SAWA 4 - Impact

The combination of digital technology and human creativity in deploying it will revolutionize life for Africa’s farmers by overcoming isolation, speeding up change, and taking success to scale.
— Kofi Annan, Sir Gordon Conway and Sam Dryden



Kenyan slang/sheng for 'all good'

LishaBora adjective

Someone Asked We Aswered

LishaBora's business model has been in an innovation and re-design stage over the last year. Throughout these changes we've gotten many questions from our investors. It made us realize, that if our investors have these questions, it's likely the general public does too! So we've compiled all of these questions and have developed this SAWA Series (Someone Asked We Answered) in spirit of the Kenyan culture where we hear "sawa sawa" on the daily. This month we're focusing on our social impact, diving directly into how our mission of improving the profitability, scalability and sustainability of the informal dairy market is affecting smallholder dairy farmers and dairy traders.

Question: How are you affecting the lives of your beneficiaries?

Answer: We are providing informal smallholders and entrepreneurs with increased milk production revenues through access to high-quality inputs, financial inclusion, and increased efficiency and transparency through our Android mobile app and SMS reports.

Understanding the Problem

Human-centered design is defined by as "a process that starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs". There are a lot of great ideas out there, but without fully comprehending the needs of your beneficiaries, it's difficult to have an impact. LishaBora was founded on a human-centered design approach. Our founder - Graham Benton - spent 6 years living and working with smallholder farmers in rural Kenya which gave him insight into the problems they were facing in the disenfranchised market. We chose 3 specific problems to focus on at LishaBora and developed solutions through design iteration and frequent consulting and feedback mechanisms from our beneficiaries.


Developing the Solution

LishaBora’s approach is systemic in nature as we are integrating information technology and best practices throughout the entire dairy value chain. By manufacturing quality-assured dairy feeds, we improve access to inputs and reduce costs for smallholders. By partnering with entrepreneurs with our Android mobile app, LishaBora is leveraging an existing trust-based social infrastructure to scale our products and services to millions of farmers. By digitalizing their milk collection process we help solve the short-term cash-flow issues farmers face, provide quality-assured dairy products straight from the producer, helping traders to grow their business, all the while building financial histories for both the entrepreneur and farmer. Our team’s cumulative 35+ years working with smallholders gave us the insight to innovate with stakeholders in the informal sector. No other dairy company, cooperative, or NGO in Kenya is working with informal smallholders and entrepreneurs to increase their profitability in such a systemic manner.


Measuring the Impact

Smallholder Dairy Farmers:


Smallholder dairy farmers see an average net 22% increase in income as well as more reliable cash flow from working with LishaBora.  This comes from an average 10% increase in income from milk sold to entrepreneurs and an average milk production increase of 12% from use of our cattle feed. Farmers receive predictable on-time and accurate payments in cash or via mobile money as confirmed through SMSes from our mobile app. This value addition to smallholder farmers will increase with the introduction of our mobile money lending products to smallholder farmers in the upcoming months.  Smallholder farmers know LishaBora through brightly colored branded logos on our bags of feed and through SMSes they receive from our mobile app. Farmers see improved cow health through high-quality inputs improved access to finance and financial security through our mobile money loans to traders and smallholder farmers.   

Dairy Trader Entrepreneurs:


Dairy trader entrepreneurs see an average net 85% increase in income as well as improved financial management from working with LishaBora.  This comes from an average 15% increase in income from commissions from selling our cattle feed as well as 70% increase in dairy sales from an increased volume of milk to sell from well-fed cattle. Entrepreneurs increase the trust they have with the farmers and the buyers of collected milk enabled by the transparency afforded by the LishaBora mobile app. An entrepreneur is better able to manage his or her time and cash flow by seeing the amounts collected, sold, and owed on the Android-based LishaBora app. The value to entrepreneurs from working with LishaBora will increase as we offer mobile money lending products to entrepreneurs in the upcoming months.

In a nutshell, the more value LishaBora can provide to farmers, the more value farmers can provide to their dairy traders and the more value traders can provide to LishaBora! It is an interconnected loop where the success of one party is intrinsically connected to the success of the other.

To summarize, LishaBora is providing:

  • Additional revenue and new stream of income to house-to-house milk collecting entrepreneurs
  • Improved dairy cow health through improved nutritious cow feed and veterinary services at a fair cost
  • Additional income to smallholder dairy farmers from healthier and more productive cows;
  • Increased transparency and trust through automatic calculations of monies paid and owed through our Android mobile payment app;
  • Improved access to finance and financial security through our mobile money loans to traders and smallholder farmers

To summarize the impact and value we are having on our customers looks like this:

LishaBora's Value Circle.png

Watch this video which contains live testimonials from the dairy trader entrepreneurs who have been impacted by our mobile application:


We hope you found this series helpful! Stay tuned for next month's series where we answer what our plan is to scale and how many beneficiaries we hope to impact.

Have a question you want answered? Email us at today and we will do our best to incorporate your question in one of our upcoming monthly SAWA series blog posts.