Women Matter

The focus of these programs is to encourage women to be involved in an activity that promotes self-empowerment. We also work with the men indirectly so that they will accept the diversion of women's roles as a benefit to the health and prosperity of the community. It is always the aim of these programs to initiate change in a fashion that is most cooperative with the existing culture.

Poultry Program

poultryWhen KI donated the first draft animals to the small village of Yua (Ghana), the responsibility of their care and feeding was given to the men. In most African countries it is rare for a woman to be allowed to own oxen. Nonetheless, the women were very anxious to begin their own animal program and participate in anything that would help feed their village. Akunz, our project coordinator in Ghana and the President of KI worked with over one hundred Yua women to form the “Woman’s Poultry Program.”

In the past years, the men who had owned over 2000 roosters and hens, never used the eggs for food. Instead, they were strictly used for hatching as to produce chickens to be sold at the market. As a result, this prolific source of protein was overlooked.

With the formation of the poultry program, the women realized they now had a forum to discuss not only the successful outcomes of this new opportunity, but the possible problems as well. After being given a little encouragement to speak honestly, they became quite vociferous in offering comments. One woman told us that the men didn’t want the children to be fed eggs for fear that in hard times the children would resort to stealing them from others.

chicken coopThe women agreed that the solution was to own their own poultry and use the eggs from them as a food source. They also agreed to teach their children not to steal. Each woman in the program eagerly committed to feeding at least one egg per day to her child if KI would provide the roosters and hens. They also agreed to the health and welfare maintenance that came with that decision. Therefore, a small group of women participated in training in gentle handling vaccination techniques to ensure the health of future poultry.

The Benefits

This program was created to provide a new and constant source of protein while teaching animal welfare for poultry (i.e. proper housing, feeding, vaccinating and handling) it also enabled women to own their own animals and therefore contribute to the prosperity of the community. One of the improvements that were made to strengthen the hen houses against weather was also adopted to fortify some of the villager’s homes that were made out of similar materials.

Birthing Center

mother and childA small but clean clinic sits on the edge of the village of Yua, located 14 hours away from Accra, Ghana (the capitol). The clinic consists of four rooms, an outside central gathering place and a similar building across the courtyard where a nurse and her carpenter husband live. One room is dedicated to mothers giving birth. The government supplied the building and simple wooden benches (like a picnic bench) for the women to lie on while they go through labor.

The clinic nurse explained to our KI president (Jan Mitchell) that many women choose to be on the floor when they deliver because it is less painful than the bench. Although she considered herself very lucky to have plastic covers so that the benches could stay continually clean, she admitted that some day they hoped to afford a mattress to put on the floor. The cost of a plastic covered mattress was about $25. The smiles on the women's faces when they learned that KI had bought one for the clinic; priceless.

   

Benefits

At such a powerful moment, not only is the comfort of the mother giving birth enhanced, but it is a softer and “kinder” landing for the little person arriving.

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