Gifts in action

Chickens changing lives

Mariam Maussa and her daughter, Aisha, collect eggs from some of the chickens being raised by women who have formed a co-op. Maussa is the leader of the co-op. Photo: Ella Dickinson/Oxfam

Miriam Maussa’s chicken cooperative is bringing women in her community together.

With climate change, the droughts in Chad are getting longer and rainfall less predictable, making farming an ever more precarious enterprise for people living in this landlocked country. But a degree of security has now marched—on two bony legs topped by a bundle of feathers—into the life of Mariam Maussa, a mother of seven children.

With Oxfam’s help, she has started a chicken cooperative.

“I used to keep chickens in my house, but I couldn’t rear enough to feed my family and the community,” said Maussa. “I thought it would be better to get the women together to form a co-op, so I asked Oxfam for support.”

Maussa is now leader of the co-op, which manages a large flock. Co-op members are responsible for breeding and raising the chickens, spotting disease, vaccinating the birds, and regulating egg production.

“When I first suggested the idea to the women they said ‘Mariam has gone mad’,” she recalled. “But now the women see that the project is working. Even people from other communities come to see it. … We are very focused on our work.”

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