In developing countries, women and children are often the members of the household responsible for raising small livestock, such as poultry and dairy animals, which provide a critical source of food and household income. However, production levels for these animals tend to be low due to mismanagement and diseases. That’s why better poultry health can be an important factor in empowering women and promoting food security and good nutrition for families.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Adapting Livestock Systems to Climate Change, led by Colorado State University, is working to empower women with better poultry management skills. Through a project led by Innovation Lab collaborator Dr. David Bunn from the University of California, Davis, poultry health education is expanding for women and students in Tanzania and Nepal.
To improve the current day-to-day care of poultry flocks, Bunn, who is also the director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry, partnered with local Peace Corps volunteers to conduct a five-day, hands-on poultry skills training course in Tanzania. Women poultry keepers learned how to sustainably care for, feed, shelter and manage their flocks. These new skills will enable them to prevent and manage problems such as Newcastle disease, a common poultry affliction that can kill up to 80 percent of a flock.
To improve small-scale poultry production for the long term, Bunn also designed and implemented a poultry skills education curriculum for local schools. The program is designed to lead to more productive farming and raising systems by connecting the classroom with at-home poultry production. School teachers have trained more than 600 students in Tanzania, and more than 400 students in Nepal. These children learned about poultry disease prevention, vaccination procedures, housing and feeding of chicks, and basic husbandry practices.
This Innovation Lab project, with its multi-level approach, aims to equip families with the knowledge and skills they need to improve their livelihoods and long-term food security and nutrition.