Recently, Bill Gates created a game on his blog, gatesnotes, called Coop Dreams. It is a trivia game all about poultry and each time a player get the questions right, the Gates Foundation donates a flock of chickens to a family living in sub-Saharan Africa through Heifer International. The goal of Coop Dreams is to donate 100,000 chickens to increase the total percentage of rural families in sub-Saharan Africa raising vaccinated chickens from around five percent to 30 percent. The game begs the question- can chickens end world hunger?
The game started as a challenge on the blog that asked readers to answer what they would do if they could only spend $2 a day. Gates answered the question himself saying, "I would raise chickens".
According to Gates, chickens are easy and inexpensive to raise and they help keep kids healthy. Chickens can also be a source of income, and because women typically maintain the flocks, they can also empower women and help alleviate poverty. Studies have shown that when women control their household's income, children benefit from increased spending on education, food, and general poverty alleviation.
However, there are challenges to Gates' approach - vaccines, for one. Vaccinating the new chickens can be costly so a family spending money on vaccines, could be counterproductive. Another challenge is that recipient countries have to be willing to let the Gates Foundation donate the chickens, and increasing family chicken production might not be a priority. LEARN MORE