Chicken and eggs: sustainable income and gender equality in Cuba

Gloria was able to expand her chicken coop with wire fencing.
Gloria was able to expand her chicken coop with wire fencing.

By working with local cooperatives and partners such as the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), Oxfam is helping women like Gloria become farmers and develop their own sustainable sources of income.

Forty-year-old Gloria lives with her husband Alberto and their two daughters on the outskirts of Jiguaní, a small town in the mountainous region of Granma province in southeast Cuba.

Gloria was able to expand her chicken coop with wire fencing she received through Oxfam’s Engendering Change program – a multi-year initiative co-funded by CIDA and private donors. She now earns her own money and has greatly improved her family’s diet. Other women in the community see her as a leader.

“I started participating in the project a year and half ago. With the wire fencing I received I separated and expanded the chicken coop in the back so I could produce eggs and breed more chickens. It makes feeding my family much easier and balances our diet with protein from meat and eggs. The eggs that are left over I sell to the cooperative for income, but also give to our neighbors. It benefits the community as much as it benefits me and my family.”

Gender equality: changing attitudes and behaviors

The project also aims to change attitudes and behaviors through co-ed gender equality workshops on topics such as gender-based violence and the distribution of labor in the fields and at home. Gloria’s husband Alberto had this to say:

“We have always been good at sharing work, but now more than ever because of workshops from the cooperative. We have had meetings where many families got together to discuss and talk about experiences and attitudes. This has brought couples in the community closer, and to be successful you need to be equal, to work together and cooperate.”

Gloria is happy and has high hopes for the future. She and her husband recently installed a much needed irrigation system and have planted bananas, beans, greens and onions. The extra money will help them improve their house and further expand their farm.

Thanks to Gloria and Alberto for telling their story of how Oxfam’s Engendering Change program has made a difference in their life. Co-funded by CIDA and private donors. The program has helped partner organizations like the National Small Farmers Association (ANAP) in Cuba build gender equality, increase women’s participation in agricultural cooperatives and improve their access to much needed resources.

Read the report: From Promises to Priorities: Putting small-scale, family producers at the center of a fair food production system in Latin America and the Caribbean