Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Yoghurt and the bull - long term planning

This is a story of how ideas spread and get adapted.

Last year when I traveled out to work with John Dada at Fantsuam I took copies of Mohammed Yunus' book "Creating a World Without Poverty" (given by Chris Macrae).

One of the chapters that particularly appealed to John was the chapter about Danone Yoghurt's social business. In his voluntary role within Fantsuam Foundation John is involved with orphans and vulnerable children, and one thing he tries to do is supplement their diet.

It so happened that during my trip we were visited by one of John's friends who is at a senior level in a Nigerian company which produces yoghurt. We gave him two copies of the book - one to keep and one to share. We suggested he might persuade his company to follow in the social business footsteps of Danone. We could provide lots of the things that Danone had needed
  • Vulnerable children
  • Poor rual area
  • Large distribution network through the field officers of the Fantsuam Foundation micro-credit programme
  • Local cows
We didn't succeed in persuading him to set up a new business - but he did help us to take a step along the way. He is going to help us improve the quality of milk given by local cows. He is providing a bull from a herd whose milk is used for yoghurt production.

Obvioulsy it will take a while to get from the arrival of bull, to the arrival of better quality calves, to their growth into mature adults producing milk for yoghurt - but then Fantsuam Foundation is fimrly rooted in the local community, and is used to making progress through small steps. Those small steps have brought it a long way over the years. It has the patience and perseverance to embrace long term plans.

Yesterday there was exciting news during our (Skyped) Dadamac UK-Nigeria team meeting. John suddenly interrupted our discussions by typing


Fortunately we had just about reached AOB on the agenda - so the meeting closed in haste as the team in Nigeria shot out to welcome the bull - leaving Nikki and me, back here in UK, looking forward to photos.

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