In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a 5-year, $42.8 million grant to Heifer International with the goal of doubling the dairy-derived income of 179,000 farming families across 3 countries in East Africa in 10 years. A five-member consortium (including Heifer, TechnoServe, the International Livestock Research Institute, the World Agro-Forestry Research Centre and African Breeders Services — Total Cattle Management) was formed to implement market-driven, knowledge-based interventions. These interventions would change a subsistence-based approach to dairy farming marked by declining food intake, limited access to education and health services, degraded grassland, under-developed commercial market systems, weak infrastructure and governance, and significant gender disparities to one where enhanced dairy production techniques, improved social relations, and strengthened market access transforms the lives of smallholder families.
Now in its fourth year, East Africa Dairy Development (EADD), recently underwent a mid-course evaluation conducted by Technical Assistance to NGOs (TANGO) at the end of 2010. Heifer is currently analyzing those results and discussing its approach to Phase II of the project (2012-17). At the seminar, Mr. Nyabila, shared the initial results, which included a dramatic increase in milk production, improvements in quality, and increased access to dairy markets through a ‘business hub’ approach.