Kenya Cooperative Development Program (CDP)

The Kenya Cooperative Development Program (CDP) worked with select farm cooperative members to improve the productivity and competitiveness of key agricultural sectors to improve farmers’ incomes and ensure greater food security in the region.

Activities included farmer trainings and coaching on technical assistance and strategic management and built on ACDI/VOCA’s prior cooperative experience in Kenya.

The five-year program established Cooperative Learning Information Centers (CLICs) to ensure that Kenyan cooperatives continue to benefit from distance learning and sharing of best practice materials even after the project ends.

The Kenya CDP drew on the expertise of a range of international and local partners to implement comprehensive market-driven approaches to improve agricultural productivity. These include:

  • Strategic collaboration with the Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC)
  • Support from the Kenyan Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing, the Cooperative College of Kenya
  • Alliance with Communications Cooperative International (CCI) to develop new distance learning systems
  • Support from Agri and Cooperative Training and Consultancy Services Ltd. (ATC) for cooperative member activities, learning documentation, and monitoring and evaluation activities
  • Working together with the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya to strengthen farmers’ voices through farmer representation in national and international fora

Cooperative Selection

In 2010, Kenya CDP team selected cooperatives for technical assistance, representing varying levels of experience. CDP Kenya focused on building good governance and leadership, as well as helping the groups improve revenue through training in production and marketing.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The selected cooperatives also underwent continual assessment, called the “M4,” which focused on management, membership, and money. Assessments included

  • Checklist questions for quantitative results in each category
  • Qualitative responses to probing questions
  • Guided cooperative self-evaluation to identify short- and long-term goals of the cooperative

In 2012 ACDI/VOCA technical staff worked with ATC staff to develop the monitoring and evaluation platform as well as action plans for each cooperative using the baseline assessments. Promoters in each region worked with the cooperatives to monitor and evaluate progress against the action plans and M4 indicators.

Project Results

  • Organized more than 77 organizational development, technical support, and value chain-specific training activities from 2010–2014 that led to improvements in recordkeeping, strategic planning, financial planning, and quality control
  • Trained 15 agricultural cooperatives in leadership, group dynamics, and Farming as a Family Business
  • In partnership with the Agri-Training and Cooperative Training and Consultancy Services (ATC), supported the development of the Cooperative Information and Resource Center (CIRC)—a web portal offering cooperative leaders and development organizations a mix of open access and fee-based materials (http://www.circ.coop/index.php/en/)

Farmer Cooperative Backdrop

The international cooperative movement has proven an effective vehicle for linking large numbers of smallholder farmers to new market opportunities. Training through cooperatives has built local expertise on technical and financial services, market information, and legal and regulatory issues.

The Kenya CDP was part of the larger USAID CDP program, which also included efforts in Ethiopia, Paraguay and Tanzania and reached 25,000 direct beneficiaries over its five years.

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