International Update
Improving Lives in Rwanda, 100 Chicks at a Time

The charcoal heaters are set and chick waterers and feeding plates are prepared. Finally, the technician arrives with a large, flat cardboard box in hand, carrying 100-day-old chicks. For Rwandan farmers in the USAID Tworore Inkoko, Twunguke (TI) project, the arrival of their chicks is a long-anticipated event. The one hundred chicks not only symbolize the start of another grow-out cycle, but also mark opportunitythe prospect of increasing their household income and the ability to improve their family’s nutrition. “I think this is one project that will truly make a difference in people’s lives,” reflected Mike Smith, professor of Animal Science and contributor on the project.

With eighty-one Rwandan households currently enrolled in the TI program and with over 3,000 broilers sold through the project’s first three months working directly with farmers, UT researchers are connecting to farmers both here in the state of Tennessee and across the globe. In a state that produces over 175,200,000 broilers alone (USDA, 2016), 3,000 broilers might not seem like a lot, but farmers have the potential to earn over $100 for the seven-week grow-out cyclein a country where the average income per day is just over two dollars. The photos below provide a sense of what is happening on the ground in Rwanda.
Progress through Photos
Farmer Recruitment: The three project technicians host public meetings at the cell level (administrative division) to announce the broiler program opportunity. Pictured above is a crowd from multiple villages learning about the Tworore Inkoko project at a local government building.
JMV, one of the project techs, eagerly introduces the broiler project to the crowd. For his second job on weekends, he serves as pastor at a local church…that’s where his strong recruitment voice comes from! 

Demonstration Farm: Each farmer cohort, consisting of twenty-six to thirty farmers, participates in a three-day, broiler husbandry training at the project’s demonstration farm. The training program consists of classroom portions, taught under the pavilion (pictured on the right), and through hands-on learning activities using the ten active demonstration coops. The training program was developed through the collaborative effort of UT departments, Tyson Foods Fellows, and our Rwandan partners at Zamura Feeds.
The road sign in front of the demonstration farm displays the public-private partnership among USAID/Rwanda, the African Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) foundation, UTIA, and Zamura Feeds Ltd., located in Rwanda.

Farmer Graduation: Pictured above is one of the first farmers to graduate from the farmer training program. Upon passing the comprehensive exam, farmers are awarded a certificate of completion. The first farmer cohort, with twenty-six farmers, was invited to receive their certificates at the official USAID Launch (August 31, 2017) for the Tworore Inkoko project. What is not shown in this photo is the entire farmer group’s spontaneous burst of singing and dancing at the end of the ceremony (and the UT partners joined in as well!). 

Farmer Success: Olive M. proudly shows her harvest-ready birds. Pleased with her first cycle and now growing her second cycle of birds,
she is determined to improve her efficiency and make an even larger profit.
This article was submitted by the UTIA Smith International Center (formerly, UTIA International Programs), which exists to advance the international engagement of the UTIA by empowering faculty, staff, and students to think and act globally in pursuit of sustainable solutions to our world’s agricultural, food, and natural resource challenges. Visit for additional information and resources.