Around half an hour by car from Kigali, just off the main road to Giterama is the village of Runda. Set among a new development of better quality housing is the Embrace Rwanda Chicken Project (Runda).
This time last year the plot was a piece of empty ground. A while back Embrace Rwanda set up the Healthy Woman group for the poorest ladies in the village, part of which included giving some of the ladies a chicken and teaching them to use the eggs to provide protein for their families. When the charity's Canadian director was visiting the women early last year she noticed the piece of land.
With the help of supporters in Canada Embrace Rwanda were able to buy the land and have erected three barns housing a total of 3,000 chickens, bought as chicks from Belgium last July. That sounds like an awful lot of hens in a small area. Mary, who is accompanied us from Loanhead church grew up on a farm, says the hens look very healthy and seem to have plenty of room to move around.
The hens started producing eggs in November and are now laying 1,800 a day. Most of these eggs are sold within 24 hours of being collected with purchasers making a bank transfer from to the Embrace Rwanda bank account. The buyers then bring the receipt to Runda and collect the eggs. This is an example of rural Africa embracing mobile phone technology to great advantage.
Last August, an Embrace Rwanda supporter gave the project money to construct an office, egg storage area, two shower rooms and a sleeping area. Six months on, this project is nearing completion. The next step would be to biuld an incubation shed so that the chicks do not need to be imported.