For an HIV+ child, taking medications is essential to successful treatment and these medicines should not be taken without food. At AFCA, we see food as part of treatment and we call it Nutrition by Prescription.  We want to make sure that all the children who need it, receive the food they need to take their medicine, to thrive, and to grow.

Sustainable solutions

Prolonged instability in the Zimbabwean economy over the past years, along with a severe drought, has left many homes vulnerable, without food and other basic necessities, especially child-headed homes. Even orphanages and other children’s’ homes are suffering due to a lack of funding. With this in mind, and not wanting to foster a welfare mentality, AFCA has started providing sustainable food solutions to these entities, including Family Harvest Village, a children’s home in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

A chicken coop holding 1000 egg layers has already been built and established at Family Harvest Village.  The eggs sold to local restaurants and individuals have provided much-needed cash to the orphanage to cover items like medicine, food, school fees, and other needs. Eggs are given to each of the children at the home on a daily basis because they need the protein and fat for optimal brain development. The children’s school attendance, performance, and energy levels have improved since they started eating an egg per day.  This one coop is also giving eggs to other orphanages in the city.

More supply needed

Due to the exceptional quality of eggs produced, the need/demand for good protein, and the above average outcomes, AFCA will build a second coop that can hold 1000 hens.  AFCA’s chicken coops are large, with concrete flooring and tin roof, multi-level tables with steps which allow the animals to walk around freely and not be caged up. A storage unit is part of the coop, holding feed, water, a generator, egg trays, and anything the chickens might need in a country where electricity and water are not always available.  A room for a guard is also included in the building of the coop, with the guard keeping potential vandals away at night. The total cost for such a project is $25,000, with 1000 laying chickens costing and additional $10,000.

The $3000 raised through this site will help pay for a portion of the costs, with the rest raised through other endeavors. We have received some funding thanks to generous end-of-the year donation, but this fundraiser will allow us to fully fund the project.

The eggs from this coop will be given to school children identified as needing additional nutrition. Most of the children will be HIV+, but no child will be identified as either HIV positive or negative.  ALL needy children will receive the benefit of eggs.  It’s a neat way to include an entire group of children without having to single anyone out!

Monitoring the project

AFCA believes in transparency and in financial accountability.  With this in mind, we keep a close eye on our projects, receiving monthly reports (including financial reports and outcomes), photos, videos, and updates to ensure that the project is moving forward as it should and that the beneficiaries are getting what we promised them. Children are monitored to make sure that they are, indeed, receiving the eggs and are benefiting from the gift.  Since we are creating a sustainable solution to hunger, we make sure that half the profits from sales are injected back into the orphanage hosting the chicken project, while the other half is saved for the purchase of new birds, when needed.

A minimum of one visit a year from AFCA’s Executive Director allows us to see first-hand how the children and chickens are doing, while giving us a chance to audit finances in person and reconciling all aspects of the project to make sure it is functioning well and as planned.  Constant communication via skype, email and whatsapp also takes place, keeping us all up to date on how the children are and how finances are being managed. All receipts are kept in our head office, where they have been reconciled by AFCA’s finance director.

Building from successful experience

AFCA has extensive experience in this type of project, having run other livelihoods projects in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We firmly believe that everyone can do something to help themselves, but we all need a little hand up.  This project is just that.  With good food in their bellies, HIV positive and negative children will have the chance to get an education. We know that less school is missed when children eat well and they are better able to concentrate on their work. Their improved health also means that the families and orphanages avoid expenses of additional medicine and doctor fees.

Please show your support! 

Johnson&Johnson have a wonderful match for donations up to $250 if pledges are made here. In the two minutes it takes you to pledge, no matter the amount, you show the staff and children at Harvest Family Village that there are people who care.  If you opt in, we will send you updates about the difference you helped make.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our children!