Humble chicken
provides security
nest egg

Dr Eliza Smith, a UQ veterinary graduate, outlines the impact of the Kyeema Foundation and how it makes a difference in the African country of Malawi.

Most people in Australia simply cannot fathom how chickens could be so important to someone’s livelihood.

Twenty Australian dollars provides a household in Malawi with two hens, a rooster and protection from disease for a whole year.

As flocks grow, chicken meat and eggs can be sold for school fees, medical fees, more diverse household diets, reliable household energy and, more often than not, investment in the health and husbandry of the birds to further improve business prospects.

At Kyeema Foundation we most often work with women and children, as well as disability or HIV/AIDs affected households.

That’s because of the place chickens have in these communities, where they are traditionally cared for by women and require less resource and time inputs compared with other livestock.

There are incredible nutritional benefits chicken eggs and meat can provide to those with little access to nutrient-dense or diverse crop foods.

Kyeema was founded in 2003 by a group of Australian veterinary and agricultural scientists who wanted to continue promoting a model of sustainable Newcastle disease control that is an effective solution for alleviating poverty for the most vulnerable.

The name of our foundation comes from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning ‘of the dawn’, which captures the vision of our organisation and the feeling of empowerment one can experience at the beginning of a new day.

We believe empowerment is about building human resilience and regenerating environmental resources.

Several of those integral to Kyeema’s launch and continued operation have been University of Queensland researchers and graduates – myself included.

Emeritus Professor Peter Spradbrow, supported by the Australian Centre of International Agricultural Research, developed a disease vaccination for chickens which does not rely on a stable chain of refrigeration for it to remain effective.

It is therefore extremely useful in areas where power supply is unreliable.

Over many years we’ve found that protecting village chickens from this common fatal disease empowers people in more ways than first imagined.

When poor families lose chickens, they lose a lifeline to education, medical treatment and security.

One of the ways we raise the funds to protect chickens and their owners is by partnering with like-minded organisations to respectfully promote the plight of people in Malawi.

Our tour partners Crooked Compass allow you to experience legendary Malawian friendliness and the country’s vivid geographical diversity, while also diverting part of your tour fee as a tax-deductible donation to Kyeema.

The tours endeavour to inspire, educate and encourage travellers to understand responsible tourism by providing culturally immersive experiences, supporting local communities and projects.

And one thing is for certain, this country and its people will surely make your heart smile.

For more information contact:
Dr Eliza Smith