Going to work on an egg


January 11th, 2013

To find out how a very small project can show so much meaning about the real values of rural poor people, which make them happy and give meaning to their lives, read about the day I made a visit which made that day exceptional.

My visit to Silkyay village in the rural area of Kassala was a routine field visit like many others but my encounter with a woman called Nafisa changed that visit into an inspirational lesson.

Nafisa is involved in Practical Action’s “chicken for eggs” project.  This aims to enhance nutrition and provide income for poor households.  She has 20 hens in her small, clean den, and managed and cleaned this den every day, until she began producing 20 eggs per day.  Some of these she consumes and the rest she sells. The day I met Nafisa happiness overwhelmed her and joyfully she told me that now she has work, and she owns something, she has control of her life.

In the beginning she faced difficulties marketing her produce in her village, because people weren’t used to eating eggs.  The varieties of food they ate were very limited –  mainly porridge and milk and this culture led them to refuse anything unfamiliar and prevented them from having a healthy and diversified diet.

Nafisa started introducing the egg as a main meal in her own house, as breakfast for her children before school.  Then she began an awareness campaign about the nutritional value of eggs.  Gradually the skeptical village changed to be less hesitant. In a short period the whole village began to depend on eggs for breakfast.  Nafisa proudly stated that now she alone cannot supply the increasing demand and has other five women working in this project.

Nafisa said that now she feels appreciated by her family and community, and she is happy about the simple tangible change her project introduced to the life of the people in the village. The happiness of Nafisa and her pride at her achievement taught me that helping women to access and control  resources, is the right approach for justice and for improving the status of women and mothers in our communities. Productive work gives women a proud feeling of ownership and control of their resources as Nafisa reflected as she enthused about her hens.

The change happened when people began buying eggs after being convinced of their nutritional value.  This taught me the meaning and practicality of such small activities when they relate to people’s real needs.

Before concluding this story, I would like to tell you about my own experience when I bought some eggs from Nafisa and cooked them myself.  I learned something else important – that the home-produced egg from this village is a natural egg, free of chemicals and is tastier and more beneficial than the ones we purchase from markets which are produced by companies using chemicals and hormone injections.

How inspiring are these small works when powered by a strong will and the strength of women like Nafisa!

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