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Strategic Branding Fueling Rapid Growth for Women Based Rural Enterprise.

Stagnated growth of local enterprises in Isiolo County over the years due to the arid landscapes form a major challenge to many businesses in the County. Unpredictable climatic conditions ranging from drought and famine, high temperatures, and flooding to water scarcity have resulted in sluggish growth of many enterprises and others even shutting down their operations.

Irene Kanana, the Chairlady Kambi ya Juu Women self Help Group narrates their journey of juggling between different ventures in a bid to achieve one that is sustainable.

“Our group was registered back in 2010. We started with dairy goats which had several challenges that made us scale down. Later, we went to beekeeping where we used to harvest and sell it directly to customers without packaging and processing and sometimes we could give the excess to our neighbors. Since then, we have faced many challenges that have hindered our growth ranging from water scarcity, lack of agribusiness knowledge, and poor bookkeeping to limited market access. We did not know even how to manage our business and how to make our products visible in the market.”

The drought Resilience in Isiolo County (DRIC) project has played a pivotal role in changing the narrative by employing various approaches including entrepreneurial training in instilling entrepreneurial skills in groups., mostly women and youth groups. 

One such group reaping the benefits is Kambi ya Juu Women Self-help group that falls under Women in Income generating activities. Kambi ya  Juu has been through a robust capacity-building program that consists of seasoned mentors possessing a wealth of experience in agribusiness, facilitating a tailored approach to address the specific challenges of the enterprise to foster sustained growth.

  

“The struggle for survival was real in our case and the dream for growth seemed distant. But now we have undergone various training on entrepreneurship, marketing, value addition, branding and packaging that has made our brand more competitive in the market,” Miss  Irene continues to narrate.

DRIC program has become a catalyst for transformative change, addressing key aspects such as branding, business management, packaging, and market linkages. The enterprise underwent a strategic rebranding process to enhance the visibility of the honey products. A distinctive logo and a compelling brand narrative were developed to set the group product apart in a competitive market.

Further to these notable successes observed the newfound market access has opened doors to a broader consumer base, fostering growth and sustainability for the enterprise. This has allowed the Kambi ya Juu to tap into previously untapped markets, creating a sustainable growth trajectory.

“We used to sell around 50-100 kg of honey in a month. But now after coming across DRIC and being able to implement the ideas of the mentorship program, we have been able to increase our sales to more than 250- 600kg monthly. We are not able to satisfy the market, and it is now forcing us to buy honey from other established keepers so that we can process under our brand.” Miss Irene asserts.

With the implementation of the program, Kambi ya Juu honey production enterprise has transformed from a struggling entity to a thriving enterprise. The impact was not only evident in the increasing market share and revenue but also in the enhanced livelihoods of the community members involved in the venture.

“The program has also sponsored our tours across the country to expose our products. We have been able to exchange ideas with other established enterprises and have enabled us to gain a fresh perspective. What excited me most was an opportunity to exhibit our products during the Devolution conference held in Eldoret, Miss Irene added…what positive impact did this have?

 

The journey of Kambi ya Juu honey production serves as a testament to the transformative power of DRIC strategic interventions. The enterprise has defied the odds posed by arid challenges and emerged as a beacon of success.

As the honey continues to flow from Isiolo, so does the inspiration for other arid regions facing similar struggles, proving that with the right support and vision, sweet success can blossom even in the harshest of landscapes.

Drought Resilient in Isiolo County (DRIC) is a project, funded by the European

Union in Isiolo County-Kenya and implemented by a consortium of five organizations (WeWorld, SOMIRENEC, Amref Health Africa, VSF-Suiss & E4Impact Foundation; where E4Impact is implementing entrepreneurship-related activities.

 

By; Ekea Leonard E4Impact Foundation

Business Trainer/Coach-Isiolo County Kenya

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