Maya Community Chickens
Seven years ago, the founders of Maya Universe Academy, Nepal's first free rural private school, planned to found a school with ten students. However, 200 families showed up for admission because they could not afford private schools. Given the demand, Maya started with a few kindergarteners and grew every year to 250 students in their seventh year. However, this expansion stretched the limited resources, and the need for a sustainable evolution became imperative. Hence, Maya Community Chicken (MCC) developed.
MCC gives families -most of whom are subsistence farmers- coops, chicks and all other supplies required to raise the chickens. Once the chickens grow to full maturity, they are sold to restaurants in Kathmandu and business in nearby towns. The profit then goes back to the school to provide further resources and fairly compensate the parents.
The idea was initially tested with ten families raising 30 chicks each. However, the production was so low that the program consistently incurred a loss. However, a brief market analysis revealed that increased production would turn the project profitable. So, we were able to secure the Katherine Davis Foundation’s Davis Projects for Peace fund for the summer of 2017.
Upon receiving the funds, we selected six families based on distance from the school and need and started to build the coops. Multiple challenges also arose. The road that leads to the school was getting rebuilt. This construction meant that we could not get any supplies for a month. Skilled labors like welders were also very hard to find in the village because Most of them had either gone to the big cities or the Gulf countries for a better jobs. Furthermore, once monsoons started, we could not work regularly.
Despite all these problems we still committed to finishing the work. We, the Nepali volunteers at the school, even worked overtime to complete the construction. Due to this effort, we finished our first coop by the end of June and all the remaining ones by the end of July. Upon completion, all 2000 chicks were handed to the families, and the chicken production increased from 300 per month to 1000 per month. This increase was a big boost towards better sustainability for Maya Universe Academy.