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In a place of poverty, hope from the humble egg

Here at Egg Farmers of Canada, we are constantly investing in and building social license–our special responsibility to our communities. In a new series of blog posts we are going to tell you more about what we do to be a socially responsible industry, starting today with an example of our global engagement. Eggs are one answer to the challenge of world hunger–low-cost to produce, and high-impact in vitamins and protein. The story of our work in Swaziland is a perfect illustration of that, and the power of the humble egg to change lives.

Tim Lambert
CEO, Egg Farmers of Canada

In this part of the world, baby Deborah’s story is not a new one. Born prematurely, Deborah’s mother abandoned her at the side of a road. She was found two days later. Doctors said she wouldn’t live. This is a part of life in Swaziland. Forty-two percent of Swazis are infected with HIV/AIDS. One in three are undernourished. The country is home to 200,000 orphans–many with stories of abandonment just like Deborah’s.1 But Deborah’s story took a hopeful turn because of Janine Maxwell. Janine and her husband Ian are the founders of Project Canaan, an orphanage for more than 100 Swazi children. Project Canaan saved Deborah’s life–one of many little miracles that call Project Canaan home.

Project Canaan’s farms feed thousands in nearby communities.

Project Canaan is also home to farms that employ more than 250 Swazis. In partnership with Egg Farmers of Canada, a new farm is being added to Project Canaan–a poultry farm. Manitoba’s Kurt Siemens is a true believer in the project. He has made several trips to Swaziland to help build the farm from the ground up. “Eggs are the perfect food for that region. It’s the perfect protein with all the vitamins you need,” he says. Seeing a chance to make a difference doing the work we love, Egg Farmers of Canada stepped up to lead the new development. We now work to ensure a Canadian is always on the ground at Project Canaan, teaching staff the ins and outs of egg farming.

David Brooks once wrote that humans “plan for happiness, but we’re formed by suffering.”2 Kurt Siemens felt this when he bore witness to the impact of our work in Swaziland. “My wife and I picked up two children and brought them to Project Canaan… it is hard to put into words the emotions of that,” says Kurt. “The mother of those kids had absolutely nothing. We brought a tray of eggs for her, and that was all she had.”

Kurt Siemens (second from right) pictured here with Project Canaan’s poultry team–his students. “The team took courses in poultry management,” says Kurt, “but learning from a book and from the real world are two different things.”

Egg Farmers of Canada builds social license through active global citizenship. As “egg experts”, we feel a special responsibility. The hidden potential of eggs is their snowball effect–and it’s transformative. For instance: more protein makes learning easier for children. As a result eggs can make an extraordinarily outsized impact on human development. We are working to bring that impact to places across the globe.


Heart For Africa
The Atlantic