6.7.3 Integrate Financial Services with Enterprise Development

In order to develop careers and businesses, people generally need access to finance and other services – training, access to inputs, technology, services, markets etc. In some situations, adults are able to access these services independently, but people experiencing multiple, high barriers often need institutions to package these services together, in ways that tailor services for particular needs, and reduce cost and risk for financial institutions and clients. Young people in rural areas fall into the category of people facing multiple barriers, so integrated solutions are generally very relevant for them.

There are many strategies in development for offering integrated financial and enterprise development services, although none have reached the maturity level of most self-contained financial services models. These include:

  • Livelihood security and graduation programs,
  • Value chain finance,
  • Savings and Credit Cooperatives that are also active cooperatives, and
  • Entrepreneurship training linked to finance.

In most of these arenas, there are programs that have piloted work with young people. 

Serving young people adds an additional layer of complexity to already complex endeavors. Integrated programs are working towards strategies that help overcome the challenge of complex implementation. These include:

  • operating in partnerships that leverage the expertise of different institutions,
  • promoting models in which community based organizations act as brokers, rather than service providers expected to possess divers expertise
  • developing standard models and replicating them within regions that have broadly similar characteristics,
  • offering services that are by nature participatory and flexible so that they adapt to different circumstances easily,
  • building capacity for complexity within a larger institution capable of implementing at a large scale, rather than expecting multiple, small institutions to develop complex capacity,
  • expanding initiatives and capacity incrementally, and
  • building broad knowledge and skills through widespread training among development professionals so that complex strategies – such as value chain development – are more widely known.

While many funders and development experts recognize their clients’ need for multiple, integrated services, much remains to be learned about practical implementation.

Integrated Financial Services the Nyala Dairy Cooperative and the East Africa Dairy Development Project

With technical assistance from TechnoServe[1], the Nyala Dairy Multi-purpose Cooperative Society (Nyala Dairy) developed a model for integrated value chain and community development that TechnoServe is replicating in East Africa through the East Africa Dairy Development project (EADD).[2] Founded in 2002 in a marginal agricultural zone by a visionary elder from the community, Nyala Dairy has grown to be a vibrant, profitable enterprise that has catalyzed significant community development and provided a model for the region.  

From modest beginnings as a milk chilling facility, Nyala is now an integrated community development machine. Its strategy has been to focus its own operations on core, financially viable activity, while attracting and linking members to other dairy and community development services. Specifically, Nyala offers its members:

  • Milk purchasing through agents that reach deep into rural areas, chill milk at low-tech storage points, transfer milk in cooled vehicles, and bring milk to the central chilling facility.
  • Milk marketing including bargaining for good prices, arranging for regular purchase and pick-up from the central facility, and quality control of milk form individual farmers to ensure that the milk delivered to the larger dairy companies is high quality.
  • Access to technical services and farm inputs: Nyala Dairy recruits and screens vendors, service providers such as vets, and input suppliers of goods such as animal feeds and supplements, milk containers, etc. Nyala Dairy has attracted businesses to serve and locate in the region that would never otherwise have reached this area.
  • Financial services: Nyala operates a savings and credit cooperative (SACCO); when members deliver milk, they are paid into their individual accounts. Member fees are deducted and can be paid gradually. In addition, members can purchase goods and services from approved vendors on credit. The vendors are paid by Nyala Dairy, and members pay off their debts at interest according to their preferred payment plan. 
  • Life and Community Development: In response to the low levels of development in the region, despite increasing incomes, Nyala Dairy began to identify and vet vendors of life and community improvement goods and services. These include insurance companies, solar electric system distributors, companies selling household and community-level water improvement services, etc. Members learn about ways to improve their lives and communities and can access necessary products and services using their credit line with Nyala Dairy if they wish.

Results: In 2012, Nyala employed 65 people and bought milk from 7,800 local small-scale farmers, and operates profitable with total sales of more than $7.2 million. At that point, Nyala had never received a subsidy for its operations or capital investment, apart from an early contribution of short-lived, used milk-chilling equipment. The TechnoServe Kenya Dairy program, operating around the same time and copying and co-developing the Nyala Dairy model, reached 18,000 dairy farmers. The larger replication, EADD, strengthened 57 cooperatives that are sustainably serving 173,000 dairy farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.[3]


[1] TechnoServe, an international NGO, works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries.

[2] The EADD project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Heifer International, TechnoServe, International Livestock Research Institute, African Breeders Services, and World Agroforestry Center.

[3] EADD Profiles of Progress Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2012