Story of “B.Balady Eggs”: A Remarkable Success
With funding from USAID/Leahy
War Victims Fund, the WRF launched in October 2001 a program that
aims at expanding economic opportunities for war-affected families
and individuals through establishing income generating agricultural
and food production programs. By March 31, 2007, 194 grants were
provided benefiting more than 1,560 war victims and landmine
survivors as direct beneficiaries.
One of the major income generating programs of the COOP has been
“The Poultry Raising for Egg Production Program”. This program
assists war victims and landmine survivors in raising a small number
of egg layers (200-300) in a “natural” way, in their backyard, using
the “free-range” technique where the layers are fed with natural
feed (free of any chemical or animal additive and based on
international norms for such types of rearing) and have free access
to an open air area where they can roam and feed on herbs,
vegetables, minerals, and other natural products to produce
“free-range” eggs. In addition, the farms and layers are also
followed up regularly through veterinary control and quality
assurance visits and the farmers are provided with all necessary
rearing tools and techniques.
The produced eggs have been marketed under the brand name
“B.Balady®” (a brand designed and owned by the COOP). Since its
launching in the Lebanese market, B.Balady® egg has gained an
expanding market share of the (very competitive) premium quality
“natural” egg market. Currently, B.Balady® is believed to be the
number one brand selling premium (natural) eggs in major
supermarkets and special stores in Beirut, Mount Lebanon, and South
Lebanon. B.Balady® egg is also currently sold at the highest price
among similar products.
Within this context, and in spite of all the challenges that faced
the sector during the last two years, particularly the bird flu
scare of 2005 and the effects of the war of July 2006, B.Balady® egg
sales increased from a weekly average of 1,900 6-egg packs
(distributed in 102 market outlets) in December 2005 to a weekly
average of 3,700 6-egg packs (distributed in 182 outlets) in
December 2006. Moreover, and during the last week of March 2007,
B.Balady® egg sales maintained a weekly average of 3,620 6-egg packs
in spite of the Easter fasting season, while at the same time
expanding the market to around 200 market outlets.
A major factor in the success of the Poultry Raising for Egg
Production Program is the record ‘farm-to-shelf’ time that B.Balady®
eggs take to reach the consumer. In spite of the fact that the
currently producing 48 farms are scattered all over the district of
Jizzine, with all logistic challenges, the COOP has succeeded in
minimizing the farm-to-shelf time to 2-3 days, including collection,
cleaning, packaging, labeling, and delivery; thus, ensuring the
freshness and high quality of the B.Balady® egg.
This is believed to be a major achievement of the Project and the
COOP, which is mainly due to: (i) good planning and systems
development, (ii) appropriate capacity building of all concerned,
(iii) strict follow-up and quality control and assurance, (v)
effective marketing and sales, and (vi) appropriate crisis
This program is currently ensuring income to more than 48
war-affected families with more than 350 beneficiaries with an
average additional monthly income of $319 per family. It also
generates additional income to the COOP and provides several job
Landmine Survivor Expands Economic Opportunities: Story
of Naja Dagher
Naja, a 40-year-old father of
four, lives with his wife Laurette and four children Nadine, Elena,
Gilbert, and Maribelle in Mrah El-Habbas village in the District of
Jizzine, South Lebanon. In 1984, Naja survived a landmine blast that
affected his life physically, psychologically, and economically.
Eighteen years after the accident, Naja became a beneficiary of the
“Herb Cultivation Program” within the context of the Project
“Expanding Economic Opportunities for Landmine Survivors in the
District of Jizzine” implemented by the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF)
with funding from the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) and the Leahy War Victims Fund. Moreover, Naja
became one of the first members of the Development Cooperative in
Jizzine, the partner of WRF in this Project.
With continuous technical and material support from WRF, Naja
succeeded in initiating and developing his own Herb Cultivation
activity on a piece of land secured by him and his brothers near his
house in Mrah El-Habbas. An in-kind grant from WRF allowed Naja to
plant five thousand herb seedlings after preparing the land and
installing an irrigation system. With evident success, Naja has become
more involved in agriculture season after season. During the season of
summer-autumn 2004, Naja harvested around 400 Kilograms of
high-quality dried oregano, exceeding the harvest of any other Herb
beneficiary since the initiation of the Project. This secured a
seasonal income of more than US$ 2,650 to Naja and his family.
working on his field
Today and after 3 years from receiving his
grant from WRF, Naja expanded his involvement and investment in
agriculture and established three green houses, where he planted
organic tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants, and other vegetables. “I would
have not been able to achieve what I have without the experience
gained through the technical training program and the support I
received from WRF and USAID”, says Naja gratefully. He will soon be
fulfilling his dream of expanding his agricultural business by
establishing four additional green houses through a loan from KAFALAT;
thus, making use of the experience he has gained from the Project and
investing the money he has earned from herb cultivation.
Naja says that, being a beneficiary in the Jizzine Project and a
member in the Development Cooperative in Jizzine has given him a new
hope in life. He added that his success in the Project has motivated
him to dedicate all his and his family’s efforts and time in
agriculture, which will secure a productive life for him and his
The Story of Mohiba
Mohiba was 15 years old when
she became a victim of a landmine explosion that took away the fingers
of her right arm and maimed her left arm. This incident did not only
affect her physically, but also psychologically, socially, and
economically. For years Mohiba faced difficulty in working, taking
care of herself, and coping with her surrounding.
In 1991 Mohiba got married. “My husband is mute and deaf, and
communicating with him was quite complicated”, Mohiba says, “yet I
lived with him a simple and happy life”. Today, Mohiba is the mother
of a girl and twin baby boys.
Mohiba and her children
During the past few years the economic
situation of Mohiba’s family drastically deteriorated. “There were
times when I could not afford to buy milk for my baby boys”, Mohiba
says, “so I contacted Caritas, a Lebanese NGO, and when they knew I
was a landmine survivors they referred me to WRF”.
Upon learning about WRF’s Jizzine Economic Opportunities Project,
Mohiba was interested in the Poultry Program; however, she did not
have land-space to build a henhouse. Nabil, a good man from Mohiba’s
hometown, provided her with a piece of land and hired a worker to
assist her in taking care of the hens. With this Poultry Program
grant, Mohiba has a secure monthly income for her and her family.
THE YOUNGEST BEEKEEPER AND HIS FATHER
Bshara, a landmine survivor,
lost his left arm and had his other hand maimed as a result of a
landmine explosion in 1987. Since then, Bshara’s family has been
facing the complexities of life, especially the financial ones, owing
to the difficulty for a person in his condition to find a job that
secures a steady source of income.
beekeeper and his father
With the launching of WRF’s Jizzine
Economic Opportunity Project, Bshara became one of the beekeeping
beneficiaries. However, with time Bshara’s physical conditions
hindered him from taking care of the beehives. Samuel, his 9 year old
son, started helping him in this mission after attending special
training sessions related to beekeeping given by experts in the field.
Every weekend, Samuel wears a special suit, which was specifically
ordered and provided to him by WRF, and accompanies his father to
check on the beehives. “My son is the left arm that I lost”, Bshara
says, “Without this big beekeeper I can not take care of the beehives
on my own”. Today, after almost one year of receiving the beehives,
and with the efforts of Samuel, Bshara has achieved the highest honey
yield among all beneficiaries.
“Day by day I get more fascinated with how bees work and make honey”,
Samuel says with a smile on his face. Samuel dreams of the day when he
will be old enough to take care of the beehives on his own. Meanwhile
with the start of the academic year, Samuel plans to help his father
take care of the beehives during his play-time.
PAUL AND HIS BEES
Paul Elias, born in 1969, is a construction worker from the small
village of Ain-Majdalayn in the District of Jizzine-South Lebanon.
Prominent in his profession, Paul enjoyed a good income and a peaceful
life with his wife, daughter, and baby boy.
Never to Paul’s imagination would his journey to pick snails from a
familiar field tragically change his life and that of his family
forever. While searching diligently through the bushes, he
accidentally stepped on a landmine which obliterated his left leg.
Trying tirelessly to exit the field to safety, Paul again stepped on
another mine which rid him of his right leg, leaving him lying
hopelessly on the ground.
A man passing nearby saw Paul’s unfortunate accident and immediately
called the Lebanese Red Cross for help. An ambulance soon arrived to
the scene to transport Paul to the nearest hospital. Paul’s status was
very unstable and according to doctors, Paul was near-death due to his
Luckily Paul survived; however, was now left to deal with the fact
that he lost both of his legs and his job. Moreover, he was incurring
huge financial blows to cover hospital care. Paul was fortunately able
to purchase prosthetic limbs to support him in his new job as a
backyard farmer, for he was no longer able to practice his old
profession in construction. However, he could not help but worry about
his increasing expenses and responsibilities. Despite the help of his
brothers, Paul was still encountering financial difficulties.
Paul Elias and
Now, with the support of
WRF’s Jizzine Economic Opportunity Project, Paul’s self-confidence and financial situation have
improved and his hope for a better future has been reinstilled. Paul
now is a trained Beekeeper and a member of the Development Cooperative
in Jizzine. He can again support his family from the proceeds of the
sales of honey and honey related products.
A “STAR” IS BORN
Sixteen year old Laurice Khalil, also known as Laura, grew up in a
small village in the district of Jizzine-South Lebanon with her
parents and siblings. Being the oldest child in her family, Laura was
used to taking on early responsibilities and working under pressure.
Her dream was that one day she will make it “big” as a famous actress
or a successful film director.
One day Laura and her family were devastated with tragic news, her
father passed away through a close encounter with a landmine. However,
Laura found support through WRF disadvantaged Adolescent Girls Project, funded by
UNDP. This mentoring program lifted her spirit and associated her with
a new role model Mrs. Claudine Asaad, a social worker who volunteered
to help her.
Although a bit hesitant at first, Laura and Claudine’s relationship
grew strongly and the bond between them would never be broken. Upon
the learning of Laura’s passion for film directing and acting,
Claudine made her contacts and presented Laura with a marvelous
surprise. Thanks to the project and Claudine “a star is born”: Laura
was offered a full university scholarship to study film acting in
Beirut and to fulfill her dream.