How does LishaBora know that systemic inefficiencies exist within the informal dairy sector in rural Kenya? Because our Founder, Graham Benton, spent 4 years living and interacting with smallholder dairy farmers in these regions. The time he spent with them allowed him to hear, see and experience for himself the daily struggles they were facing. He took this information, and formed a team with local Kenyans who had more insight into the cultural and political structures in place, which are always strong influencing factors. Together as a team, they came up with solutions that they introduced to the farmers while seeking the farmers' feedback and personal insights. This gave them a realistic view as to whether these solutions could indeed be implemented to solve the inefficiencies that affected these systems, and where necessary, could iterate these solutions to ensure the design was fit for purpose.
This method of solving problems is known as Human Centred Design (HCD). If you haven't heard this term before, we highly suggest that you check out IDEO and read their Field Guide to Human Centred Design (which can be found here). The premise behind HCD is that it approaches problems as interactive systems, and aims to make these systems more useful by focusing on the users and their needs and requirements. By applying human factors and ergonomics, solutions are designed so that they are fit for purpose. Too often companies approach problems with their own team of experts, individuals who are often removed from the systems themselves.
So where does education come into play? LishaBora has done extensive market research to understand these problems, and have conducted product iteration to design solutions that we know can be implemented on a larger scale with results that truly work. But there's one more piece to the puzzle. And that is training / educating the users so that they can implement the solutions effectively. Once the users understand the problem, and have been trained on the design method, they can then use the design / solution as intended, and can offer feedback that is effective. This is the crux of HCD, as it can add to or even change the intended solution to improve it.
LishaBora holds quarterly workshops with our customers to educate them on the benefits of using silage, the importance of good cow hygiene on milk potential, and the business benefits of good bookkeeping management practices. Our last training session was held in Kabati and was a huge success! We had over 70 farmers come out who were keenly interested in the material. They were actively participating with engaging and valuable questions, and many were taking notes to be able to better retain this knowledge and share with other farmers. The region of Kabati is a new area for LishaBora. We introduced our Jawabu dry feeds there 3 months ago, and the results to date have been astounding! Milk production has increased by more than 50% and our farmers are very excited to be working with us. Check out the video clip below of our happy customers. Our trader James Muiruri, works with over 350 farmers in Kabati, so the potential for LishaBora to grow there is huge. We are really looking forward to the progress we expect to see over the next couple months, so stay tuned for our next update!
Click through our gallery below to check out our photos!