There are many reasons to be optimistic about the dairy sector in East Africa; at the May 8, 2014 Dairy Value Chain Collaboration Colloquium, participants counted over 150 of them. To be exact, participants at the Dairy Value Chain Collaboration Colloquium in Kampala, Uganda identified 167 opportunities for partnership to take on challenges in the dairy value chain. Drawing on the experience, expertise, and initiative of over 50 representatives of industry, research, government, and civil society, this Colloquium was structured to spur the creation of solutions to such challenges through collaborative partnerships.
Not satisfied to foster partnership for partnership’s sake or to anchor the activities of the day in the abstract, the Dairy Value Chain Collaboration Colloquium trained participant focus on seven important challenges presented by a group of vetted “Challengers” already working to address these issues and looking for partners to join their efforts. The Challengers—Clayton Arinanye of the Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union; Fred Kabi of Makerere University; James Lwerimba of World Wide Sires; Billy Butamanya of the Uganda Cooperative Alliance; Henry Njakoi of Heifer International; Tom Sillayo of Faida MaLi; and Mayasa Simba of the Tanzania Dairy Board—presented challenges ranging from increasing smallholder farmers’ access to veterinary care, to incentivizing compliance with regulation among informal dairy sector actors.
Over the course of the one-day, highly interactive Colloquium participants and Challengers explored shared goals for tackling their challenges, opportunities for reaching those goals, and resources for taking strategic action. These steps revealed a clear rationales and actionable opportunities for partnership. At the close of the day, Challengers presented a “pitch” on their challenge, what they hope to accomplish in one year, the resources they still need to achieve this vision, and their expected impact. Participants and other Challengers then offered questions, insights, and resources to help each Challenger refine his or her approach and call to action. With resources such as business models, online platforms, and students offered, the group was invigorated and keen to move forward to tackle challenges together. The full details of the Colloquium activities, outputs, and key takeaways can be found in the After Action Report.
Looking beyond the Colloquium, there is ample fodder for participants and Challengers to move forward together. to address pressing challenges and take strategic action. It is the explicit goal of the Colloquium and GKI’s sincerest hope that the connections made and rationales for partnership revealed will provide the foundation necessary for new collaborative efforts and solutions. To incentivize ongoing partnership and solution development beyond the Collaboration Colloquium, the Dairy Value Chain Challenge Prize will provide a package of technical support to a winning team brought together under the auspices of the Collaboration Colloquium. The generous support of Agri-ProFocus and SNV; the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI); and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) made the Prize possible. Applications are due on June 20th and we can’t wait to see how participants collaborate on shared challenges to transform the East African dairy value chain!
Contributor: Courtney O’Brien