Benefits of Technical Trainings for Product Improvement

    In pursuit of part of the project objectives:- strengthening the capacity of existing Group Savings and Loan (GS&L) groups in business management, increase their efficiency in enterprise management and marketing, the Women Enterprise Development (WED) project (funded by Cherie Blair Foundation for Women ? CBFW) of CARE International in Kenya has embarked on technical trainings aimed at improving various products like processing of Silver cyprinid (Rastrienebola Argentea), commonly referred to as Omena, or Dagaa , bee keeping and honey production. This has enhanced market access by some of the entrepreneurs. The technical trainings are as a result of economic opportunity analysis carried out early in the year 2011.


    These trainings are in line with CARE Kenya mission: to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We facilitate lasting change by Strengthening capacity for self-help, providing economic opportunities, delivering relief in emergencies, influencing policy decisions at all levels and addressing discrimination in all its forms.


    As well CARE?s vision builds well on these activities: We seek a world of hope, tolerance and social justice where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security. CARE will be a global force and partner of choice within a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty. We will be known everywhere for our unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people.


    The project trained GS&L entrepreneurs undertaking beekeeping at local scale on apiary (a bee yard) site management, honey preparation and development of bee related by-products.

    Honey purification and packaging

     Janet A. Genga and Millicent A. bony putting into practice the packaging skills they learnt during the value addition session conducted by National beekeeping Station in Bondo  [?CARE Kenya]


    Jane A. Oketch, a facilitator from National Bee Keeping Association [wearing a white coat] explains how branding is done as part of value addition on pure honey production [?CARE Kenya]





    Margaret Arwa (CBT) and a participant during the bee keeping training displays well packaged honey ready for sale [?CARE Kenya]


    The project has also pursued improvement of Silver cyprinid (Rastrienebola Argentea); a species of ray-finned fish -local names as omena (Kenya), dagaa (Tanzania) and mukene (Uganda) for the product to reach middle income earners. It is true in Kenyan economy that, the middle income class can be able to pay better prices for the product. With the use of packaging and modern sealing machines, women participating in the project have been trained on the use of the sealing machine and other technical operations that can enhance the value of omena.

     WED project staff training women entrepreneurs using a modern electrical sealing machine as a way of improving packaging [?CARE Kenya]

    After these trainings, the project conducted several mini exhibitions at the implementation sites during farmer field days and financial linkage launch by CARE, Equity bank and Telkom Kenya. The project?s aim during the exhibitions was to encourage GS&L entrepreneurs to market their products in an innovative way, realize the difference and adopt the marketing techniques for future benefits. As part of market linkage the entrepreneurs had their contacts on the labels for customers to be in touch.


    During the project organized Market fair, various dignitaries from Government Ministries and CARE Kenya Country Director participated. A total of 24 entrepreneurs participated in the event and made total sales of KES 48,800. ($ 406.667). The entrepreneurs had an opportunity of buyers of different products after the market fair day.

    The market fair is one of the Government?s strategic objectives as was put by the Provincial Enterprise Development Officer (PEDO). ?We want to encourage CARE?s initiatives in promoting market fairs. It is a responsibility of the government to come up with local, regional and national trade fairs in the country as well in the ministry of labour,? the PEDO said.

    The entrepreneurs also attended the Micro Small Enterprise Exhibition held on the 28th May 2012 in Kisumu after the PEDO?s commendation as a way of encouraging and motivating the entrepreneurs to continue with the process.

    The Suba District Commissioner was impressed by the innovation long thought to be a preserve of rich entrepreneurs and carried out in big urban centres. Sindo market is located at the district headquarters only served by two bank agents (Equity and Commercial Bank).

    During the function 30 GS&L members managed to register with Telkom Kenya (through the Orange money product) so that they could utilize mobile money transfers for financial transactions.

    CARE Kenya country director encouraged the entrepreneurs by outlining the aims of the WED project and its achievements so far. ?The success noted so far is not only by CARE but from the entrepreneurs who have taken great strides in changing their own lives,? he said. The market fair is a means of assisting women to become self reliant and thus ensures highest quality of life in their families and their communities.

    On 28th May, 2012, the WED project supported two entrepreneurs during the National Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) Innovation and Technology exhibition which took place in Kisumu. During the exhibition 242 participants from all over the country took part in displaying their innovative products.



    Objectives of the activity

    Part of the objective is drawn from the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Labour?s message ?this forum will provide the MSEs a rare opportunity to interact, network and identify institutions that will help them access/develop appropriate technology and other related services. It will also accord the innovators an opportunity to market their inventions/innovations and technologies obtained in the MSE sector.?


    Millicent Adhiambo (left), one the WED beneficiaries who took part in the exhibition takes participants through how she adds value to her product (Omena fish), as Nehemiah Otieno (Right) explains on honey in the left photo [?CARE Kenya]

    During and after the exhibition:

    1. The entrepreneur with honey products got linked to 9 other entrepreneurs; 2 from Homabay, 4 from Seme and 3 from Kisumu whom he will be supplying with honey in large quantity.
    2. The entrepreneur with packed Omena fish was linked to many potential buyers. One client from Mombasa requested to be supplied with the product every month. After the exhibition was over, the entrepreneur received several calls from people who had purchased the product requesting more of the same to be delivered in Kisumu.
    3. There was a lot of interest from the media in the products that were being exhibited. They got coverage from GBS (Global Broadcast Service) television which aired their products on 30th May.
    4. The entrepreneurs also got a rare chance of being published in the entrepreneurs? booklet by the Ministry of Labour (Department of Micro and Small Enterprises Development) there by increasing their links to outside market as the booklet specified the name of the entrepreneur, the product, contacts and their location.
    5. The entrepreneurs attended several symposiums organized by the Ministry of labour where they learnt standards of Small Micro Enterprise (MSE)  products from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), demystifying the role of patents for MSE by Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), technology improvement for MSEs by Kenya Industrial Research and Development institute (KIRDI), effects of counterfeit products by Anti-Counterfeit Agency and bar ? coding for MSE products by Global Standardization 1(GS1) which deals with bar coding that enables entrepreneurs to sell their products in chain stores such as Nakumatt, Tuskys and Uchumi supermarkets.
    6. During the exhibition, the participants took the opportunity to learn more from fellow entrepreneurs. For example, they learnt about standard labelling materials and where to get it done. There was additional learning for the omena fish entrepreneur on how to prepare her products. She was advised to use water treated with water guard  for a shiny effect to the product as well as enhance shelf life. On the same, she learnt about a special rack for drying omena which has been made with ultraviolent protected polythene bag, this prevents omena from changing the original natural colour.
    7. The entrepreneurs were also able to educate the general public on how their products had been prepared to attain their current quality. This increased confidence in the buyer?s hence great sales as presented in the table below.






    TOTAL SALES (Ksh.)


    Packed Omena

    61 packets




    Packed Adel Adel (different species of Omena)

    30 packets




    Packed pure honey

    30 kg




    Packed bee wax

    6 kg




    Grand Total





    The greatest learning from this process has been that entrepreneurs can learn new technologies, it may not happen in a day but it is possible.




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