Exchange visit between camel dairy cooperatives from Marsabit and Isiolo

Exchange visit between camel dairy cooperatives from Marsabit and Isiolo

Camel herding has great potential in many dry parts of Kenya that are affected by climate change, as camels are much more resistant to drought than cows and keep producing milk in dry periods. However, camel dairy cooperatives still face many challenges to grow their businesses in rural areas. Some of the key challenges that hamper business growth are the high production costs for milk and lack of suitable equipment for storage, value addition and transportation to markets. Under the ‘Enhancing Opportunities for Women’s Enterprises' (EOWE) programme, SNV supports women-led camel diary cooperatives to overcome these challenges. In October, two of SNV’s implementing partners, PACDEP (Pastoralist Capacity Development Programme) from Isiolo and PACIDA (Pastoralist Community Initiative and Development Assistance) from Marsabit collaboratively organised a two-day exchange visit between women’s camel dairy cooperatives from both counties to link women’s enterprises and create a platform for learning and networking to advance women’s businesses.

For the exchange visit 20 women camel farmers from a women dairy cooperative in Moyale, a market town on the border of Ethiopia and Kenya in Marsabit county, came to Isiolo to network and learn from two diary cooperatives in Isiolo, Anolei and Tawakal, and 15 leaders of women groups whose enterprises are built around other agricultural commodities. During the exchange visit the women farmers and entrepreneurs learned about the importance of strong cooperative management and linkages between actors in the value chain as well as about opportunities for business diversification and value addition. The exchange visit was an outstanding opportunity for interaction and created an avenue for learning and networking. The exchange visit was also attended by Raymond Brandes, EOWE Programme Manager at SNV, Mugure Githuku, Senior Enterprise Advisor at SNV, Naisola Likimani, Senior Policy Officer for Strategic Partnerships at The Netherlands embassy in Kenya (EKN) and her colleague Freek Voortman from the political affairs department. The exchange visit also provided an opportunity to interact with county officials, including the deputy governor, cooperative officer, public health officer/dairy specialist.

The exchange visit started with a learning session on cooperative management and operation organised by the Isiolo County Cooperative Officer. The learning session created understanding on the cooperative movement in Kenya and showed the characteristics of cooperative organisations, including cooperative business principles, structures and management, which helped to generate understanding of the economic advantages of working through cooperatives.

After the learning session, the participants visited Tawakal Cooperative Society to see the operations of a cooperative in action. Tawakal Cooperative Society is successful in value addition, especially for camel milk and dried meat (nyiri nyiri). The participants learned how the cooperative is making yoghurt and Susa, traditional, fermented sour milk. The production of value added products could increase the income of women farmers and entrepreneurs, however, most groups lack the equipment, ingredients and access to markets for value added production.

During a visit to Invems Dairy Cattle and Poultry Management Enterprise the participants learned about a zero-grazing animal rearing, a type of animal rearing for which minimum space is required. Under this model, livestock farmers can feed their animals with fresh cut grass and fodder during the dry season, which is brought to the animals instead of putting the animals out to pasture. “With this model cows produce more milk, as the cows don’t have to walk outside on pastures and all their energy can be used for milk production”, says Ms. Agnes of Invems Enterprise.

Exchange visit between camel dairy cooperatives from Marsabit and Isiolo
Exchange visit between camel dairy cooperatives from Marsabit and Isiolo

Eligibility criteria

  • The solution must be economically viable either in the form of a social or for-profit business

  • The solution must have a positive impact on the climate, environment and community

  • SMEs must be located in the Ashanti or Western Regions or have operations in the regions (for instance as a source of input or with an operational office). SMEs must have been operating in the Ashanti or Western regions for at least a year

  • The solution must be in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and/or Agriculture sectors

  • The solution must have been developed and ready to go to market (at least a working prototype or demo) or already on the market with existing customers

  • The lead entrepreneur must be between 18-35 years. Women entrepreneurs can be older than 35 but no older than 40 years

  • Priority will be given to businesses led by women-led and/or returning migrants

Financial requirements

  • The GrEEn Challenge Fund will contribute up to €25,000 of the funds needed for the proposed initiative for eight (8) SMEs

  • The SMEs will co-invest on a 20:80 basis with cash and in-kind contributions

  • The SMEs are required to have at least 10% equity as their co-investment. Any in-kind contribution must be specific and directly related to the project

  • The cash contribution can be recently procured direct capital expenditure (equipment, physical assets etc) or project operational expenses

Targeted regions

  • Ashanti and

  • Western regions

Application process

The application process is as follows:

  1. Apply for the GrEEn Innovation Challenge through its online application portal here.

  2. Complete the online application by sharing a link to a 30 seconds (max) video/demo of the business/solutions to greenchallengegh@gmail.com before submitting your online application. Video can be uploaded to an accessible cloud drive or on YouTube


Sunday, 25 July 2021 at 23:59 GMT.