What do your holiday traditions look like? Across cultures, many traditions begin and center around cooking and food. In several weeks, families and friends will be gathering to celebrate Christmas here in the US and in many other parts of the world, cooking up delicious feasts and spending time with one another to celebrate the end of 2020 and the beginning of a new year.

For most rural villages in Senegal, chicken is eaten for holidays and special occasions because of its high price in both money and time. For the community of Yougouré, feeding your family poultry meant leaving your children behind in the village for a day while you traveled to the weekly market over 10 kilometers away. However, with this new poultry shed, women in Yougouré won’t need to travel to purchase poultry anymore.

Recently, 150 fluffy yellow chicks were delivered to the community of Yougouré. With the help of CREATE!’s technicians, community members had built a poultry shed with handmade cement bricks and other materials near their community garden for the chicks to live. The women of Yougouré are delighted to begin caring for the chicks in their new poultry shed! Now women can supplement the diets of their families with the chickens they raise themselves. In fact, they can even sell the extra meat to neighboring villages and earn a profit. “We have the possibility to stay with our families and gain a living,” Fatou Diop, a mother of eight from Yougouré tells us.

Using Solar Technology for Poultry Raising

Since this is Yougouré’s first time raising poultry, so CREATE!’s technicians have regular monitoring and training sessions with participants in Yougouré. The women must check on the chicks multiple times per day and regularly clean the shed. The well-constructed shed can withstand heavy rain, punishing heat, and incursions from curious (and hungry) animals. While the chicks are still young, participants in Yougouré will aim to keep the shed warm. At night, women place battery-powered lights in the poultry shed. Darkness is stressful for chicks, so illumination at night ensures that they remain healthy and calm. The women use a small solar panel to charge the lights’ battery pack during the day so that the lights can stay on throughout the night.

Taking Ownership of the Project

In order to build the shed and buy the first round of chicks, CREATE! helped Yougouré financially. However, poultry is known to be profitable in the market and the community has already set up a system to pay CREATE! back and ensure full ownership over the project. Women will care for the chickens as they grow and then, in a few months, sell the grown chickens in the market and in other nearby communities.

Thanks to your support, families in Yougouré will be able to enjoy poultry and a protein-rich diet year-round and not just during the holidays. As you gather with your own friends and family this holiday season to enjoy a meal together, think also of the families celebrating their own traditions and togetherness around the world.

From all of us here at CREATE!, we warmly wish you happy holidays in the coming weeks.