Eggs for Kids

With the help of the Canadian Ape Alliance, a group of Congolese widows has formed a cooperative to run a poultry farm. They can now provide for their families—and help protect endangered gorillas in the long run.

The problem:

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are no social safety nets for the widows of guards who protect gorillas at Kahuzi-Biega Park. In addition, local schoolchildren—whose diet lacks essential nutrients, including protein—suffer from malnutrition, increasing their susceptibility to parasites and infections.

The solution:

Establish a worker-owned poultry-raising cooperative and provide an egg a day to children attending a local nursery school.

The philosophy:

Enrich the lives of human inhabitants to help ensure the long-term survival of the lowland gorillas who live in the surrounding forest.

The benefits:

  1. The women learn to manage a small-business enterprise.
  2. They earn much-needed income to feed their families.
  3. Children get nutritious eggs to augment their school-meal program.
  4. The community will see an alternative wood-stove design that uses 70 percent less wood, used to boil the eggs.
  5. The gorillas are less likely to be hunted and their habitat less likely to be damaged or destroyed by human encroachment.

How does it work?

  1. Funds to build the henhouses, buy the initial stock of chickens, give training and get the enterprise going were provided by Zerofootprint (Toronto). A second flock has been provided by the Holy Angels SAGE group from Buffalo, New York.
  2. Acting through the DRC-based organization Strong Roots Congo, the Canadian Ape Alliance is helping to make sure the program becomes fully independent and self-sustaining.
  3. Canadian Ape Alliance guarantees the widows a market for their eggs by purchasing an egg a day for each child at Kahuzi-Biega Environmental School. Funds to buy the eggs has been provided largely by James Brooks and his 1000 Classrooms program.
  4. You can help ensure the success of this program by donating to the Canadian Ape Alliance. Donations are tax-deductible and tax receipts are issued through the University of Toronto Great Ape Fund.
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