By Agatha Mali - Communications Officer, Zambia
Thirty-three-year-old Ruth is a livestock lead farmer who has benefited from World Vision’s Agriculture, Nutrition, Education and WASH* (ANEW) project. Living in a remote area of Zambia’s Western province, Ruth started her livestock farming business with only 60 chickens, and this was after passing through farming training conducted by World Vision.
The goal of the ANEW project is to help raise more than 113,000 people from farming households out of poverty, leave a legacy of improved health, literacy, and gender relations, and point children and families to a life‐changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Before training in poultry farming, Ruth did not have an interest and had little knowledge in farming: “I did not know that there is so much money in farming. In the beginning, I was not interested in anything to do with farming because I believed that I could only rear chickens and grow crops for my consumption, but after World Vision came to our area and trained us in farming, my mind was opened, and that is how I started with rearing only 60 chicken”.
Ruth shares that the teachings she attained from the training have impacted her business as she has seen a difference before and after the training. After developing interest and doing well in farming, Ruth was selected a chairperson of a farming committee that was created in Kaposhi village. With help from World Vision, she has so far trained 30 farmers in both livestock and crop farming.
She says that most farmers could not afford to support their children in schools because of the low income they used to earn from their little produce: “We adopted the traditional farming method, and now we have slowly started seeing a difference as our incomes have started improving, unlike in the past”.
Ruth further observes that World Vision’s transformational work has led to improved livelihoods, adding that there are better crops and viable livestock farming through Farming God’s Way.
“Livestock feed is made using a traditional method by mixing available supplements like moringa leaves, sunflower seed, and aloe vera plants that are added to the mash for poultry. This has led to larger and more marketable chickens because they are free from diseases and healthy,” she says.
For Ruth, sales have grown from one chicken to about five to 10 chickens weekly as a result of larger and more marketable chickens. From the 60 chickens she started with, she now has over 120 chickens and has diversified to rearing goats and cattle. Proceeds from her ventures go towards her 14-year-old child’s education. Two nieces and her mother are other family members whose livelihoods she also supports.
Ruth is also a member of the World Vision-supported savings group from which she got capital to start the farming business. She says that her dream is to see her community transform by having large-scale farmers who will take care of their families and the country. She hopes that neighbouring communities can also benefit from the same knowledge and bring poverty to an end.
“It makes me happy to see that the people I trained in farming are improving and doing well in their farming businesses,” she concludes “My dream is to see our community empowered and transformed with farmers growing crops for sale to larger markets".
*WASH = Water, Sanitation and Hygiene