Mercy Focus on Haiti Makes a Go of Hen House Project
April 28, 2020
What came first the chicken or the egg?
The dream came first.
In 2013, the agronomy team at Mercy Focus on Haiti (MFOH)—an initiative of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in Gros Morne, Haiti—began working to carry out that dream of raising hens. Raising their own hens would not only provide the community with sustainable food sources but would help to develop a microeconomy that provides women a source of income to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty.
And they gave it a try.
Unfortunately, the hens they bought were older than they realized, the price of feed went up and the feed they could afford wasn’t as good. For all of these reasons, the hens were not laying enough eggs for it to be economically feasible for the hen house to continue.
But the community didn’t give up. Six years later, they are trying “the hen project” again. This time their plan was to make their own feed.
They have had hens in the hen house since August 2019 (purchased from Hens for Haiti, which was founded by Kristi Newmann, a former MFOH volunteer). On an average, the hens have produced 22,300 eggs monthly. That’s 1,850 dozen eggs!
The beautiful thing about the hen house project is the number of people who contribute and benefit from the project’s success, including local farmers who provide some of the ingredients to make good feed for the hens. When we began to make our own feed, the number of eggs increased, as did the quality. Women from Gros Morne are able to buy the eggs to sell at the local market, thus helping to provide for their families. Local merchants are able to buy the eggs and make very delicious egg sandwiches. The local school children benefit from the hen house project because they are given a hardboiled egg every day—a good source of protein and other nutrients.
If the hen house project were not in operation, the eggs would have to come from the Dominican Republic. The eggs then would not be fresh, they would risk getting broken in transit and the men going to the Dominican Republic would risk getting robbed.
It does take a village to develop a dream!