Heifer International has announced a grant of more than $25 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its East Africa Dairy Development project to Tanzania and scale the program's impact in Kenya and Uganda.
The grant will support the second phase of the EADD project, enabling more than a hundred and thirty-six thousand additional smallholder farmers to participate in the region’s burgeoning dairy industry — which, in turn, will improve their families' nutrition and increase their income and access to markets. In Kenya, for example, Heifer and its partners — TechnoServe, International Livestock Research Institute, African Breeders Services, and World Agroforestry Centre — will use the funds to introduce new approaches to fodder production, alternative energy sources, and, in partnership with Seattle-based Global Good milk transport.
Launched in 2008 in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda with an initial grant of $51.3 million from the Gates Foundation, the EADD program supports the creation of dairy hubs that help small-scale dairy farmers increase their productivity and access to markets. Heifer aims to raise an additional $16 million over five years from public- and private-sector investors to fully fund phase two, which ultimately aims to eliminate poverty in the region.
"Our goal is to change the face of the dairy industry in order to improve food security [and] nutrition and create sustainable livelihoods for the East Africa community," said Elizabeth Bintliff, Heifer International's vice president for Africa programs. "We will be paying attention to activity in the dairy chain at all levels, from production systems at the household level to the hubs to processors and policy makers, all the while working to ensure that the gains of the project are not just economic but social as well."