Explore This Section

East Africa Dairy Development

Creating sustainable livelihoods for 1 million people in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Strong alliances make sustainable change possible. The success of the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) would not have been possible without the generosity and expertise of our partners.

EADD Partners

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Logo for Gates Foundation

With help from a $25.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the second phase of EADD will work with more than 200,000 farmers to improve dairy production and access to markets over the next four years.

Implementing Partners

The Situation

East Africa Dairy Development Program initiated in 2008 through a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program focuses on dairy farmers in Kenya’s Central and Rift valley regions, where milk production is highest in the country.

For years, many small farmers in the region haven't known if or when they could sell their milk, or for what price. They've also lacked the technology, training and market access to grow their businesses. Without a strong infrastructure, there was no reliable system for selling, preserving or collecting milk. Without a healthy market, there was no income, which meant people had little to no access to basic needs like food or shelter, let alone education or health care.

Challenges faced by these farmers include low milk volumes, poor quality of dairy inputs and limited access to markets due to poor roads. The collapse of the Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) in the early 2000s has further compounded the problem. It left many farmers with arrears and few alternative milk markets to rely on. At the start of this program in 2008, these hurdles had caused many to nearly give up on dairy farming.

The Solution

icon for hub model

The Hub Model

A hub model works with several villages in an area with approximately 800 to 1,000 smallholder farmers. They work in close cooperation with dedicated dairy processors, creating economies of scale focused on nutrition, animal health, training and income. Learn More...

EADD has grown into a leader in market-oriented development initiatives in eastern Africa and participating farmers have earned more than $131 million from investments in dairy production and marketing.

Since 2008, EADD has connected more than 203,778 small farmers across Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya to a larger circle of institutions and services that give them the collective resources and necessary infrastructure to earn a living raising cows and selling milk. This, in turn, allows them to educate their children, access healthcare and invest in their businesses.

Heifer and its partners also developed 27 milk collection hubs, strengthened 10 existing hubs, and formed 68 farmer business associations to manage the plants.

The next phase of the EADD program (EADD II) will allow even more farm families to ensure their own health and growth. The change will be felt in future generations as children learn by the example of their parents as successful entrepreneurs. Now people are making their own decisions, growing their businesses and taking ownership of their communities.