The San Move From Seclusion to a Healthy and Food Secure Community

The San Move From Seclusion to a Healthy and Food Secure Community

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Known as Abathwa in Ndebele and Basangwa in Kalanga, the San inhabit remote areas of southern Africa, including Tsholotsho district of Matabeleland North province in south-western Zimbabwe. By tradition, the San are a nomadic people of hunter and gatherers who value seclusion from the rest of the world as a way to avoid disturbance and preserve their culture. Historically, this mobile and insulated lifestyle has made the San hard to reach for development assistance programs and has contributed to higher levels of illness and food insecurity. The Amalima program partners with San communities to improve health and income while respecting their desire to maintain traditional values.

In Tsholotsho, San communities are largely found in Ward 10 where the Amalima program is building on existing communal initiatives and solidarity to address food and nutrition insecurity and strengthen resilience to shocks. Through an introductory communal meeting with an Amalima Field Officer, members and leaders of Mtshina village San community became interested in the program’s trainings, particularly conservation agriculture and the Amalima Community Health Club (CHC) concept. Both adults and children were frequently ill with diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, and the village at large was motivated to improve their community’s livelihood and food security. Traditional leaders noted that San communities in the area have felt left out of many development initiatives because they are perceived as ‘outcasts’ in local society and have historically been marginalized by the sedentary, agricultural communities. As a result of the meeting, twenty-five community members (13 males & 12 females) representing households from half the village decided to establish the Siyazama Community Health Club (CHC).

As part of Amalima’s efforts to improve nutrition and health among pregnant and lactating women and children, CHC’s aim to increase awareness of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices in communities through completion of a 20 module Participatory Health and Hygiene Education (PHHE) training. CHCs foster learning for change through promotion of practical improvements at the household level (e.g. washing hands at critical times, and establishing latrines, “tippy tap” hand washing stations and rubbish pits) to change the behaviors of community members in favor of a more hygienic environment. The CHC members began receiving lessons in September 2014 from Grace Moyo, their neighbor and Community Based Facilitator (CBF), who was trained herself by an Amalima Field Officer and Ministry of Health Environmental Health Technician (EHT). After each week’s lesson, members conduct practicals at home with family members where they put their training to use.

CHC member, Anna Madhumane, acknowledged how health unconscious her community was prior to the formation of the CHC. Of the widespread disregard for cleanliness she said, “People were not hygienic and, they used open defecation.” But Anna quickly pointed out that behaviors changed after the trainings: club members adopted the recommended practices. They built tippy taps, pot racks, rubbish pits, began to keep clean yards and wash their hands. “The CHC also gives us a platform to share ideas,” she said. “We talk about moulding bricks and getting more men involved to help dig pits for latrines.” The general community at large began to adopt some of the hygiene standards too – like digging a hole for ‘cat’ sanitation method for defecation and tippy taps for handwashing – which resulted in a noticeable reduction in cases of illness.

After completing the PHHE sessions, all 25 Siyazama CHC members graduated at a community-wide ceremony with songs, dramas and poetry about the importance of WASH practices. The MoHCC EHT, who works with Amalima, noted that this ward was generally regarded as a health unconscious community. “The San people were always looked down up on,” she said, “but now with this graduation and the change that has happened they have attained better status in local society.”

At the ceremony, Anna was awarded the first place “model home” award for adopting and maintaining hygienic practices at her homestead where she lives with her 16-year-old son, two grandchildren and a 3-month-old great-grandchild. She constructed a tippy tap, rubbish pit, pot drying rack, and practices clean dish-washing. Anna indicated that she is happy with the way the community has changed and she is determined to be a champion of hygiene standards—especially after receiving her award. “The certificate is a source of motivation for me. If am lazy to clean the yard, I am motivated to keep the cleanliness of my home when I see the certificate,” she said.

However, the club members recognized that their efforts to improve their community shouldn’t be limited to hygiene alone. In fall of 2014 while the CHC was at its early stages, the 25 members also participated in an Amalima conservation agriculture (CA) training to learn methods to increase yields in the arid area where they live. Most people in Mtshina rely on casual labor in the surrounding villages as a source of income, which generally goes towards buying corn meal and paying school fees. With CA, members hoped to become more independent and capable of feeding their children year-round. The training covered land preparation methods, fertilizer application, planting, pest management and post-harvest handling. After working together as a CHC group, the transition to CA was a natural process, noted Ana. In the spirit of Amalima members worked together to prepare the land and dig basins for each other’s fields—a practice which sped up the time it would take one household to do the work alone and resulted in each plot being ready for planting before the first rains.

On her 0.5 hectare plot, Ana planted maize, millet, sorghum, round nuts and groundnuts. Despite the severe 2014/2015 drought, Ana’s plot achieved above average yields for the season with 150 kgs of millet, 75 kgs of sorghum and 18 kgs of ground nuts and round nuts each, of which she has 50kgs of millet remaining. Of the maize, she said “it completely dried out. You could have lit a match and burned the field to ash.”

The CHC members recognized that their CA plots had much higher yields than farmers who practiced conventional farming and had a very poor or failed harvest. With this in mind, the members have already started preparing land for the upcoming cropping season. Each household plans to use CA methods, focus on planting millet and sorghum (small drought-tolerant grains) and avoid the more water-dependant maize. With the support of Amalima, Mtshina village is also establishing a nutrition garden where kale, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and other vegetables will be grown for consumption and sale, generating income and improving dietary diversity for 50 households.

“A few years ago,” Ana started, “if Amalima had approached our community, we would have fled, or hid, wishing to avoid contact with outsiders.” But now, Mtshina village is showing a commitment to hygiene and food security, which will benefit themselves, their children and grandchildren.

Amalima Begins Much Anticipated Formative Research in Zimbabwe

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Improving dietary diversity and quality of foods consumed by the entire Zimbabwean household was the driving force behind the collaborative baseline study conducted recently by Amalima, a USAID-supported program managed by CNFA. The Amalima program promotes the adoption of new practices in agriculture, disaster preparedness and infant and young child feeding to improve nutrition in over 66,000 households in Tsholotsho of Matebeleland North and Gwanda, Bulilima and Mangwe of Matebeleland South.

An analysis of nutrition in the region led to the conclusion that nutrition problems are a result of household feeding practices and behaviors, rather than a direct result of food shortages. As such, rather than offering prescribed solutions and recommended practices, the formative research will seek to better inform what motivates the individual behaviors, interests, attributes and particular needs of the communities the program will be serving over the next five years.

Preliminary tests and research allowed the Amalima team to capture baseline information on everything from what crop varieties are grown in the region, what assets are desired by the community and the level of household nutrition. These results, along with lessons learned, will be used to inform a broader survey that will drive program activates moving forward.

USAID Empowers Self-Employed Women to Become Entrepreneurs

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Five years ago, Hajira Beyene, and her family of 12 became beneficiaries of the Ethiopian government’s safety net program – an initiative that supports the poorest of the poor in food insecure districts of the country to help them meet their basic needs and become self-sufficient – in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). For 38-year-old Hajira, who is the head of her family, the 750 birr she received a month from the safety net program, along with food rations, was helpful, but far from enough.

Hajira knew she had to take matters into her own hands to ensure that her family would survive and escape poverty. She decided to start rearing and selling goats, by using one female goat that she received from a charitable organization known as Goal, and selling seasonal vegetables, which she planted in her yard when the rains allowed. Despite her efforts, lack of technical and business skills hamstrung Hajira’s efforts and left her without fair return, keeping her family reliant on the safety net program.

Hajira is one of the 63 women from the Amhara, SNNP and Tigray regions who received a four-month training on business management and leadership skills organized by USAID’s Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) project from February to May 2015. The training taught the women how to become successful business operators by offering training in resource management, as well as improving their participation in the leadership and decision-making process of their businesses.

 

“The knowledge I gained from the training has entered my bones, not just my head,” Hajira siad.

 

The training has given her the confidence to take immediate action in purchasing one more goat for rearing by better managing some cash she had. “I purchased a new goat for 650 birr. She is expecting and will be giving birth in two months’ time, and the twin from the old goat will be ready for sale in a few months. Unlike before, I plan to sell them at a better price, and save the income from one of the goats’ sales, so that I can plan to build a better barn for the expansion,” said Hajira who mentioned lack of capital, as her main challenge.
According to Hajira before the training she never considered borrowing from the savings and credit association in her village for fear of not being able to pay back the money “Every 15 days, I contribute five birr to the association. If I borrow money, I need to pay it back within three months together with the interest based on the borrowed amount. My fear of doing so was always based on not having the source to pay back,” explained Hajira, who thinks that the training has now given her the self-confidence to overcome this difficulty as she will practice better financial management thanks to the knowledge she gained from the training.

As the safety net program of the government is set to terminate this year with a probability of being replaced with a different program, this training by USAID is a timely contribution to support Hajira’s transformation, and that of other women, into self-reliance. “There was a time when my first born had to drop out of school after he reached the ninth grade, because I couldn’t put him a school uniform. Although he is a year behind his class mates, I was able to work hard and send him back to school,” Hajira, who herself dropped out of school from the sixth grade as a result of unwanted marriage, said. She is firm in wanting to invest more in her children’s education, including her nine-year-old grandchild who is in the first grade, and whom she supports after he lost both of his parents at an early age.

South Sudan Cattle Program

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Overview:

The two-year South Sudan Cattle Program (SSCP), funded by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), sought to mitigate local conflicts through the development of a cattle identification and livestock ownership and registration system to reduce both cattle theft and trade of stolen cattle. With over 12 million cattle in South Sudan, the livestock are an important source of rural livelihoods and play a central role in defining social status. Cattle theft is a common occurrence, and stolen animals are a source of meat, milk, and dowry.

Program Approach:

CNFA conducted on-the-ground research to identify the best practices to reduce cattle theft and inter-clan conflicts, with a specific focus on the development of an improved identification method and coupled with a cattle ownership registration program.

A 2012 assessment identified non-radio frequency identification tags as the cheapest, easiest, and most reliable method of identification, where cattle were uniquely numbered and entered into a cloud-based registry designed specifically for SSCP. Through a consultative process and an intensive assessment and design phase, CNFA designed a traceability system that was tailored to the realities of South Sudan, providing the greatest opportunities for sustainable expansion and implementation at a national level.

The CNFA team launched a pilot identification and registration system that enabled individual cattle to be traced for life. Coupled with the identification system, SSCP activities supported the development of a computerized cattle ownership registration center.

Another important factor was the ongoing coordination between the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), especially the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries (MARF), and Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW) volunteers. Under the two-year pilot project, CNFA worked closely with the MARF to identify and catalog the ownership of over 25,000 livestock, training large teams of CAHWs who carried out the work of tagging and capturing the data for animals and owners.

The overall goal of the project was to tag 150,000 cattle with non-radio frequency ear tags. Unfortunately, SSCP was suspended in April 2014 and then formally closed by the Department of State in September of the same year, due to escalating safety issues as a result of the violence that began in December 2013.

As of last tagging count, 23,232 cattle were tagged and entered into the SSCP database. Over 460 community mobilization meetings were held, helping to inform over 7,220 people about LITS. Many initially-skeptical community members in the targeted regions saw stolen animals returned to their rightful owners, helping spread the concept of adopting cattle tagging practices. Thus far, over 700 community members have tagged their cattle. The ultimate goal of the project was to reduce cattle theft by 25% and preliminary results indicate over a 60% reduction in cattle theft.

Partnership for Economic Growth

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Overview:

The Partnership for Economic Growth (PEG) was a two-and-a-half year project funded by USAID, which supported the Somali people’s goal to improve economic growth and livelihoods in Somaliland and Puntland. Under the leadership of DAI, the program collaborated with the Ministry of Livestock, Ministry of Commerce, and private sector groups to better the envi­ronment for investment and export marketing and generated agricultural-based employment.

The livestock sector in Somaliland faced significant challenges, including increased competition from neighboring nations, trade barriers due to disease control, lack of access to veterinary inputs, and inefficient veteri­nary services. However, a strengthened livestock sector is vital, as 65% of the economy is comprised of livestock-related commerce. In partnership with private and public sector, CNFA contributed its experience targeting all livestock value chains to assist the sector in the following areas:

Program Approach:

  • Capacity building of local veterinary service providers;
  • Improved animal feed and education for fodder farmers;
  • Provided veterinary services;
  • Trained of community animal health workers (CAHW);
  • Strengthened and improved commercial livestock feed supply systems;
  • Strengthened feedlot enterprises;
  • Developed dairy processing facilities, conducted livestock end-market analyses, and provided rural financial services.
  • Livestock Component:The Livestock Component was the largest of the PEG Project, where CNFA advised local non-profit organizations and enterprises that were recipients of capacity building grants and matching grants. These grants were utilized for the creation and implementation of demonstration farms, technical training in improved livestock care, dairy and fodder production techniques, livestock fattening programs, and capacity building of local stakeholders.
  • Matching Grants to Local Enterprises:The CNFA Livestock Component collaborated with four small and medium livestock enterprises under a matching grant component. The goal of the matching grant component was to expand various sub-sectors of the Somali livestock industry through local organizations. PEG matching grant recipients and illustrative activities underwent the following:
    • Al Husseini Farm and An’Aam Farm are Somali feed lot enterprises that received PEG grants and technical training in improved fodder production techniques. An’Aam Farm was created by an association of multiple investors, who collectively contributed more than $1 million in funds to create the farm. Al Husseini Farm operated on a much smaller scale, but both were fully functional feedlots providing animal fattening services to local farmers;
    • Horumar Farm was a model dairy farm, established with PEG support, which specialized in camel milk and fodder production. Horumar Farm received a small matching grant to provide fodder production, dairy production, and dairy processing trainings to increase the quality of milk in the surrounding area. Inspired by the success of Horumar farm, one Somali woman purchased several camels purely to be able to take advantage of the growing market.
    • With PEG capacity building assistance, Togheer Womens Livestock Traders Association initiated a small ruminants buying scheme, which purchased ruminants in rural areas and transported the animals to urban areas – primarily Buroa – or exported them regionally to an area with an increased demand and a higher price. Making only a $3 profit per head, the association applied for a PEG grant to begin a small-scale feedlot. The fattening station increased the weight of the sheep and goats, resulting in a price increase of up to 20% per animal at the end market.
  • Capacity Building of Somali NGOs:Under CNFA leadership, four local non-profit organizations were contracted to implement training programs and develop community-based demonstration farms where training in fodder production (i.e., variety selection, harvesting techniques, hay baling and storage, and mineral supplementation) and animal health (i.e., disease control, drug quality, and use) would be available.

Expanding Regional Access to Micro-finance and Start-up Capital: Kaaba Microfinance Institution (K-MKFI), the only MFI in Somaliland, was able to open a new office in the town of Gabiley through PEG program funds, serving micro-enterprises and the informal markets in Western Somaliland. K-MKFI uses an Islamic-compliant lending methodology, which enables a previously untapped market in rural areas to access finance. The majority of K-MKFI’s micro-finance clients were small-scale livestock producers and traders:

  • PEG contracted AIMS, a local consultancy firm, to complete an end market analysis of the livestock value chain in Somaliland and the larger region (Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen). This analysis and subsequent PEG knowledge transfer activity highlighted both opportunities and constraints facing the livestock value chain in the region;
  • The Livestock Investment Chapter of the 2013 Somaliland Investment Guide synthesized the findings of PEG’s Livestock End Market Study. The Investment Guide highlighted investment opportunities through a printed edition and website feature, which provides a platform to expand access to investment capital and targets potential diaspora investors.

Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development

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Overview:

The Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Program (I-LED) was a three-year initiative to assist communities affected by the October 2005 Kashmir earthquake. I-LED focused on generating increased incomes, employment, and an improved asset base for the earthquake-affected populations in the Siran and Kaghan Valleys in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Bagh District in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). The Livelihoods component, completed in 2008, delivered replacements of key farming systems, capacity building, and reconstruction of affected infrastructure. Complementing these efforts, I-LED developed agricultural and tourism value chains that resulted in the creation and support of 3,082 new and existing enterprises that provided full-time equivalent employment to more than 4,914 individuals by the project’s conclusion.

Program Approach:

  • Worked with communities to identify and prioritize needs and provided support for communities to restore livestock and re-establish crop systems;
  • Promoted industries with growth potential by strengthening key subsectors through grants training and technical assistance, which led to increased competitiveness of local Pakistani enterprises;
  • Engaged community groups and government stakeholders to facilitate stronger public-private partnerships, supported a positive role for government in enterprise development, and helped producers and processors improve economic opportunities through formal organization;
  • Value-Chain Development & Enterprise Development:I-LED was built upon revitalized agricultural production that introduced sustainable value-adding activities such as milk collection schemes and potato seed storages that created market and employment opportunities for farmers. By organizing producers and processors into clusters and associations, CNFA increased opportunities for collective marketing and purchasing as well as group advocacy. I-LED sought to generate new employment and income opportunities, improve competitiveness of products and services, and increase access to markets by providing the resources necessary to develop value chains and establish new enterprises;
  • Forage Crops:I-LED supported “Cut and Carry” fodder projects for each of the 176 feedlot grant recipients to improve the availability of green fodder. Recipients participated in trainings on land preparation, seed sowing, and fodder management;
  • Dairy Sector Improvement:The dairy sector strategy was two-fold: increase the production capacity of dairy farms and develop clearly defined milk production zones within close proximity of major regional markets. Trainings were provided on proper animal care to increase the sustainability of impact in the dairy sector;
  • Small Ruminants and Poultry:CNFA designed and conducted numerous training activities for farmers and associations. I-LED awarded livelihoods and enterprise grants to restore livestock populations and improve the production capacity and quality of animal products;
  • Grants and Training: I-LED eventually transitioned toward economic value-chain and local economic development using enterprise matching grants, value-chain grants, and farm store grants;
  • Support of Women Entrepreneurs:I-LED involved women and men equitably in the community engagement process and women made up 28% of program beneficiaries who received direct training;
  • Community Organization & Association Development: The Local Economic Development component focused on strengthening clusters and associations by promoting teamwork, enhancing local decision making, and maximizing usage of local resources. I-LED established linkages between local banks, enterprises, and associations to provide better access to loans and business services for entrepreneurs;
  • Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI):To facilitate the transition from relief to economic development, I-LED restored and reconstructed numerous physical structures vital to local communities, such as irrigation structures, shops, and public facilities.

Malawi Agrodealer Strengthening Program

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Overview:

The three-year Malawi Agro-dealer Strengthening Program (MASP) improved the input supply and output marketing distribution channels available to smallholder farmers in the underserved, remote areas of Malawi by developing a commercially viable network of agro-dealers. Prior to MASP interventions, these small farm stores were located mainly in urban areas and were therefore inaccessible for many farmers. In partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), CNFA provided targeted training in business management and productive farming methods and increased smallholder access to agro-dealers in remote areas, thereby raising rural incomes and increasing household productivity.

Program Approach:

  • Conducted a detailed survey of the existing agro-dealer network to identify underserved areas where new startups could be created;
  • Worked with input suppliers to develop and deliver technical training to agro-dealers and promote the use of improved seed;
  • Improved rural access to finance, which is difficult to obtain in remote areas due to the high cost of agricultural financing and high perceived risk by lending institutions;
  • Facilitated smallholder farmer access to larger markets for sale of their improved products;
  • Shaped agricultural policy to promote the interests of private sector growth.
  • Business Management Training:CNFA and MASP worked through commercial trainers to identify and train rural retailers in a six-module business management training program that culminated in agro-dealer certification. The business management training included sessions on: managing working capital, managing stocks, costing and pricing, selling and marketing, record keeping, and managing business relationships. MASP succeeded in training and certifying over 1,500 agro-dealers in Malawi;
  • Credit and Financial Services:After certifying agro-dealers, the program provided access to working capital and trade credit by linking them with input suppliers and microfinance institutions. CNFA leveraged private sector investments and backed commercial credit with a 50% credit guarantee. Almost 300 agro-dealers benefited from MASP’s guarantee component. In addition to improving smallholder access to key value chains and trade in rural markets, CNFA supported capacity building programs and the development of agricultural-specific lending products for financial institutions in Malawi;
  • Technical Training:The program also helped input suppliers to develop and deliver technical training to agro-dealers in product knowledge, handling and safe use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and use of improved seed. Training was complemented by increased smallholder farmer awareness of, and demand for, improved inputs through demonstration plots and farmer field days. CNFA worked with stakeholders, including the Pesticides Control Board and other groups, to increase their institutional capacity to deliver technical knowledge to smallholder farmers;
  • Agricultural Policy Reform:CNFA worked to improve agricultural policy by increasing the role of the private sector in policy advocacy, decreasing the government’s role in the inputs market and minimizing market distorting subsidies and government interventions. In Malawi, CNFA helped to create the Agriculture Inputs Traders Association (AITA) and worked with AITA to develop a white paper on fertilizer subsidies that was presented to the government. This submission led to a change from direct government distribution of fertilizer to a farmer-held voucher-based system;
  • Output Marketing:CNFA strengthened the linkage between input and output distribution channels and used the rural retailer as a link back to cash markets for their farmer customers. In Malawi, agro-dealers frequently served as a point of market information, traded in outputs as well as inputs, and often engaged in primary processing, storage, or handling. To foster and strengthen capacity to fill this varied role, MASP provided agro-dealers with small matching grants to improve storage facilities, put in small processing facilities, and invest more deeply in equipment for farmer outputs. CNFA trained 217 agro-dealers in output marketing;
  • Animal Health and Veterinary Training:Many of the agro-dealers surveyed provided veterinary supplies and animal healthcare products for rural farmers. As such, technical experts provided training on how to approach veterinary service provision, stock veterinary supplies, feed supplements, and link with wholesale suppliers;
  • Association Development:Association development efforts resulted in a sustainable forum for advocacy on behalf of small business agro-dealers throughout Malawi. Through MASP, CNFA strengthened associations through trainings on organizational management, member services, networking, advocacy, and capacity building. Overall, MASP supported nine agricultural associations and 29 agro-dealer associations.

Kenya Drylands Livestock Development Program

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Overview:

From 2010 to 2013, the USAID-funded Kenya Drylands Livestock Development Program (KDLDP) addressed obstacles facing pastoralists in northeastern Kenya. USAID awarded KDLDP to CNFA through the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Leader with Associate Award (LWA) mechanism. With a total budget of approximately $10 million, the program’s main objective was to increase income and food security for pastoralist households in the districts of Garissa, Ijara, Mandera, Tana River, and Wajir.

Pastoralists in northeastern Kenya face obstacles such as poor access to inputs like animal feed and water, limited access to vaccines, poor linkages between producers and markets, and a lack of price transparency in their local markets. To address these problems, CNFA focused on the entire livestock value chain, connecting herders to markets, credit services, and livestock health inputs while also working to improve the policies that affect pastoralists. CNFA worked with key local partners like the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) and a Kenyan affiliate, the Agricultural Marketing Development Trust (AGMARK), to address short-term issues facing pastoralists and to lay a foundation for long-term, sustainable development.

KDLDP integrated cross-cutting themes such as gender, youth, and adaptation to climate change, and the project undertook baseline studies, including Household Income Surveys, a Gender Analysis study, and Environment Impact Assessments. These studies and assessments helped to inform local policy and support the continuity of future development initiatives in KDLDP’s target regions.

Program Approach:

  • Enhanced Livestock Trade and Marketing:CNFA mobilized groups including Livestock Marketing Associations (LMAs) to form larger commercially oriented associations of producer groups called Pastoralist Marketing Clusters (PMCs). PMC employees received Business Management Training (BMT) to improve the groups’ negotiation, documentation, record keeping, and bookkeeping skills. Recognizing that cultural implication would not allow the Muslim population in the area to access traditional banking loans, the program created the Community Owned Finance Institution (COFI), Kenya’s first Sharia-compliant Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCOS). KDLDP also contributed to the National Livestock Market Information Systems (NLMIS) by providing weekly information from different markets within the program area. Key information generated from the data collected was broadcasted through the Wajir Community Radio and the Star FM radio stations;
  • Livestock Product Value Addition:CNFA identified initiatives that greatly improved the livelihoods of communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) areas. Program staff worked with local groups to produce and market value-added products for niche markets, identify new market opportunities, conduct studies of new enterprises, support the financing of viable enterprises via grants and guaranteed loans, and support improved performance of existing enterprises;
  • Increased Livestock Productivity and Competitiveness:The Business Management Training (BMT) component of KDLDP equipped agro-dealers with the skills and knowledge to manage and stock their enterprises professionally, and to disseminate the techniques to pastoralists. CNFA also strengthened the ability of Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock Development (MoLD) to implement disease surveillance and better control livestock movements;
  • Facilitate Marketing and Livestock Development through Policy Change:KDLDP held policy dialogue meetings to discuss issues, build consensus, and prepare memoranda detailing constraints and policy suggestions on livestock development. CNFA hosted multiple activities to develop the capacity of the District Livestock Marketing Council (DLMC) and to equip pastoralists’ representatives with the necessary skills to participate in policy processes and advocate on behalf of their constituents;
  • Promote Strategies to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change:KDLDP equipped pastoralists with skills to combat disease epidemics that derive from climate change and more severe weather. The program provided support to the expansion of water harvesting and the mainstreaming of Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) in all program activities. In addition, KDLDP supported vaccination programs in areas where flooding may trigger Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and Hemorrhagic Septicemia.

Commercial Farm Service Program

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Overview:

CNFA implemented the Commercial Farm Service Program (CFSP) (2012-2014), a two-year project funded by USAID’s Innovation Fund for Ethiopian Agriculture (IFEA), adapting its proven Farm Service Center (FSC) model to the Ethiopian context for the first time. By establishing FSCs as “one-stop shops” in their communities, entrepreneurs provided a complete range of inputs, services, information, and output marketing linkages to Ethiopian smallholders. This model continues to support farmers in making the transition from subsistence to commercial production as part of the Feed the Future Farm Service Center Program, launched in 2015.

Program Approach:

Through mentoring and training, the program has provided these locally-owned businesses with uniform branding, technical and business management training, expert agronomic and veterinary consultations, and assistance with inventory management, marketing, and agriculture extension and outreach. In support of the wholesale buying cooperative, CFSP staff worked with the FSC-owners and operators to legally establish and register a joint venture named EGAA Agricultural Input Supply PLC.

  1. Established six locally owned retail farm supply and service locations (FSCs) with inventories, training, services, and output market linkages;
  2. Created a wholesale buying cooperative, owned by and dedicated to serving the inventory needs of the FSCs and linking them to national and international suppliers;
  3. Delivered uniform branding, business skills, technical/advisory capacity, quality standards, and environmental and worker safety procedures across the network;
  4. Promoted FSC-led farmer outreach activities, including training seminars, demonstration plots, and field days to showcase the impacts of improved inputs and improve farmer production skills.