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Creating the opportunity for disabled persons to become self-reliant through poultry

BP aims to empower people with disability to build sustainable poultry farming business that help them break out of poverty & hunger.

Photo of Dr. Mike Iyanro
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What problem does your idea solve?

About 30 million people in Nigeria have one form of disability or another with majority living in poverty.Although poultry farming is an excellent source of livelihood,but people with disability in remote rural areas continue to struggle with significantly high-level of poverty,&restricted access to the basic human rights which we all take for granted.This is unacceptable.However,it is due to inadequate financial support, farm input,& training needed for them to succeed. This is where BP come in

Explain your idea

BirdPreneur is a social innovation initiated to create livelihoods, boost income and inspire lasting social change in the lives of PwDs. The project trains the target audience in poultry farming, basic entrepreneurial skills,applied math,financial-management skills,personal-initiative,the value of saving & a sense of social responsibility to make them self sufficient. In addition to training,the target audience receives BirdPreneur package that contains technical support in meat & egg farming, chicks(200/person),feeds, vaccines & cage,plus access to market helping them to build efficient&profitable poultry farming ventures.Every week the entrepreneurs alerts the BirdPreneur headquarters about eggs ready for pick up &the headquarters buys the eggs from the entrepreneurs to package it& resell to the market in the cities. For every crate of egg that the entrepreneurs sell to the headquarters, they receive redeemable cash points SMS over their cell phones in return which can either be withdrawn instantly or saved for future withdrawers. Entrepreneurs also receives weekly account updates directly on their mobile phones making the benefits of the partnership transparent. 10% shares of eggs produced weekly are left for the entrepreneurs to feed their family. we have ran a successful pilot benefiting over 100 families in rural Nigeria. We hope to gain design & expansion support from IDEO & Amplify to enable us empower up to 200 PwDs within year 1 of signing partnership agreement.

Who benefits?

The project target people with disabilities in rural & peri-urban Nigeria. For example: Amina is a woman with physical impairment&she is a rural dweller&mother with two kids.Shes been denied opportunities in life due to her disability&has result to street begging. However, Amina got information about BirdPreneur &she decided to enroll for the training. With BP’s help Amina is able to set up a poultry farm at her backyard, gain access to market, &She currently lives healthier&happy life

How is your idea unique?

Major players in the poultry space like BirdPreneur includes Obasanjo Farms, Amo Farms, Godeion Farms, Omoseni Farms. Most of these organizations are focused on giving back to the communities in the form of charitable donations which often doesn’t ease the suffering of the people. The BirdPreneur project is different in three ways: 1) It directly works with the local communities by making them a major player along the value chain; 2) the model uses entrepreneurial and social innovation techniques that turned the target audience into self sufficient entrepreneurs via training and empowerment. 3) the project also leverage on its vendor network (innovative food supply chain) to ensure that produce are sold on time so the entrepreneurs can make money as quick as possible. One of the biggest challenges for small scale farmers in Nigeria is access to market, but this project brings that market and makes it come to life for our entrepreneurs creating a win-win scenario along the line.

Tell us more about you

The Project itself is a product of a partnership agreement between the operator (BirdPreneur Farm Ventures) and the backer (Rainbow Gate Foundation). BirdPreneur Farm Ventures provides space and facilities for the project, while RGFN provides the operating budget and staff. We have other partnerships with Almonsour Foundation and Tony Elumelu Foundation among others.These are not partnerships for the sake of partnerships,but rather connections that help us deliver our services more effectively

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

As a programme that we hope to scale effectively, there are a number of unanswered questions: 1. What will be the best ways to adapt the programme so that it can be replicated across Nigeria and other African countries? 2. Which training techniques would be the most cost effective that would lead to sustainable outcomes for the entrepreneurs?

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Nigeria

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

We think that impact begins with understanding our target audience&with this in mind, we use outreach strategies in rural communities across south-western Nigeria to learn about the health-seeking behavior of our audience.For instance,we use interviews,focus groups,&follow-up surveys to know how they value the intervention,how they wish to interact with it,&how much human capital they are willing to input. After considering the results gathered,it showed that accessibility to water has been a major road-block that need urgent attention since many of our beneficiaries had to trek long distance to get water to feed their chickens &do cleaning.We immediately integrated the lessons learned&put a truck in place to help deliver water via central meeting area.This reduced the amount of trekking by entrepreneurs to less than 0.5-1 km for to&fro trip to obtain water.we also working towards getting BP mini trucks to deliver water around locations in the future in order to make it easy for PwDs.

Who will implement this idea?

BirdPreneur Farm Ventures and Rainbow Gate Foundation Nigeria will together oversee and manage the implementation of the overall programme which includes the economic empowerment and the advocacy part of the program. This will be carried out with support from local partners including other local NGO's, People with Disability groups, and local Village Development Association. These partners will enable this initiative to successfully reach the intended beneficiaries.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

Big decisions are often made by the board of trustees and the Reps of the people we serve. We use empathy to put end users at the center of the problem-solving equation, & this we believe is the foundation of design thinking. With this focus, design becomes a tool for change for us.As a core team of diverse individuals, each one bringing unique&complementary skills & experiences to the table, this combination of talent, expertise, high tolerance for ambiguity dedication&determination to impact on the communities we serve & ability to take risks&experiment with new ideas are our greatest strengths.The values we share create a diversity that brings the best innovation. Our ability to relate to a wide array of people has empowered us with critical perspectives to impact on human development.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

We viewed the Amplify as an exemplar of a vanguard platform that has the potential to influence the future of our world positively. This kind of platform with foundation built on human centered design approach stimulates creativity&innovation&taps into the inner child. There is no doubt that this is the type of platform we have been looking for,where empathy marries innovation, a place where our background&experience & skills can be put to use&together with others, make real things happen.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

The major daily challenges faced by our beneficiaries involve financial and physical constraints of meeting daily needs such as food, shelter, water, and sending their kids to school which is so depressing for them since they have no source of help. Secondly, the biggest systems-level challenge that affects the end-users includes accessing social protection benefits, usually as a result of discrimination, economic and social disadvantages; often as an aftereffect to historic injustices (such as dispossession of their lands, territories and resources), lack of effective government interventions available to them (jobs, educational, and entrepreneurial) those in the rural areas are often neglected and has affected them negatively in so many ways.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

IMPACT: By 2022, we aim to have impacted over 3000 PwD entrepreneurs, and adding at least 2000 micro poultry ventures to our portfolio of businesses which would generate over 4,000 direct and indirect employments while impacting the local community at large. QUESTION:How do we further strengthen our model &extensive behavior-change social campaign in a way that would lead to permanent improvements in the lives of PwDs while achieving our vision 2022?

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • More than 2 years

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Between 5-10 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Under $50,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Stephan Hitchins

With a total population of approximately 180 million and having 30 million individuals having one form of disability or another, the need for change and investment is great. I recently read that Rainbow Chickens in South Africa is on a knife edge and may close. On the bright side this may be an opportunity to approach them and suggest a partnership that will enable a win-win situation both for yourself and the organisation. Just a thought.

RAINBOW's chickens ( are delicious roast dinners, the perfect Isishebo and succulent braais. We produce 4-million birds per week, creating 4-million memorable meal occasions per week. With these inspired insights, RAINBOW is evolving into a consumer-driven brand that recognises that consumers are much more than just people at the end of the supply chain.

Photo of Dr. Mike Iyanro

Many thanks Stephan..From my research RCL are closing down basically because the government has failed to tighten import controls on frozen chicken. Here is a quote from RCL Managing Director “the government was doing nothing to tighten import controls on frozen chicken, and the EU and Brazil, especially, were capitalising on this with large-scale dumping. European countries consumed mainly “white portions” (the breast), which they deemed to be the best cut. The “brown portions” (the thighs and drumsticks) were then sold off at cut price - finding their way to developing world markets such as South Africa, where they were sold cheaper than what was locally produced.“Our company’s troubles could end and jobs saved overnight if the government placed tighter regulations on imports,”

In our own case, the Nigerian government has put a total stop to the importation of frozen foods in Nigeria. At the moment, the annual domestic demand for poultry is 1.5 million metric tonnes, but Nigeria currently produces 300,000 metric tonnes. We need more farmers to come up and balance the 1.2 million metric tonnes remaining. This is a hug opportunity for our program. At the moment, there might be a roadblock around partnering or working with RCL since they are based in southern Africa. However, we might as well learn some strategies from them.
Thank you for the great suggestion.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Michael and Team! We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the Amplify team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

General feedback from experts:
One expert shared, “I believe this is a great idea and I would love for it to come to life! Such projects are much needed to improve the communities that are poverty-stricken as well to empower people with disabilities. I think this sets a great example for established companies to make a commitment to hire people with disabilities.”

What experts shared for is this idea desirable, feasible and viable?
• Desirability: “The idea is desirable and will be extremely valuable for the intended community”
• Feasibility: Questions that came up: How will you accommodate people with different disabilities? For example, what sort of modifications will be needed for people with vision impairment? What for people with mobility impairment? Etc…
• Viability: Some questions that came up: What are some of the costs for feed and chicken upkeep, is there sufficient demand that can pay for these costs? To understand if this idea is scalable some questions that came up were - how many chicken farmers does one locale need? The project assumes cell phone ownership: is this proven to be the case amongst PwDs there? How will the project ensure that PwDs benefit and are setup for success?

How does this idea consider user needs?
• “This idea addresses economic empowerment (which is important) I would like to better understand how it addresses social stigma which is a key barrier to full participation in society”
• How will you functionally address the range of accessibility needs that might come up around farming for persons with disabilities?
• How did this idea come about and why the poultry sector? Was it requested by the community, is it something you are currently exploring the need for with the community, etc?

Some questions to think about:
• “This is a really interesting idea and would love to see it brought to life! I hope that they can answer some questions as to the business model and cost benefits.”

Thanks for sharing the important work you are doing!

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 4 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Dr. Mike Iyanro

Dear OPENIDEO & Amplify Team,
Thanks you for your feedback. Please find below response addressing the questions raised. Kindly let me know should you require further clarifications.
Below is the step by step answers:

How will you accommodate people with different disabilities? For example, what sort of modifications will be needed for people with vision impairment? What for people with mobility impairment? Etc…
Firstly, Part of our vision was to create a safe and comfortable environment for our farmers which became the first challenge so we came up with a training package called the “BirdPreneur Farm-Potential Program” which helps PwDs affected by physical, sensory, cognitive, or emotional disabilities. From within our partner communities, we engage extension educators, disability experts, rural professionals and volunteers in offering an array of services. These services include on-site technical assistance on worksite and home modifications to accommodate disability, education to prevent further injury and disability, and development and coordination of peer support networks.

The second strategy we have put in place entails each beneficiary nominating one trusted member of their family or close friend to work with them directly on their micro-poultry business either as a worker or volunteer based on pre-defined agreement within the rural community while BirdPreneur helps to maintain checks and balances. These individuals will often assist them in areas where they couldn’t function as much.
Thirdly, in situation where an individual cannot cope with the stress of picking eggs, the strategy would be to replace their layer birds with native meat birds. Those who opt for the native meat birds can raise the chickens for 3-4 months and then the headquarters will purchase them for resale to the major markets in the cities. The free range meat chickens require less sophisticated management procedure and our pilot with these chickens have demonstrated the viability.
However we are open to new ideas from the Amplify-IDEO family to further strengthen this aspect of our program.

What are some of the costs for feed and chicken upkeep, is there sufficient demand that can pay for these costs? To understand if this idea is scalable some questions that came up were - how many chicken farmers does one locale need? The project assumes cell phone ownership: is this proven to be the case amongst PwDs there? How will the project ensure that PwDs benefit and are setup for success?
In Nigeria, feed cost accounts for about 70% of the cost of poultry production. However, we have been able to cut down on this cost by partnering with a local feed manufacturer Jorsey Ashbel . This company brings affordable feeds to the market using a novel formulation which is 60% lesser in cost than regular feeds while increasing income and farm output by 50 - 80%. Their feeds are made from readily-available but unexploited environmental resources & agricultural waste such as mango seed kernels; elephant grass; maize & cassava waste from milling plants etc. At the moment, we are presently exploring opportunities of setting up a mini feed mill on our farm in partnership with Jorsey Ashbel to enable us directly manufacture our feeds. With that we can reduce the cost of production and increase margins by combining our own feed rations. On the demand side, with a population approaching 200 million people, there is a high demand for poultry products in Nigeria year round. Our present channels of making sales includes 2500 Mom &Pop shops, 128 Fast foods operators, 37 hotels, 150 caterers, 112 restaurants,& 20 supermarkets all located in the major cities. At the moment it’s very difficult for us to meet the demands of our customers’ base on our current status in the south-western region alone. This means we need to boost our production capacity by more than 100% to meet current demands. Therefore, this initiative would be a big boost for us and the market we serve. In addition, RGFN has been working for a long time with the community of PwDs, and can boldly attest to the fact that 95% of them own mobile phones that can atleast receive calls and send SMS. This is particularly important for us to ensure smooth running of the program.
Overall, our aim is to empower very poor communities of PwDs to create enterprises, boost income and inspire permanent and positive change. BirdPreneur’s Program gives families, and in particular vulnerable people, the skills to start new enterprises and improve their power to earn. We chose poultry farming as our first enterprise for a number of reasons - Traditionalist, Muslims and Christians all eat chickens and eggs so there is a large market demand. Also very little land is needed to raise chickens. To date, we have helped over 100 very poor families start their own backyard poultry enterprise and work their way out of poverty.

Photo of Dr. Mike Iyanro

• “This idea addresses economic empowerment (which is important) I would like to better understand how it addresses social stigma which is a key barrier to full participation in society”
One of the ways we address social stigma within the community we serve is our continued support for the “Igba Otun” Disability Awareness Training Program carried out by our non-profit arm Rainbow Gate Foundation Nigeria to train people in the local communities on how to accept, work, and live with people with disabilities while addressing negative local attitude. Furthermore, we are proud of our commitment to include people with disabilities in our work. We work directly with people with disabilities themselves, who pursue livelihood activities with our support, and women who support a family member with a disability. Our work with people with disabilities began with collaboration with Almonsour Foundation, and our experience has grown with strong support across the state. We work with community development organizations and municipal governments to build their capacity to include people with disabilities in their programs. We also partner with Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) to leverage their expertise and, where appropriate, build their capacity to implement livelihood programs. We actively seek opportunities to increase our outreach to people with disabilities and to partner with organizations that share our commitment. We believe by improving awareness of inclusive practices and focusing on people’s abilities, attitudes will change and barriers will be broken so all PwDs are empowered. BirdPreneur will continue to support this strategy with grants and volunteer activities focused on promoting inclusion, providing access for all, and raising awareness about the abilities of people with disabilities.

• How will you functionally address the range of accessibility needs that might come up around farming for persons with disabilities?
BirdPreneur Farm-Potential Program is a resource that contains assistive solutions for avicultural workers with disabilities. In the program, there are products, designs and ideas, techniques and suggestions and several technical supports focused on poultry farming with a disability. We have a variety of different ways by which we add new items. We have a team that keeps their eyes open for new devices and products, and we look through a lot of farm magazines and other publications. We also get notifications from people who are manufacturing their own pieces of technology who want to make them available to others.
The BirdPreneur team puts each item in the program toolkit through a review process to check for viability and for any safety concerns and members collaborate before adding them to the program. However, we are open to new ideas to help us better self our target audience.

• How did this idea come about and why the poultry sector? Was it requested by the community, is it something you are currently exploring the need for with the community, etc?
I was born in a humble rural set up in Kano-Nigeria. My mother been a single mother struggled to raise 3 of us solely through raising local chickens for the entire part of my childhood years. This childhood experience facing poverty shaped my thinking and planted in me the determination to steer my communities out of poverty, and its devastating socio-economic effects. So after graduating from medical school, I decided to initiate & drive the concept I believed could reach out to the emerging markets, thus my current social enterprise were formed leveraging on my childhood experiences raising backyard chickens. I chose poultry farming as the first enterprise for a number of reasons aside the one I mentioned above- Traditionalist, Muslims and Christians all eat chickens and eggs so there is a large market demand for it in Nigeria with a population close to 200 million people. Also very little land is needed to raise chickens. Our team has been working with the local communities for the past 6 years, and this project is designed along with the communities since they are the major beneficiaries.

Overall, we are not perfect yet and we are open to suggestions & mentorship via the Amplify Platform to make our model even better.