Mary Mmari’s poultry business has been so successful she is known locally as ‘mama kuku’ (chicken mama) and, thanks to the income she earns, her nephew has all the books and clothes he needs for school. 

Just a short while ago life was very different. The maize crop had failed and, in desperate need of money, Mary started a second-hand clothes business but lack of demand meant this too failed. Mary explains, “I could see my friends doing well and wanted to be like them. I was doing it [business] without knowing how.” 

Then Mary joined Hand in Hand where she learned how to run a business and how identify local market demand. She decided to start a poultry and borrowed TZS 800,000 (US $340) from her Hand in Hand savings group to purchase her first 100 chicks, build a chicken shed, and buy initial feed and vaccinations. 

Mary’s first batch of chickens was sold within three months, and she made a profit of TZS 400,000 (US $174). With Hand in Hand’s guidance, Mary made her own chicken feed for the next 100 chicks she raised, increasing her profit to TZS 550,000 (US $233).