Smallholder Support Network Africa – Update

The LYF Smallholder Support Network (SSN) in Kenya and Ethiopia has received excellent feedback from independent evaluators after only 1 year in operation!

Cristina Talens, Project Manager for LYF’s SSN tells us more about how the exciting progress of the very unique SSN:

Our SSN project has two overarching aims; firstly, to build ‘south to south capacity’ of training institutions to work
with smallholder organisations and secondly to empower smallholder organisations by providing training and access to relevant information on their crops and supply chains. This will assist them with making better business decisions.

Green coffee awaiting export from a Kenyan coffee mill

When asked about its effectiveness, the evaluator stated that the project had achieved its objectives in terms of establishing a  ‘Peer Partnership’ between Ambo University College (Ethiopia) and the Nyeri Technical Training Institute -NTTI  (Kenya) and in developing training course materials to improve governance, performance and efficiency of coffee cooperatives (through identification of the information and training needs of coffee smallholders – youth, women, members, staff, board representatives). The evaluation found that the project was well structured, key stakeholders were involved at every stage and that a great deal of learning exchange took place between both institutions.  The report also stated that;

“ The LYF recognised through investigatory research that coffee cooperatives in Nyeri lack sufficient business, marketing, governance and organisational skills in order to be able to compete effectively in the market place….LYF therefore has initiated and fully developed linkage between NTTI Kenya and AUC Ethiopia, both educational entities in coffee growing regions of their respective countries for exchange programs whose singular objective is to empower smallholder coffee growers through appropriate training.Five draft modules have been developed covering the most critical areas the farmers need capacity building, namely, Sales and Marketing, Cooperative governance, Entrepreneurship in cooperatives,  Cooperative Development and extension, and Sustainability and Ethical trade.”

All of the LYF Team and Board were delighted to hear that the first year of SSN has been successful and we are grateful to Co-op Africa Challenge Fund (ILO) for providing a small grant in order to carry out the work.  In our last newsletter we announced that
Comic Relief have provided an international grant in order to be able to continue the work for a further 2 years – but as always – our ambition means that we are working to an extremely tight budget, so your donations are VERY much welcomed and VERY much needed!


  1. paul moffat mugo kamau
    Posted 01/10/2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    i was involved at the beginning but now i don’t get updates. please advise. i offer trainings on various fields to small holders farmers in cooperatives. am an employee of taifa sacco which is a farmers base financial institution.

  2. projectmanager
    Posted 03/10/2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Hello Moffat. It is Ian here. I hope you are well. I think Cristina met you in February when she was out in Nyeri. Thanks for keeping in touch. We will post more updates on the blog. Keep in touch, all the best

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