Forty broiler hens produce a whopping 1.6 kg of manure a day. That's over 600 kg a year! So what to do with all that poop? Stockpiling it is the surest way to upset village neighbours and contaminate groundwater.
Enterprising franchisee Em Chanty (above) is turning her poop pile into gold, creating a second source of dry-season income for herself so she can afford to stay on her plot of land year-round. Chicken poop makes excellent dry manure which naturally fertilises crops without the need for expensive synthetic fertilisers. Em Chanty has paid for a well on her land to irrigate crops in the dry season and is now producing a flourishing crop of snake beans, eggplants, tomatoes and pumpkins for sale, all nourished by the composted waste of her broiler hens.
Our approach to partnering with Em Chanty and her community will always be collaborative - we learn as much from her as she does from us. When we started, the prevailing attitude was bring in the aid experts. We did the opposite. We've seen what happens when said 'experts' leave. Believing that sustainable change happens from within communities, we were intent on smashing the stereotype of westerners saving the poor of the world, instead learning through trial and error with the village producers.
In April last year we switched from commercial breed to indigenous village chickens because of cheap mass-produced imports from Vietnam. Since the switch, Em Chanty has earned US$115 in profit from her chicken sales. In total Em's amassed US$123 in Catalyst business savings. On average, franchisees have increased their daily income by 19% (on days worked), and they've increased their savings by 50% compared to baseline. They've achieved this without any giveaways, through their own efforts. The only thing we've given them is opportunity, as we believe handouts kill innovation and self-reliance.
We founded Catalyst social enterprise after living in South East Asia and seeing first-hand the daily struggle rural villagers face in meeting their basic needs.