East and Central Africa

Solidaridad operates across East and Central Africa in agricultural, industry and mining supply chains. We work with farmers, producers, miners, the public and private sectors and development partners. Through a combination of boots-and-brains on the ground, interactive dialogue, community-based initiatives and public-private partnerships, we champion sustainable supply chains.
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Where We Work

Solidaridad East and Central Africa has operates in Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Across these countries, we support farmers, producer organizations, and miners in key commodities to achieve sustainable livelihoods and engage in sustainable supply chain activities.

Commodities

179,446

farmers, miners and workers trained to adopt good practices

122,505

hectares under sustainable management

126

local small-medium enterprises supported with skills, funds, and advice

Challenges

Insecurity amid growth

East and Central Africa faces challenges around rapid population growth, food insecurity, climate change, political instability, lack of gender and social exclusion, inadequate legal and regulatory frameworks, and land pressures.

Increasing frequency and severity of weather events such as droughts, floods, and even locusts have substantially impacted the agricultural sector and informal worker economy more broadly. As climate change worsens, severe weather will continue to pose a challenge for the region.

Globally, consumers and retailers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to source responsibly to reduce the environmental impact resulting from the use of harmful pesticides and other farm inputs. This shift is primarily due to the growing health concerns among consumers and increased awareness on the health benefits associated with consuming organic food. However, for the farmer, the cost of a three-year transition period that is required before certification outweighs the benefits, making certification difficult to achieve.

Social exclusion remains a challenge for many groups across the region. Studies have shown women playing a greater role in agricultural production but they get little or no incomes out of agriculture. Similarly, while investments are increasing in the region, access to finance remains unbalanced.

Solutions

Strategic training and financing for improved lives

With a growing middle class in the region, and increased investment in infrastructure, there is an opportunity to transform livelihoods for smallholder farmers, miners, and workers by increasing access to information, technology, and financing opportunities.

Capacity enhancement is a major component in our interventions. Providing smallholder farmers, producer organizations, workers and miners, with the skills and competencies to improve their productivity, access information, utilize new technologies, and finance opportunities to transform livelihoods and support development.

Access to finance is essential for sustainable growth of small businesses and producer organizations in the agricultural sector. Solidaridad works with financial institutions and impact investors to link high potential business models to investment opportunities. Through this model, Uganda’s Kayonza Tea Factory secured funding to increase production and improve tea producers livelihoods.

Tea is Uganda’s third largest agricultural export commodity, with the sector employing over half a million Ugandans. Solidaridad works closely with public and private actors in Uganda’s tea sector to develop inclusive policies for a supportive enabling environment. The use of multi-stakeholder platforms is crucial for interactive dialogue.

We need widespread adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Combined with an evidence-based approach, this will ensure better farm management. Our partnerships with organizations like aWhere provide real-time weather insights and predictions to optimize planning and climate-proof farm management.

Taking a data-driven approach by using digital innovations has led to improved productivity, efficiency, transparency and planning for producer organizations and farmers alike. For example, the Dairy Management System and the Farmers’ Realm mobile phone app.

Achievements

Accelerating market interventions

In 2019, we accelerated and deepened our market-based interventions with a focus on 2020 and beyond. With multiple key projects reaching maturity, we extracted lessons and best practices. For instance, we are learning from the outcomes of multiple projects in Kenya and Ethiopia which have trained farmers in good dairy practices. We increased our business development activities and developed a strong opportunities pipeline. We also expanded our efforts in Central Africa, particularly in Cameroon.

Sector transformation

In 2018, Solidaridad East and Central Africa promoted best practices and sustainability to ensure sector transformation through our textile, leather, coffee, gold, dairy, tea, fruits and vegetable programmes. We focused on food security, gender inclusivity, ICT, climate innovations, investment in viable businesses for impact creation,-and working with producers and industries. We engaged governments, financial institutions and markets in creating robust infrastructures, that resulted in effective production and working environments. The formation of the Kenya Coffee Platform, coordination of sustainable landscapes multi-stakeholder platforms and the advocacy work to establish a sustainable Tea Policy in Uganda were highlights of our regional public-private sector engagements.

An enabling policy environment

One of Solidaridad’s key focuses for 2017 was creating an enabling policy environment in Uganda where all stakeholders in tea, fruit and vegetables are involved in policy discussions. In Tanzania, under the Golden Line project, Solidaridad engaged in advocacy initiatives where legal mining issues were discussed. Solidaridad also established strategic partnerships with private and public entities related to climate change, creating an enabling policy environment, impact investment, digital solutions and sustainable landscape innovations.

Strategic partnerships

From Ethiopia to Zambia, and Kenya to the Congo, the rising temperatures and drought conditions, as well as political issues, posed significant risks to agriculture. A general decrease in quantities, qualities and prices of agricultural commodities was evident. Coffee, tea, fruits and vegetable farmers in the wetter highlands continued to adopt climate-resistant varieties with Solidaridad’s support. Solidaridad also continued to strengthen partnerships with research institutes in addressing climate-smart agriculture.

New opportunities

Solidaridad East and Central Africa made concerted efforts to explore new partnerships and funding opportunities. In early 2015, Solidaridad was awarded a pilot project by Ford Foundation and aBi Trust for fruits, vegetables and barley in Uganda. Solidaridad won a grant for a food security project from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Comic Relief gave a grant to Solidaridad for a food security project in Ethiopia. By the end of 2015, opportunities arose for policy influencing under Solidaridad’s new strategy.

Strengthening capacity

Solidaridad East and Central Africa has expanded, creating further opportunities for growth. Strengthening staff capacity was a key priority in 2014, as was maintaining good relationships with donors. These improvements have helped us to continue running successful programmes, creating real change. In addition, new partnerships have given Solidaridad an opportunity to develop exciting new projects.

Regional Programmes

Coffee Resilience Programme

The Coffee Resilience Programme in East Africa is a regional programme funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support over 23,500 farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to promote inclusive, resilient and economically viable coffee production within the region. Solidaridad is working with small-scale and medium-scale producers to develop viable business cases for continual improvement and sustainability of the value chain.

Food Security through improved resilience of Smallholder farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya (FOSEK)

FOSEK is a seven-year public-private partnership project funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency that seeks to improve the resilience of 120,000 smallholder coffee farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya. Solidaridad is working with Nestlé, C. Dorman Limited, Coffee Management Services Limited, Sustainable Management Services Limited and Kenya Coffee Research Institute in Kenya, as well as Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Sidama Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union and Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union in Ethiopia.

Certification and Beyond: Market Access for Sustainable Coffee, Tea and Horticultural Produce from Tanzania

This European Union funded project aims to promote the effective use of certification schemes and voluntary sustainability standards by about 21,000 smallholder farmers in the Southern highlands of Tanzania and Zanzibar. The project is part of the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme which aims to assist producers and SMEs by targeting specific agricultural commodities.

Food for All Project in Kenya (F4APK)

F4APK is a public-private partnership project funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency aimed to improve the livelihood and resilience of 48,500 households in the Eastern region of Kenya. Solidaridad is working with Heifer International, SoilCares Foundation, Meru Greens Limited and Kenya’s Horticulture Crops Directorate to support sustainable food crop and livestock management activities. The project has developed three business cases which include the development of dairy hubs and improved dairy management services at the cooperative level, establishment of nurseries, and processing of french-beans for the export market.

Bottom UP!

Bottom UP! is a cotton and garment project, funded by the European Union that aims at creating and ensuring growth and production sustainability, transparency and inclusivity along the cotton value chain in Ethiopia. The project is working with approximately 19,200 workers and 2,000 farmers along the value chain.

Better Mill Initiative

The Better Mill Initiative is a pilot initiative funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to promote cleaner production practices to reduce the environmental impact of textile processing and to promote gender inclusivity and decent work, thereby improving labour conditions in selected factories. By addressing social and environmental challenges in line with international export standards, Solidaridad aims to work towards a more sustainable and inclusive textiles and apparel industry in Ethiopia that generates decent jobs and sustainable exports, thereby contributing to the government targets of Ethiopia on textiles.

Creating Shared Value in Agriculture Value Chain project

The Creating Shared Value in Agriculture Value Chain project is working with about 12,000 smallholder farmers, within the bean and barley value chain with the goal of increasing farmers’ income and resilience in the south west and western regions of Uganda. Funded by aBi Development limited, the project seeks to boost the production of barley and beans, increase access to markets for smallholder farmers and establish strong farmer institutions, improving organizational capacity and business skills of beneficiaries and other identified nodal actors.

The Golden Line

The Golden Line programme is a five-year programme delivered by three international NGOs – Solidaridad, Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs. The programme works towards the economic empowerment of women living in and around artisanal and small-scale gold mines (ASGM) in Ghana and Tanzania.

Anti-Child Labour in ASM gold mines in Uganda project

The Anti-Child Labour in ASM gold mines in Uganda project has pioneered a multi-stakeholder and multi-faceted approach to tackle child labor in artisanal and small-scale gold mines in Busia, Uganda. Another important goal of the project is to establish a sustainable, traceable gold supply chain that contributes to a better future for miners and their families.

Green Tanning Initiative

The Green Tanning Initiative in Ethiopia set the pace for sustainable environmental, social and economic production practices along the leather value chain. By adopting innovative leather processing practices that reduce the amount of tannery wastes, water, chemicals and energy consumption, the Ethiopian leather industry is set on an eco-gender-friendly trajectory to sustainable employment and supplying high-end-market.

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Get in touch

Want to know more about our work in East and Central Africa? Get in touch with our team.


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Kilimani Business Centre, Kirichwa Road
P.O. Box 42234 – 00100
Nairobi, Kenya

+254 (0) 716 666 862

info.secaec@solidaridadnetwork.org

Rachel Wanyoike
Managing Director
rachel.wanyoike@solidaridadnetwork.org

Edith Wairimu
Regional Communications and Knowledge Management Officer
comms.eca@solidaridadnetwork.org

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Continental Supervisory Board

Top row, left to right: Mandla Nkomo, Audrey Gadzekpo, Madiam Dao Gabala, Isaac Gyamfi
Bottom row, left to right: Kamau Kuria, Rachel Wanyoike, Graham von Maltitz

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