Microsoft CEO and philanthropist Bill Gates has launched a charity program with which he aims to donate 100,000 vaccinated chickens to poor Africans in the sub-Saharan region.
The US tech mogul has teamed up with Heifer International – a charity organization operating in Africa – to give away chickens to at least 30 percent of rural families in sub-Saharan Africa, with hopes of uplifting their economic prospects.
At the program’s launch in New York, Mr. Gates said that with only five chickens, a farmer could earn over $1,000 a year, which would be enough to support most families in sub-Saharan Africa.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) June 9, 2016
At least 41 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa live in abject poverty, according to the United Nations.
“These chickens are multiplying on an ongoing basis, so there’s no investment that has a return percentage anything like being able to breed chickens,” Mr. Gates said at the launch.
Gates’ Corporate Socia Responsibility in Africa
The tech billionaire already has several other charity programs in Africa.
In 2006, Gates set up a five-year program to help African farmers improve their produce by enhancing soil fertility.
The program, which was a partnership between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, is estimated to have benefited at least 1.75 million African small-scale farmers, 40 percent of them women.
In 2008, Gates donated $51.3 million to Heifer International through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help implement the East Africa Dairy Development project, which started in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and later expanded to Tanzania.
The project was aimed at helping dairy farmers in East Africa grow profits by strengthening their relationship with processors, distributors and consumers.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up with other charitable organizations such as GAVI Alliance to distribute vaccine and fund immunization programs in Africa.
The foundation is also involved in sensitizing African families about voluntary family planning.
Critics Question True Beneficiaries of Gates’ Philanthropy
While most of Bill Gates’ projects in Africa are intended to uplift lives, their vaccine and agriculture programs in Africa and elsewhere in the world have been criticized regularly.
In January this year, a group of activists condemned the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and some of their grant recipients for promoting the use of GMOs in America and Africa by funding programs that are beneficial to agrichemical corporations and improperly influencing agricultural development in Africa.
Many have also argued that a big chunk of financial grants given by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation end up supporting hi-tech scientific programs in the US and Europe instead of benefiting poor African farmers or African-run NGOs.
Some African farmers have openly expressed their dissatisfaction with Bill Gates’ high-yield seeds and fertilizers, saying that they are expensive and have led to the loss of indigenous diets.