Linna’s story

Linna Kinabo’s passion for poultry has helped her build a life-changing business.



Linna Kinabo’s passion for poultry has helped her build a life-changing business. She looks justifiably proud as she walks around her thriving homestead with its three poultry houses, neat vegetable plot and airy summer house; the latter built with profits from her business.

Fifty-seven-year-old Linna is a nurse at Dar Es Salaam’s central hospital. When she lost her husband ten years ago, she realised her nursing wages weren’t enough – she needed to earn more money if she was going to build a bright future for herself and her four children.

“When my husband died, I remained alone. My salary was not enough for schooling my children or for myself to live. I needed another business to increase my income.”

In 2011, Linna set up her new business, juggling keeping 100 chickens with her busy job at the hospital. She sold meat and eggs to people in her community and to local hotels, as well as to colleagues in Dar Es Salaam. Business was good, but Linna didn’t have a clear idea of what her poultry sales were bringing in because she was mixing her business income with her salary. She admits that she “didn’t really know how to do record keeping. I didn’t keep a record for how many chicks I had, how many chicks I sold, how many eggs I sold.”

Linna feeds her chickens

That changed when Linna attended MKUBWA enterprise training from ExxonMobil Foundation, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the Tanzania Gatsby Trust. “The training increased my understanding of entrepreneurship, especially on business, finance, marketing and networking,” says Linna. “After the training, I immediately started keeping records and separating my nursing income and poultry income. Before, when I mixed it, I didn’t think I was getting profit from my business. But after the seminars, I realised business is going up! I realise I can get about 1.2 million shillings (around £430) if I sell 500 chicks. Without records, you can’t do anything. If you keep records, you understand your business.”

Linna used her profits to invest in more chicks. She now has 500 and hopes to have 1,000 by the end of 2014. Before the training, she would regularly lose chicks to sickness, but now she knows how to keep them healthy.

“As well as the business skills, MKUBWA training taught me how to look after my chicks,” Linna explains. “I learnt how to mix up their food at home – this saves me money as it’s cheaper than buying it from the shops. I learnt which medicine to use if they are sick. After attending the seminar, I didn’t lose any chicks because I follow[ed] carefully the instructions from the vet who told us what to do.”

Her attentiveness is paying off – Linna’s eggs and meat are well known for their high quality. Her products are in demand with the caterers at the hospital she works in, from whom she receives large orders.

Many women are coming to my place to learn from me. They say, ‘Please tell me how to do business; I would like to be like you'.

Linna is in demand too. She’s such a success-story that she is now a sought-after mentor for other women in her community. “Many women are coming to my place to learn from me. They say ‘Ah! Please tell me how to do business; I would like to be like you’. I show them where to buy one-day-old chicks, how to mix the food. One woman I helped has gone from producing one or two eggs in a week to five or six trays!”

Even more rewarding for Linna is the support she is able to give her extended family. Her brother is disabled and, with the money she is making from her business, Linna is paying for his children’s education. “With this business of mine, I am sending all five of the children to school. And they are going to good schools – private schools.”

Linna plans to retire from nursing in 2017. She has already enjoyed great success with her chickens and has only been working with them part-time; with extra hours to devote to her business, who knows how fast it will grow!

Linna holds a carton of eggs