Kelypotany which literally means ‘cow foot’ in Pokot dialect, was established in 2010 under the Cooperative Society Act of 2004. The cooperative has a membership of 162 and it deals with livestock rearing, and marketing. With 10 years of operation in trading livestock, the cooperative has transformed livelihoods of its members by improving standards of living.
Cooperatives in ASAL areas are not only a profit making organizations, but also a sources of livelihood for thousands of households and communities. Residents of Masol and Pellow Conservancies mainly use cooperatives as dragons of success with their farm and livestock produce. According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, 80% of Kenya’s rural population is deriving its income either directly or indirectly from activities of cooperatives.
To address issues of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in ASAL areas, many residents in these areas work collectively in cooperatives, united with intentions of achieving more than working individually. The cooperatives are producing drought resistant crops and rearing goats and cattle while trading them to increase their income and livelihoods.
Cooperatives represent a resilient, vibrant and viable economic alternative in bringing people together to work towards a common goal and meeting their shared needs through cooperation.
However, most cooperatives in these areas are at a verge of failing due to weak governance and management, inadequately trained human resources, lack of business plans, inadequate knowledge in business modelling, weak monitoring, reporting and performance standard, absence of targeting and weak portfolio management.
In the hills and deep valleys of Pokot North and Central Sub-Counties lies huge drivers of economic change. Kelypotany Co-operative lies at the cavernous of Kong’elai Hill in Pokot North Sub-County. It is one among three, Keliokiak and Mab, livestock Cooperatives in West Pokot County.
What is fascinating about this cooperative is the fact that it serves an entire sub-county in not only feeding the families of its members but also households of the non-members of the cooperative.
Despite Kelypotany becoming a backbone of Kacheliba and West pokot economy, it is faced by a myriad of drawbacks that has towed the excellent performance of the cooperative into a meaningless driver of economic success. As at November 2020, while E4Impact Foundation was conducting Cooperative needs assessment in North and Central Pokot, Kelpotany was as its financial knees and the future of the cooperative was bleak. Reviving the Kelpotany Cooperative back to its former glory and growing the enterprise was an immediate action for E4Impact Foundation.
To address the key issue: poor management structures, E4Impact conducted capacity building on cooperative Governance and management for defining roles and responsibilities, and establishing processes for setting standards and ensuring accountability. The main focus is streamlining the cooperative’s systems and processes to ensure efficiency in team management, accountability, democracy and strategic leadership of Kelpotany.
Now that the cooperative is back on its feet, E4Impact’s second initiative was to help the Co-operative build an impactful, profitable and scalable business model through the Business Model Design training and using the Lean Business Model canvas tool.
Throughout both initiatives, there were regular coaching sessions to implement the business theory into practice for the thre capacity builiding areas: Cooperative Governance, Group Dynamics and Business Modelling.
Throughout this process, Kelypotany Co-operative is not becoming an attractive investor cooperative but also the front ‘cattle foot’ for the community to step on and follow for development.
Kelpotany now sells goats and cattle in external markets like Kisumu, Kitale and Nairobi.
By Kenneth Changkwony
Business Coach – Ustahimilivu
E4Impact is an initiative launched in 2010 by ALTIS – Graduate School of Business and Society of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, with the objective of training impact entrepreneurs in the developing world to support the start-up and growth of their businesses. In the EU funded Ustahimilivu program, E4Impact will be giving support in Enterprise and Value Chain Development.
The USTAHIMILIVU project is funded by the European Union and Implemented by E4Impact Foundation, Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) CEFA, Amref Health Africa and SOMIRENEC.