Bill Gates did something pretty cool to improve the lives of 100,000 families living on $2 a day.

“It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens,” the Microsoft founder wrote in a June 7 blog post.

So, Gates and his wife Melinda donated 100,000 chickens to families and individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Simultaneously, their foundation has launched a partnership with Heifer International to create a sustainable market system in the region for poultry.

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Not only does breeding chickens help keep children healthy, they raise living standards by thirty percent by boosting incomes from $700 annually to $1,000 per year.

The Gates Foundation wants to make sure families can buy birds that have been properly vaccinated and are well suited to the local growing conditions. The goal is to eventually help 30 percent of the rural families in sub-Saharan Africa raise improved breeds of vaccinated chickens, up from just 5 percent now.

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“It has been eye-opening for me to learn what a difference they can make in the fight against poverty,” wrote Gates.

The idea of providing chickens as an investment for the poor is not new, of course, but it sure is new for the city kid who grew up in Seattle. He admits he’s one billionaire who is “excited about chickens”.

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