Over the past year, our partners on the ground from the AusCongo Network (ACN) have been busy working to improve the health and production of village poultry for better livelihoods in Mbuji Mayi in the Kaisai-Oriental province of the DRC. Two more vaccination campaigns in December 2018 and April 2019 have taken place since the first campaign in August 2018.
Feedback from the communities and vaccinators trained to service them is that people are very happy with the project. They can see the results of vaccinating their chickens, with those vaccinated not succumbing to recent local outbreaks of Newcastle disease. In the December 2018 campaign, 14 villages (up from the original 10 villages in August 2018) participated in the Newcastle disease vaccination service, despite huge rains and country electoral activity causing delays. The vaccinators managed to reach 205 households and vaccinate over 6000 chickens, with vaccinations being paid for by households at 10 US cents equivalent per bird.
This project was generously funded by Partners in International Collaborative Community Aid Ltd (PiCCA).
The April 2019 campaign was executed in 15 villages (220 households), thanks to the continued hard work of ACN Lead Supervisor, Jean Calvin Tshibuabua, who mobilised the activity on the ground with 6 vaccinators (2 additional trained for this campaign) and 3 supervisors.
The vaccinators are content with the business opportunity that vaccination presents for them thus far, despite some villagers being unable to pay for the vaccine with money. For now, they are accepting chicks as payment by some community members, with the confidence that as household flocks grow and improved household incomes follow, more farmers will be able to pay for the vaccination of their chickens with cash, allowing a more viable business venture.
Though the project is coming to an end in 2019, we are working with the ACN, volunteer trainer Dr Theodore Mwabi and the donor PiCCA to see how we can continue to support the sustainability of the activity for the local ACN community and business centre. The main challenges are sourcing reliable and affordable transport and storage options for the vaccine, which is produced at the National Veterinary Laboratory in Kinshasa, some 1350 km away.