EMALI, Kenya — Volunteers have been a critical part of IESC’s mission since 1964. The Frank Pace Award, named for one of IESC’s founders, is given each year to a volunteer expert who performed the most outstanding project in the previous year. This year’s recipients of the Frank Pace Award are Dr. Sheila Marshman and Ms. Caroline Kosgei, who volunteered with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Kenya.
Dr. Marshman, a US-based agribusiness and food systems management expert and New York FarmNet Financial Consultant, and Ms. Kosgei, a Kenya-based dairy value chain agribusiness specialist, teamed up to implement a marketing strategy for Samli Dairy Cooperative in Emali, Makueni County, an area known for failed dairy processing start-ups and low farmer financial inclusion.
Dr. Marshman and Ms. Kosgei worked together to conduct a market assessment for milk and other value-added products in the region, enhance the cooperative’s bankability to attract investment, develop sustainable market entry strategies, and deliver a detailed implementation plan. Using the marketing strategy and plan, Samli successfully demonstrated their bankability and accessed $75,000 in finance within three months to produce new value-added milk products.
The cooperative increased its membership from less than 100 members to over 900 members, most of whom are pastoralist women, and increased milk collection from 150 liters to over 10,000 liters per day. After implementing the volunteers’ recommendations, Samli also gained a new client, Brookside Ltd., one of the largest dairy processors in East Africa, securing better prices and a guaranteed market for their members.
Despite the unique challenges of the COVID-19 environment, Dr. Marshman and Ms. Kosgei were innovative, ﬂexible, and professional in their remote collaboration and the technical support and training they delivered. They empowered Samli to generate sustainable market linkages and build a secure financial future for the cooperative and its members.
IESC is a nonprofit helping people around the globe improve their lives through economic opportunity. Initially a volunteer service corps, IESC was founded in 1964 by entrepreneur-philanthropists David Rockefeller, Sol Linowitz, and Frank Pace. Today, IESC works to create and preserve jobs in developing economies, support the development of strong private sector economies, and advance sustainability and equity with the communities they serve. Alongside their focus on small and medium enterprises, IESC also prioritizes climate-conscious enterprise and empowering women, youth, and other traditionally marginalized groups.