Project Completion Meeting

Project Completion Meeting

 


Gudina Tumsa Foundation Holds Project Completion Meeting for the Pilot Project “Enhancing the Livelihood of Smallholder Dairy Farmers in Wachale District”


By: Yitbarek Tekalign


The Gudina Tumsa Foundation (GTF) has successfully concluded its pilot project, “Enhancing the Livelihood of Smallholder Dairy Farmers (ELSDF)” in the Wachale district, North Shewa zone of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. The project completion meeting, held on June 28, 2024, at Nexus Hotel in Finfinne, highlighted the significant achievements of the three-year initiative aimed at bolstering the dairy sector.

The meeting was lively, with representatives from various stakeholders, ranging from the regional to the kebele level, the Management Team, and relevant GTF staff in attendance. Mr. Iyobed Yonas, Director of Programs at GTF, highlighted the development and humanitarian activities undertaken by the Gudina Tumsa Foundation over the past 32 years, with a particular focus on the ELSDF project. He emphasized the positive impact GTF has had on the lives of many smallholder farmers in the Wachale District through this project. Over the course of three years, implementing this transformative pilot project, GTF learned valuable lessons that will inform its future endeavors. “This project completion meeting is for the pilot project while we are trying our best to secure funds to continue the project activities into Phase II to address more challenges,” Mr. Iyobed added. He also extended his utmost appreciation to the partners and stakeholders who made the project’s achievements possible.

Launched in October 2020, the project sought to enhance dairy production and productivity among smallholder farmers, increase their incomes through improved market access, and promote best practices in dairy farming. “The primary goal was to transform the dairy sector by addressing key challenges and leveraging opportunities to ensure sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers,” said Mr. Deme Debela, Livelihood Program Manager at GTF.

During the implementation phase, the project successfully organized and strengthened dairy cooperatives, improving their capacity to process and market dairy products. Four cooperatives were established and provided training and technical assistance on best practices for milk production and marketing. This effort led to increased milk quality and productivity and guaranteed market access for farmers, thereby enhancing their income stability.

In addition, GTF facilitated the establishment of dedicated milk collection centers, which significantly improved the efficiency and hygiene of milk collection. The project also provided veterinary services, including medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic equipment, to ensure the health of dairy cattle. Moreover, GTF unreservedly worked on policy advocacy, financially supporting the preparation of regional-level dairy products marketing legislation and directives. The federal government consequently adopted this and is in the process of ratifying it.

A substantial part of the project was dedicated to training and capacity building. GTF organized numerous training sessions on milk quality preservation, cooperative management, dairy management, and financial management. These sessions, attended by cooperative representatives and other stakeholders, aimed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective dairy farming and cooperative governance.

Despite its successes, the project faced several challenges, including inadequate quantity and quality of animal feed, limited access and escaleted prices of the improved bulls, lengthy procedure to organize and certify the dairy cooperatives, overlap of the project intervention kebeles, and unstable securities in some project targeted kebeles. “The inflated price of feed and inadequate extension services posed significant hurdles,” Mr. Deme Debela noted. The project team addressed these issues through stakeholder engagement joint discussion and advocacy.

The project had a total budget of ETB 20,197,780. The funds were utilized for various activities, including capacity building, infrastructure development, and provision of veterinary services. The efficient use of resources ensured the achievement of the project’s objectives within the stipulated timeline.

The completion meeting highlighted the project’s impact on the livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers in the Wachale district. “Through our concerted efforts, we have laid a strong foundation for the sustainable development of the dairy sector in this region,” concluded Mr. Deme Debela. The success of this project underscores the importance of collaborative efforts and targeted interventions in transforming the agricultural sector and enhancing rural livelihoods.

During the completion meeting, lively discussions ensued. Community beneficiaries and stakeholders expressed their gratitude to GTF for its services and the significant positive impact on many lives. Numerous questions were raised, and comprehensive answers were provided.

 

 

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