Passing on the Gift

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Passing On the Gift (POG) is a Samaritanian initiative which involves bringing a small community together to share scarce resources in a very judicious manner. Belo is one of such communities in the North West of Cameroon that has benefitted from a Covenant World Relief (CWR)-USA grant in local chickens, sheep and goats. and is being implemented by SIRDEP.Image

Sensitising the Community members about the project.

The project involves over a 100 farm families that have been brought together to fellowship, share knowledge and gain management abilities in  the rearing of local poultry , sheep and goats so as to improve social, spiritual and physical wellbeing of the members. It is our hope that this project will bring social and economic leverage to many families and cushion the burden of rural poverty. Above all we expect that over a 100 farm families will earn spiritual fulfilment and draw close to God.

Many women in the community have strong social bonds with local chickens. A hen in Kom land can be the only available collateral that a woman may have. It provides eggs as a source of protein and a chicken cooked as kati kati (traditional delicacy) is served in special occasions like marriages which symbolize strong cultural attachment and bonding between the couple and their families. A family gift to a new born baby is usually a healthy young female hen or goat which symbolizes continuity and future wellbeing.

Unfortunately, over the years, local flocks of poultry have been considerably decimated by diseases, predators (hawks, dogs and wild animals) and theft. This has inadvertently made it difficult for most households to own a hen and the cultural practice of giving a hen to a loved one is fast disappearing.

Eggs provide the only source of noble protein available to most households in these communities especially for children and pregnant women and the cost of an egg is about 100frs on the local market.

The POG concept provides a simple logical approach whereby families can burrow a hen, care for it and return the gift in two ways-

1.       By offering 2 pullets to the Group’s demonstration Unit from each hen/hatch

2.       By belonging and actively participating in a family Cluster Unit which includes caring for the gift of hen or sheep and fellowshipping with group members

The farm families will benefit from free vaccinations, health care and management training provided to their stocks free of charge.

The program has already started with rehabilitating an abandoned school block belonging to the Cameroon Baptist Convention, Belo Field and fencing the school field to secure the sheep and planting forage. The poultry unit will consist of a hen-house with laying boxes and a section for brooding young chicks.

Image

Some community children with goats provided by the project.

The project has increased awareness on why Christians most be good stewards of God given resources and provides regular fora for family leadership and communion. The community is very hopeful that this project will help in improving the wellbeing of their families to the Glory of God.

Our greatest limitation is in the area of providing rearing and brooding cages for Cluster Units to safeguard against theft and predators. It is possible that 30-40 % of the flocks can be lost due to predators and improving management requires proper housing and bio-security measures. On the other hand vaccination and proper management can improve the laying capacity of a local hen from 10 to 40 eggs per year and reduce mortality by 70%.

We have set up 5 cluster units to host 50 hens and the cost of a wooden cage will cost about 50,000fcfa (100 USD) per cluster unit. Any support for this activity is greatly welcome.

The POG also provides a holistic approach and an avenue to helping families support themselves in order to be self fulfilling and also support others in the near future. SIRDEP will be grateful for any support to scale up the program and possibly expand it to other communities of the North West Region.


 

 

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About SIRDEP
The Society for Initiatives in Rural Development and Environmental Protection (SIRDEP) is non-governmental, not-for-profit making organization in Cameroon head quartered in Bamenda. SIRDEP has a multi-disciplinary team of experienced agronomists, agro-economists, livestock technicians, rural engineers, and natural resource management experts who work together to foster positive, sustainable development. SIRDEP was founded in 1992 and is one of the oldest indigenous NGOs in the North West Region of Cameroon.

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