Yvonne Shachibi is a 30-year-old married woman with three children, the youngest being a nine months old girl. She currently lives in Shimwami village of Katoba Ward under Katoba Zone in Chongwe District. The Scaling up Nutrition Phase II project (SUNII) funded by UNICEF focusing on the first 1000 Most Critical Days Program through the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC), Plan International Zambia, Ministry of Health (MOH) and other sectors was introduced into Shimwami village which involved mobilization and clustering of all pregnant, lactating and mothers with children under the age of two years. Yvonne was selected as a Nutrition Support Group (NSG) Volunteer by her community as was the procedure. The role of NSG volunteer entails delivering monthly nutrition lessons to beneficiary households in the community. Yvonne and volunteers from other communities received NSG and small livestock training of which the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries through the Agriculture Extension Officers trained the volunteers in chicken rearing. On June 24, 2022, the volunteers were empowered with egg-laying village chickens which comprised three (3) hens and two (2) roosters under the pass on chicken program.

The pass on chicken program entails that the chickens are kept with one household until they lay eggs and then passed on to another until all households in the particular group have chickens.

The above picture shows one of the three hens which laid twelve eggs and needed a “broody” or “sitting hen” for them to hatch as the incubator is not yet available.  All twelve eggs hatched with only one mortality recorded.

Yvonne has been leading a group of 10 household members for a few months now. Her work focuses on increasing awareness of the community on nutrition related issues such as prevention of chronic malnutrition also known as stunting, which can have a lifelong effect on a child’s physical and cognitive development, weaken the immune system and, affect concentration and performance in school later on.

Yvonne expressed her joy for Plan International and the other line ministries for coming to the aid of her community by empowering them with chickens and knowledge on how to prepare nutritious food using locally available grown crops.

She stated that ever since the project was introduced, she has seen improvements in her nine months old child’s health as a result of preparing nutritious foods which she learnt from the monthly nutrition lessons where topics such as “Feeding A Child 6-23 Months” are covered.

She went on to state that, participating in the program as a NSG volunteer has made her realize that good nutrition does not need one to travel to cities to buy food but can be locally grown, sourced, preserved and prepared right there in the community at a very low cost.

Furthermore, Yvonne wishes the project the very best so that her community and many others in Chongwe District can have Smart, Healthy and Strong children.