Running the day-to-day operations of a small international non-profit is no easy feat. We are beyond grateful to have worked with Eric Boateng since 2011. Since that time, Eric has developed as a leader, acquired technical skills, and has done his best to manage a growing program on a limited budget.
We recently asked Eric to recap some of his activities as part of a program review we are doing on Farm in a Barrel. We thought you would enjoy reading about this as well!
A Day in the Life of Eric Boateng
What does a peek into the life of Farm in the Barrel’s program manager Eric Boateng, look like? We wonder how he finds the time to do anything other than run around like a chicken with its head cut off (pun intended). Whether he is prepping the brooder or purchasing land, he’s helping the Farm in a Barrel vision develop like never before.
He starts by setting the system up, which can take a couple of hours. Before the chickens arrive he prepares for the brooding process, which includes cleaning, disinfecting, and collecting of wood shavings. Instead of setting it and forgetting it, he puts extra love into the system to ensure its success. According to Eric, “The first three days when the chickens arrive I usually don’t go out, I spend the whole day with them to make sure they are comfortable in their new home.”
Every new cycle of Farm in a Barrel, Eric visits Asylum Down (Reis&Co) to place an order for day old chicks. Sometimes that can be an ordeal in itself. According to Eric, “I have to be there before the set time and sometimes wait the whole night till is my turn to take my order. It sometimes takes four hours of waiting for the day old to come out.” Makes that Portland traffic sound a little bit better!
Buying medicine is another venture costly of his time. “I have to wake up very early in the morning as early as 3:30 am to go and join a long queue to purchase vaccine every Friday. That takes almost 4-5 hrs and depending on the queue and I have to administer it before the sun comes out or the vaccine gets hot.” This procurement of vaccines repeats itself over four weeks while the sick chickens stay at the brooder house.
When the chickens are about two weeks old, their droppings need management so he changes the wood shavings after every three days. He collects replacement shavings from the sawmill, even trucking it by wheelbarrow when his car is in the workshop.
One of the largest challenges he faces is to supply feed. He does this two times to the beneficiary. It involves a lot of labor as offloading the feed takes travel time and delivery and most of the times the beneficiary is not present to assist. After the chickens feed, he checks up on them twice a week for three to four hours.
Eric also takes phone calls from beneficiaries reporting incidents in the system, which I he often follows up with onsite visits to inspect the problem.
The process doesn’t stop with supplying and feeding the chickens and working directly with the beneficiaries, he also assists in selling them as well. It is a lot more involved of a process then we are accustomed to. When the chickens are ready to be harvested he dresses the carcass himself for the customer purchasing the chicken.
Eric even works to set the land up to be successful for Farm in a Barrel. It can be very difficult to even acquire land in Ghana. For the past two or three months as we’ve been buying a small piece of land, Eric has been daily chasing after the surveyor and owner of the land for site planning. Supervising the clearing of the land and construction of fences also take three or more hours in the morning because he needs to purchase the materials for the construction and also wait for cement to be mixed.
It is easy to understand how much he needs an assistant at the farm who will take care of the chickens when he is not available and also assist him in distributing the chicks and feed. If you feel moved to donate to Eric’s work please let us know. You can donate time or money. By partnering with us, you’re empowering the world’s poor with long-term solutions to climb out of poverty forever.
Thank you to Eric for all of his hard work, and for Alli Vaughan for helping put this article together!