My name is Joana and I am the head of the chicken coop of the united youth association of Pundam (AJUP), a tabanka (village) in the Cacheu region in Guinea-Bissau, beneficiary of the project to promote the agricultural supply chain of Mani Tese. I was chosen by her community to be in charge of the chicken coop because I am a very motivated woman with a great dedication to work. If you ask me if the work in the chicken coop is heavy, I answer no, because I’m used to the effort in the garden, in the paddy field and in the cashew harvest.

Every morning I wake up early, set up the simple house where I live with my extended family and go to the chicken coop where I feed the chickens, weigh them, and clean the troughs.

I’m pretty shy, but when I enter the chicken coop I become its queen. The chickens recognize me, they approach me and it seems as if they are waiting for a caress. The first days of life of the chicks are the most critical because the chicks need a lot of heat (the high Guinean temperatures are not enough) so sometimes I sleep in the hen house to check that the brazier with the coal does not go out.

My dedication led the chicken coop to win the regional award for best chicken coop. Now my dream is to have one of my own in my home.