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Determined to Succeed

  • 09 Jan 2020

Abigail Jonathan Mnzava, 23 years, runs a small poultry business in Kijitonyama, Dar es Salaam. Even though she passed her A ‘Levels with good grades, her parents could not afford to send her to university. So instead, she started helping a poultry farmer to do bookkeeping for her business. However, she was desperate to make her own money. In 2018, the farmer gave Abigail Tsh 80,000/- as a thank you for her bookkeeping help. Seeing an opportunity, Abigail gave the farmer Tsh 75,000/- of the payment in exchange for 50 new born chicks. She had less knowledge on how she was going to care for the chicken but she was determined to start her own small chicken farm. “I started my poultry farming on top of a table,” she said with a laugh. To keep the chicks warm and ensure they survived, she put them in her room on the table she used to study on when she attended school. When she got her next payment, she used the money to build a shed for the chicken. But business was tough. Chicken feed was expensive and her chicken kept getting infections from neighbouring chickens. In 2019 Abigail joined the VIA Jiandalie Ajira program run by the Tanzania Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness Centre (TECC). Through the VIA Jiandalie Ajira program, she received life skills and business training that helped her run her business. She learned how to mix chicken feed in a way that reduces costs, how to save and exercise financial discipline, and how to network with other entrepreneurs in meetings and online. She learned how to use social media productively to enhance her business, opening a YouTube channel to advertise her chicken and eggs. The program also linked her to a mentor who has been advising her on her poultry business. With this support, the 50 chicks she started with multiplied to 200 chicken and she has been getting an income selling meat and eggs. “The program helped to open my mind to see that I can turn my interests into income streams. I used to decorate in our church but now I do it commercially for different events. I get together with some other ladies and we advertise our services online,” Abigail said. Abigail’s future plans are to have a big poultry business that focuses on a local chicken breed that no one farms on a large scale. She sees a big market for the chicken meat as well as the eggs. Abigail’s advice to other youths is simple – start with what you have. “You can start with zero capital. If you can plait hair, you do not need capital, just a comb and a mat. Start with that,” she said. She tells other youths to stop complaining and focus on what they do have because it is enough to get them started.