Selfie of Evangelista Chekera standing among chickens (Courtesy of Evangelista Chekera)
The equipment that Evangelista Chekera's company makes is for small farmers. Most of the chicken that Zimbabweans eat is from small farms. (Courtesy of Evangelista Chekera)

One poultry farmer in Zimbabwe believes chicken can help feed the world.

Evangelista Chekera developed an interest in agriculture at age 10, thanks to her father. He taught her the value of investing in agriculture, bringing home seminar booklets for her to read. As a student, Chekera excelled in agriculture classes.

“Later on in life I realized that I want to make a significant impact in the food industry,” she told ShareAmerica. “It pained me to see small-scale farmers doing the wrong things because of their lack of knowledge.”

Her belief in chicken is signified by her company’s name: Passion Poultry.

The business created a device to reduce the mortality rate among young chickens and another that assists with the slaughtering process. The first device helps farmers manage the “brooding” period, when chickens are just a few weeks old. She obtained two patents for her innovations.

A TechWomen alumna

Chekera’s leadership skills were one reason she was chosen to participate in TechWomen, a U.S. Department of State exchange program that helps women in Africa, Asia and the Middle East advance their careers in science, technology, engineering and math through networking and mentoring.

She was among more than 100 TechWomen participants who visited the United States earlier this year as the program enters its second decade.

Chekera said her coach taught her how to build effective teams, while a mentor addressed how to maintain a balance between work and family life.

Evangelista Chekera with arm resting on slaughtering device with four chickens in it (Courtesy of Evangelista Chekera)
Evangelista Chekera stands next to a slaughtering device that she designed for small farmers. The device makes slaughtering birds easier. (Courtesy of Evangelista Chekera)

Chekera sees the connection between small farms and the wider community needs of food and economic sufficiency. She shares stories about methods to boost agricultural productivity on her company blog. They include detailed statistics and address larger questions such as hunger and nutrition.

“I believe that these farmers can build sustainable businesses, generate income and look after their families with the information I share,” she said.

She said farmers in Africa could benefit from expanded use of technology to predict future weather patterns. As for women considering a career in the field, Chekera said they might already have the necessary skills.

“Women are already in the STEM field, but they just don’t know it,” she said. “I actually didn’t know it until one of my mentors told me so.”