Chief among them is inadequate finances to pay the teachers employed by Parents Teachers Association (PTA). While it’s the parents’ responsibility to cater for PTA teachers’ salary, the parents are finding it difficult to support the teachers as they are economically challenged. Consequently, this has been disrupting learning at the school from time to time when the pupils are sent home to fetch money to pay the teachers. The school has only five teachers seconded by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
In a bid to mitigate this challenge, the Foundation partnering with the school’s PTA decided to initiate a chicken rearing project that would generate income to support the extra teachers. “We didn’t want to be given fish every time we were hungry. We wanted to be empowered so that we could learn how to catch fish and feed ourselves,” Mr. Ngaruka, the school’s headmaster, quipped wittily. The project was settled on as the most suitable after a wide consultation with the parents and teachers. This was in line with the Foundation’s participatory approach to development and sustainability, one of its core values.
The project was launched in November 2014 with an initial seed capital of Ksh.200, 000. The community raised part of the seed capital as way of their commitment to the success of the project and to have a sense of ownership as well as partaking a broader participatory role in the initiative. The capital catered for the incubator, poultry structure, chicken feed, and 210 one-day old chicks.
With the eggs being sold at Ksh. 10 each, the project currently rakes in a monthly revenue of Ksh.30,000 with a profit of Ksh.6000-Ksh.7000. The proceeds from the project is only enough to pay a salary of one PTA teacher as it is their desire that the earnings could pay more teachers. While the school seeks to increase productivity of the project to meet the numerous needs it has, they face a number of challenges that are limiting maximum yield. These challenges include change in weather and diseases with the biggest headache being high cost of chicken feed that is eating up a big chunk of the revenue generated.
"It is our hope that we will be able to expand the chicken project to raise more profits to enable us employ more teachers. We intend to do this by increasing the layers whose number has unfortunately since reduced to 184 and also adding broilers to the mix as we have discovered their market is readily available,” Mr. Ngaruka, the school’s headmaster concluded.