Empowering women and youth in Rwanda through poultry farming

Poultry farming, as supported by the NICE Project, is transforming communities in Rwanda. Its innovative social business model benefits women and youth, allowing them to achieve economic stability and food security.

In Rusizi district, the Ejoheza Bugarama Poultry Cooperative have received 1,000 egg-laying hens and feed to start their activities. Made up of 17 members –12 women and 5 men– the cooperative initially struggled with broiler chicken farming, lacking expertise and facing challenges in meat production. Since their collaboration with NICE, they have received training and assistance that helped improve their practices and set up sustainable poultry farming. Each cooperative member receives a monthly stipend, has access to healthcare through medical insurance, not to mention access to nutritious eggs, which improves the quality of their diet.

Members of Ejoheza Cooperative in Rusizi district. Photo: Sandra Nadège/Sight and Life

With a successful production of 800 eggs per day, the cooperative has started selling eggs, while making them affordable for the community. They have since been actively involved in community development projects, supporting each other in cooperative spirits. As Ejoheza plans to expand their activities, they look back with gratitude towards the continuing assistance and advice provided by NICE, and the significant impact it has had on their lives and community.

Today, Ejoheza’s progress boasts many benefits for the community, particularly in terms of their children’s education. Bugarama sector, where Ejoheza Cooperative is located, has flourished thanks to an increase in the local consumption of eggs and improved livelihoods, with additional sales from egg surplus.

Zawadi Nyiramihanda, a member of Ejoheza holding a crate of eggs. Photo: Sandra Nadège/Sight and Life

We sell these eggs to local people, and each member receives eggs twice a month. I thank NICE because before, we were solely focused on raising broiler chicken, but it will now support us because every member contributes, and with teamwork and progress, we intend to go further. Our aim is to acquire more egg-laying hens to expand our activities. We also want every member to receive eggs every two weeks.Zawadi Nyiramihanda,

Zawadi Nyiramihanda, member of Ejoheza Cooperative

Dukatazemwiterambere A is another women’s cooperative supported by NICE in poultry farming, located in Rwimbogo sector, Rusizi. Despite initial difficulties, Dukatazemwiterambere A has considerably increased egg production to 780–800 eggs per day, thanks to the support from both male counterparts and the NICE Project. The cooperative now plans to sustainably expand chicken feed production and increase the number of egg-laying hens and acquire their own land to achieve their farming goals.

Our families used to have children who were malnourished, but with NICE’s support, our children now have a better diet, and we can even sell surplus eggs in the market 

Esperance Nirere, member of Dukatazemwiterambere A

Meanwhile in Rubavu District’s Rugerero sector, members of Abahujubumwe Youth Poultry Cooperative have also had their lives changed through poultry farming.

We started this endeavor when I was unemployed, with nothing to do at home. At that time, we were mainly engaged in chicken farming meat, but NICE project supported us with egg-laying hens. They supported us from the start, providing feed until our hens started laying eggs. They helped us to market our eggs, and I started making a living

Assia Mukaperezida, member of Abahujubumwe Youth Poultry Cooperative

In almost two years of working together, we have seen remarkable improvements, learnt financial management and diversified our activities thanks to a new business plan. Thanks to monthly allocations and savings, we are now developing our activities, focusing not only on financial assistance, but also on comprehensive training in best farming practices. The cooperative has been transformed into a centre for community progress, creating a shop for value-added agricultural products and participating in initiatives to combat malnutrition. Grateful for the support provided by the NICE project, we look forward to further growth and collaboration.

Nzayisenga Theoneste explains Abahujubumwe Youth Poultry Cooperative’s transition, facilitated by support from the NICE Project

Theoneste Nzayisenga is collecting eggs from the coop in Rubavu district. Photo: Sandra Nadège/Sight and Life

The impact of poultry farming extends significantly and has increased livelihoods and boosted local economies in both Rubavu and Rusizi. Through careful management of resources and astute business practices, farmers supported by the NICE project prove the potential for holistic community development.