
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The man with the land.
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Rashid and his brother Nick.
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The land.
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Rashid’s new backyard.

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August 28th, 2008

We have decided it is time for the Poultry Project to expand and hope to add 8 more families before we leave. In order to select new beneficiaries, we have asked the TASO counselors to compile a list of 12 or so clients who they feel are in the greatest need of support. After viewing the home’s, talking with the clients, and comparing the families, we will decide who will become a beneficiary. Today we visited the homes of Nakowonbi Annet, and Kitvi Caroline and Apolot Manuel.
Annet was our fist stop. She’s a beautiful 12 year old girl who is HIV positive. Margaret, a counselor, wanted to stop by because she has been skipping her treatment at TASO.
We talked with Annet and she told us of her challenges – she has no transportation to the center, she eats 1-2 very small meals a day, has a painful eye infection and can do minimal housework because she is too weak and experiences chest pains.
The family currently earns money twice a week from the mother’s efforts; she cook’s for pay on Saturdays and Mondays.
They have no livestock and small banana orchard.
When Annet has time to be a kid, she enjoys playing hide and seek with her friends and English is her favorite subject.
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Caroline was the next client we visited, she is 7 years old, and HIV+. Her mother died of AIDS and she is currently being raised by her grandmother, while her negligent father lives next door and gives minimal parental support or love to his five children. The grandmother is raising thirteen children and is struggling to provide them with food, pay for school fees, and attend to their medical needs. She is furious with Caroline’s father for not taking her to TASO for her medication and also informed us that he has not had Caroline’s younger siblings tested for HIV. The grandmother supports herself and the children through various activities (digging, selling crops, eggs, etc); she has 22 chickens and 5 goats.
The next home we went to was horrible. I have no other words to describe it.
Apolot Manuel is the mother and is HIV+; she moved here from Western Uganda 5 years ago after the death of her husband and has no family support.
She has 4 children: Evelyn 13, Emanuel 10, Joann 7, and Isaac 2 months. None of the children have been tested for HIV, the mother stopped taking her ARVs, and continues to breastfeed for lack of a better option.
(She stopped taking her ARVs when she became severely anemic last week, which resulted in her having a blood transfusion)
Her children live on a plot of land that is insufficient for growing food; the son told us they eat porridge once a day. The family shares a 2 room home, the mother, baby and girls sleep in the same room, while the son occupies a shack behind the house.
All of the children are enrolled in school, Emanual and Evelyn are doing poorly, Joann is in p1 and receives fair-good marks.
The family has three goats and the mother and children dig for hire to earn money.
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Emmanual, Manuel (the mother), Isaac, Joann, and Evelyn.
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Emanual sits in the families 2-room house. This first room is multi-purpose; it serves as the kitchen, storage room, and home to their 3 goats. The goats urinate on the floor and eat the family’s food, but are not left outside due to the fear of theft.
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The roof.
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The two month old baby was asleep on the foam mattress he shares with his mother. Joann and Evelyn sleep on the ground next to the foam mattress.
After viewing the home, Emmanual walked us over to the shack where he sleeps. His bed is a bamboo mat that lies over a hard dirt floor and he has no misquito net.
He stood in the doorway as we walked into his little room and took pictures. He is a responsible boy, he helps his mother, he lives outside of the home to make room for his sisters, and he wants to get an education.
Although he has very little to call his own, he takes care of the few items he does have. His room was swept and his one dress outfit hung from a wire above the dirt floor.
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Emmanuel’s bed is a bamboo mat.
This family has been selected to participate in the Poultry Project and measurements have been taken to repair their home. We are waiting for a quote from Juma.
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We were all very sad on our way home and Margaret lightened the mood by telling us how she went to the bank the day before and unknowingly wore two different shoes – one had a really high heel and the other was flat.
This story made me think of my grandmother who once used red lip liner to fill in her eyebrows; my sister Theresa claims she did this more than once…

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August 28th, 2008

August 25th
We have given Jude money to finish the construction of his shed where the goats and chickens will stay. The growth of their animal count has been stalled because the animals have been staying inside their home to prevent theft and disease. We anticipate the completion of this structure will allow the project to prosper and will alleviate some of the burden Christy will soon bear. Christy will be living in the home all alone while his oldest siblings attend boarding school; his sister Speciosa (15 yrs & 7 months pregnant) has been staying with Christy, but recently moved out and is living with her boyfriend.
Thus, Christy must maintain the entire household by himself – he’s 13.
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A change is gonna come…

August 27th, 2008

25 August 2008 (Day 13)
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We will begin construction of Hanania’s roof today!
Juma, our contractor, is standing in front of the home after taking measurements. Juma works at CURE Hospital, where we are staying. He has kindly agreed to help us with the construction of chicken coops, livestock structures, and home repairs for the beneficiaries. We are so happy we met him!

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act now