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FEATURE STORYDecember 19, 2023

An Education in Poultry Farming for Nzingoula Delaunay

An Education in Poultry Farming for Nzingoula Delaunay

Nzingoula Delaunay in his henhouse.

Franck Sidney Chrysantheme Bitemo / World Bank


  • The Skills Development for Employability Project (PDCE) has given out-of-school and vulnerable young people the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to enter the job market through salaried or self-employment.
  • Emphasis was placed on practical training and building strong links with private sector employers.
  • The project supported young people's entry into the job market, including as apprentices. It also covered the costs of training and internships or apprenticeships for these young people, as well as catering and transport costs during these internships, apprenticeships and training courses. It also helped them draw up business plans.

Nzingoula Delaunay spends most of his time in the chicken coop. “The chickens are my teachers,” he said. And yet 31-year-old Nzingoula admits that three years ago he had been “somewhat discouraged” when he had no choice but to enroll in the poultry program offered by the Skills Development for Employability Project (PDCE), which was providing free training to vulnerable youth in Brazzaville.

Financed by the World Bank through the International Development Association (IDA), the PDCE project has opened up skills acquisition opportunities for vulnerable, out-of-school youth, and increased their employability.

A reluctant poultry farmer

An avid student of home automation technology, Nzingoula had obtained his Certificate of Technical Studies (brevet d’études techniques) in secondary school but had to discontinue his studies because of a lack of funds. Small wonder that when the PDCE was advertised, it rekindled his dream of continuing his training in electricity. As fate would have it, there were no more spaces available in this program and he had to fall back on his second option: poultry farming. “I had done a bit of livestock farming as a child, but this activity is looked down upon in our society; it is considered a profession for illiterates and dropouts,” he explained.

And so it was that an unmotivated Nzingoula Delaunay began a six-month training course, which included a three-month internship, in poultry farming at the Lycée d'enseignement professionnel agricole Amilcar Cabral, a vocational agricultural school located 17 kilometers south of Brazzaville. Realizing how lucky he was to have an opportunity to receive free training and eager as he was to help his destitute family, he threw himself into the training. Using money saved from the CFAF 12,600 ($21) meal and travel allowance that he received every two weeks from the PDCE, he bought a few chicks and set up a makeshift chicken coop on the family plot. “That’s how I was able to put into practice at home everything that I had learned in school,” he said.

An Education in Poultry Farming for Nzingoula Delaunay
Using recycled materials, Nzingoula Delaunay makes equipment for her chicken coop. Credit: Franck Sidney Chrysantheme Bitemo / World Bank

Discovering his calling

As with an acquired taste, Nzingoula quickly took a liking to poultry farming, especially because he realized that he could apply his knowledge of home automation technology. “I combined the two trades,” gushed Nzingoula, who used recycled materials to assemble his own incubators, drying machines, and brooders fitted with an automated thermal regulation system.

By the time he had completed his training, Nzingoula was already the owner of a small brood of about 50 adult chickens, which he quickly sold to help grow his business. But the family plot on which he set up his farm and which is located in a working-class district in the south of Brazzaville is barely 400m2. It has a large house at the center of a grid of chicken coops. Wooden crates and incubators that can hold between 100 and 5,000 eggs, as well as drying machines and brooders, can be found everywhere, from the courtyard to the veranda and the living room. The living room also doubles as a feed mill. An orphan, Nzingoula lives with his brothers, sisters, and cousins. Not only does no one complain about his business, but everyone lends a helping hand. “These chickens feed the family,” he noted.

Nzingoula prides himself on having successfully raised 685 adult chickens so far on his small urban farm. However, with limited space and financing to feed and care for them, he had to change tack. A flash market study showed him the benefits of investing in improved chicken breeds. “For my farm to be viable, I had to raise chickens that were disease-resistant and ate less but grew quickly and produced high-quality meat.” This spurred him to raise improved chicken breeds and experiment with hybrid breeds. “I bred chickens with guinea fowls to create a new breed,” he said.

What the PDCE has taught me is that we should not turn up our noses at any profession in life. You can be successful at anything you do as long as you are patient and put your heart and soul into it.
Nzingoula Delaunay

An Education in Poultry Farming for Nzingoula Delaunay
Nzingoula Delaunay and a poultry farmer from CADCE. Credit: Franck Sidney Chrysantheme Bitemo / World Bank

Not a job for fools

In 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 health crisis, Nzingoula, along with seven other young PDCE-trained poultry farmers, including three young women, established the Poultry Cooperative for the Development of Entrepreneurial Skills (CADCE), which he manages. “We are raising the Brahma, Hanover, Sussex, Malines, and Red Label improved breeds, as well as other hybrid breeds that we have created ourselves using various crossbreeding methods,” he noted. The cooperative offers other types of improved breed poultry such as pigeons, ducks, and turkeys and, depending on demand, fresh eggs, chicks, and broiler meat as well. The goal is to provide organic, inexpensive products to all Congolese citizens.

The cooperative also trains young poultry farmers (about 60 have already completed the training) sent by the PDCE and private entities and has a market presence through its manufacture of modern poultry equipment and the advisory support it provides to poultry farmers.

“What the PDCE has taught me is that we should not turn up our noses at any profession in life. You can be successful at anything you do as long as you are patient and put your heart and soul into it.” This is Nzingoula’s message to all young people who are wondering whether poultry farming or any other skills trade is for them.


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