Chickens: the key to making poverty history?

Why a small flock of chickens can be so important to a household in a resource poor community.

Ever considered how important a small flock of chickens can be to a household in a resource poor community?


Don’t worry if you answered no. Reality is, most of us couldn’t even begin to imagine how integral the humble chicken is to the health and incomes for those less fortunate than us.

While you may never have heard of Newcastle disease (ND), it has been known to wreak havoc for people who rely on chickens to survive.

Enter dedicated Aussie scientists like Emeritus Professor Peter Spradbrow AM, at the University of Queensland who have delivered the innovative research which has led to incredible public health gains worldwide. The team, has received worldwide praise for their efforts, to develop an affordable, thermotolerant* vaccine for the control of Newcastle disease (ND) in village chickens.


Funded by Australian Aid, the research and vaccine have paved the way for a small but dedicated team of animal health professionals to improve village poultry. The vaccine decreases the mortality rate in a vaccinated flock which means less chickens die when an outbreak comes through an area. Of course, this has assisted those struggling within rural communities across the developing world.

Healthy livestock give animals a better quality of life and help communities to work their way out of poverty. Take chickens for example – owned and managed mostly by women and children, they’re vital to the survival or entire families. Not only do they provide vital nutrition through their meat and eggs, surpluses can be traded to provide extra income or resources. Additionally, they are often used to fulfil social obligations and provide soil-enriching manure, are active pest controllers and used in many traditional ceremonies and treatments.

The disease has a negative impact on food security across both Africa and Asia. Occurring frequently, outbreaks often kill between 50 to 100 per cent of the standing flock in an area.

Thanks to Australian Aid investments into the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) since 1984, practical vaccination implementation has meant this dire situation can be prevented. Improved poultry farming practices are also now possible thanks to ACIAR, DFAT and international donors.


This is the inspirational story of how KYEEMA Foundation came to be. Today, our organisation is known for its fantastic role in helping to lay the path for individuals and communities so that they can build a better future for themselves. The outcomes of our Foundation’s activities in improving smallholder poultry and production are key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

* thermotolerant :- doesn’t rely on a reliable chain of refrigeration

This campaign is backed by Australia's aid & development groups

Business for Development is for Australian Aid VGen is for Australian Aid Australian Conservation Foundation is for Australian Aid
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