Blog article

#CoopStories: Investing in a better future and transforming lives in disadvantaged areas

When Githunguri Dairy Farmers’ Co-operative in Kenya sought £1.3 million to set up a processing plant for 31 dairy farmers and 200 employees – with £0 return in the short term – investors backed off. But Oikocredit not only saw long-term financial potential and also put huge emphasis on the potential social impact.

Established in 1975, Oikocredit invests in more than 800 social enterprise partners and co-operatives across the world. The co-operative prioritises inclusive finance, agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure sectors to reach the most disadvantaged communities in the world. And as with many so-called risky ventures that Oikocredit supports, the belief in Githunguri Co-operative paid off. 

Today, the co-operative has 15,000 members and employs 8,000 people across its entire value chain. Githunguri Co-operative produces 220,000 litres of milk each year and in 2015 reported a turnover of £46m.

Monica Middleton, National Director, Oikocredit UK and Ireland said: “It takes experience: taking risks, making mistakes, but learning from those mistakes. It also requires us to look beyond the obvious and take a long-term view.

"We first consider the social mission within our investment decision-making, thereafter weighing up the risks in the context of the longer-term potential.”

And backing that longer-term potential has transformed the lives of those connected to Githunguri, including the farmer members, their families, the employees and other businesses and individuals in the supply chain. 

For more information on Oikocredit and its work click here.

For Co-operative Fortnight 2017 we are asking people to tell their #CoopStories. Get involved and read more #CoopStories here.


Written by Dominic Mills
Updated: 30/06/2017