This is a new initiative whereby local volunteers based in Malawi gain valuable experience and knowledge while creating a real impact through a range of activities in rural communities. The major immediate beneficiaries will probably be the volunteers themselves. (More...)
The short answer: It's just one of many Newcastle disease vaccines but it's a godsend for village chickens. Commercial ND vaccines work fine when chickens are housed full-time under good control but conditions in the village are different. This is where the I-2 vaccine shines.
The medium answer: There are lots of ND vaccines but this one is special. Here's a brief how and why.
The long answer: Well, we'll spare you that but there is a well written article with more background here. But I still reckon the full story is fascinating - it could fill a book.
Yes, we've done our homework and the results fit with everything we already felt. Newcastle disease is the number one threat to village chickens in Malawi so enabling communities to set up sustainable vaccination programs makes sense. But we're working on other things of course, things like marketing, care of young chicks, breeding, and value chains. These all contribute to better village poultry and better livehoods.
We think that poultry are possibly the most important of all livestock species for rural communities in Malawi. Many people concentrate on the larger animals, beef and dairy cattle, pigs or goats, but overlook the chickens that are scavenging around under their feet. Even for rural people, chickens are taken for granted - they're a given. Every village has its chickens. And because they entail almost zero inputs, they are not viewed as a commercial enterprise (even though they unquestionably are!) But this is an incomplete answer to this question. We're hoping to give a firmer answer through proper field research. We won't be surprised to find this intuitive answer is correct.
This is an amazing group of women in Mchinji District about 100 km to the west of Lilongwe. They already existed before we arrived on the scene but we can definitely make a difference and improve their likelihoods through our inputs.