During the seven months that I spent in Kwakiliga, I helped to organize and monitor several investments that I thought would put the Kwakiliga Project in an improved position of efficiency, sustainability, and profitability. It should go without saying that aside from my Tanzanian Partners, the managers and machinery of the Project, none of these investments would have been possible without the incredibly generous support of the over one hundred investors in the Kwakiliga Project. In total, you helped me raise over $11,000 to support my time in Tanzania as well as direct support for the Project. Roughly $7,500 of that went into direct Project investments.
I will use this post, my final one on this blog, to summarize the seven major investments made into the Kwakiliga Project that took place between September 2015 to March 2016.
1. Solar Technology for Chick Brooders – $1,877
My first investment covered materials (solar panels, batteries, wiring, and stabilizer) and labor for the installation of solar technology at the chick brooders of chicken coop #1 and #2. The solar technology enabled us to have a heat source in the chick brooders, were a total of 510 chicks spent the first couple months of their lives. As chicks are very sensitive the temperature fluctuations, and Kwakiliga is not yet connected to a power grid, the solar technology was an essential investment. In the future, this investment can be used repeatedly because the Project Partners now have all the resources and infrastructure they need to raise chicks.
2. Egg Storage Facility – $2,627
Though I don’t have great pictures of this structure with its plastered exterior, I can tell you that it turned out great. The facility is 11.5 ft x 18.6 ft x 9.1 ft and can store more than a months worth of eggs when our chickens are laying at their highest rate. We deemed this investment necessary for a few reasons. One, it would keep our eggs safe and fresh. Previously, we have stored our eggs in small storage facilities at each chicken coop, where we also keep chicken food, tools, building materials, and the batteries for our solar technology. Eggs were at risk for being broken by falling items as well as insects attracted to our chicken feed. Secondly, building this facility allowed us to centralize the eggs from all three of our chicken coops. This gave us the opportunity to create a warehouse management system that could better organize our inventory as well as our sales.
3. Egg Carts – $1,270
To keep our eggs safe and organized in our new egg storage facility, we worked with a local carpenter to design and create 17 egg carts. They function in a way that is similar to cafeteria tray carts, in that you can remove shelves and insert them on a level of your choosing. That is, since each “tray” in our egg carts is used to hold one day’s worth of eggs, you can start the next day at a level in the cart that is just above the heigh of the previous day’s eggs. This allows us to save space and ensure that we are filling orders on a “first-in first-out” basis.
4. Egg Testing Tables – $135
We had two tables built and installed into our egg storage facility. These tables have been a great as a “holding area” for eggs that Partners from each chicken coop deliver to the egg storage facility, and as a testing surface to determine the quality of our eggs. The tables also have a few drawers, and we use these to store our record keeping books.
5. Food Pallets – $93
Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of these before leaving Kwakiliga. We had three pallets built for the small storage facilities at chicken coops #1 and #2, each set totaling about nine feet in length. The advantage of having these pallets is that we can get our chicken feed off the ground where it is more susceptible to insects, rats, and temperature changes on the concrete floor that can diminish the quality of the food.
6. Medicine Cabinets – $93
We had two of these cabinets made, one for the small storage facilities at chicken coops #1 and #2. The cabinets are used to store medicines for our chickens and chicks.
7. Repairs and Upgrades to Chicken Coops and Small Storage Facilities – $1,041
Throughout the course of a year, our chicken coops inevitably experience deterioration. Repairs were necessary to coop fencing, coop doors and locks, plastering, and fence posts. We expanded the number of layer buckets and layer bucket boxes (pictured above right) to accommodate the increased number of chickens in our new flock. We also built chicken hospitals at chicken coops #1, #2, and #3, so we could have a place to isolate sick chickens from the rest of the flock. We made all these repairs and upgrades ourselves, so there was no cost for labor.
These major investments total just over $7,000. Because it can so difficult to for small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa to access capital, it is almost certain that none of these investments could have happened without your contributions. On behalf of all those associated with the Kwakiliga Project, I thank you. This was your money, and I hope you feel as though your investment was a wise one.