Microcredit Cooperative Program

The goals of this program are to assist widowed women in need to:

  • Produce a consistent and sustainable food source
  • Reduce their dependency on natural resources
  • Become more self-sufficient
  • Provide for themselves, their children, their families, and their communities
  • Increase their work opportunities

Background

In the Democratic Republic of Congo there are no social safety nets for the widows of Kahuzi-Biega National Park guards who protect the endangered gorillas. In addition, many local children have suffered from malnutrition, which means they have an increased susceptibility to illness and a harder time concentrating at school.

The Poultry Cooperative Project for Women in Need

In Tshivanga, another community at the border of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, the Zerofootprint Foundation initiated a poultry cooperative program for the widows of Kahuzi-Biega National Park guards who were killed in the line of duty protecting the Eastern Lowland gorillas. This project addresses malnutrition and learning, and strengthens the overall social and economic fabric of this community.

What We Do

With funds provided by The Zerofootprint Foundation, 20 widows set up a poultry cooperative. The widows constructed a chicken coop and an enclosure, received training to maintain the chicken flocks, and ensured the health of the animals. The eggs produced at the farm are sold to a nearby school where 93 young students now receive a meal. This improves their nutrition and enhances their ability to learn at school. The widows have been enabled to provide income for their families, and have also gained small business skills that are relevant to their community’s needs. This enhances their ability to find further work and helps them become more self-sufficient.