Financing Agiculture sustainably23 Feb, 2024

One Ward One Cooperative (OWOC)

Empowering Rural Communities: One Ward One Cooperative (OWOC)

In the wake of Kenya's Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), the spotlight on agriculture intensifies as a pivotal driver of investment, wealth creation, and employment generation, particularly in rural areas.

The challenge of youth employment and economic transformation at the grassroots level underscores the importance of agricultural initiatives. As the government strives to fulfill its promise of economic empowerment for all, the focus shifts to County Governments to demonstrate their support for the BETA initiative.

Amidst these aspirations, the National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Programmes (NARIGP) emerges as a beacon of hope, aiming to bolster community-level institutions and strengthen producer organizations (POs) to enhance market access for smallholder producers. However, tapping into NARIGP's potential requires a cohesive organizational framework, aligning with both governmental and World Bank interventions.

The concept of One Ward One Cooperative (OWOC) emerges as a grassroots-driven solution to empower communities economically, particularly through SACCOs (Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations). By promoting share-based investments in SACCOs, the OWOC initiative aims to not only benefit farmers but also ensure equitable distribution of value chain benefits. This inclusive model encourages households to contribute their resources, fostering a sense of ownership and collective prosperity.

In Murang’a County, the OWOC framework takes shape, intertwining cooperative development with the promotion of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Through a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders including the National Government, County Governments, and private sector partners, OWOCs serve as incubators for SMEs, particularly focusing on youth-driven agripreneurship.

The integration of health initiatives, such as the FoodFarmacy model, further amplifies OWOC's impact by promoting nutrition-led agricultural practices. By aligning with national agendas on health and sustainable development, OWOCs become pivotal players in driving holistic rural development.

Financial sustainability lies at the core of OWOC's success, with a focus on leveraging investments from both public and private sectors. The adoption of digital technologies, such as the iFoodSOS platform, ensures transparency and traceability across value chains, thereby enhancing market access and mitigating risks.
Furthermore, OWOCs serve as hubs for data collection and analytics, facilitating informed decision-making at both local and national levels. By harnessing grassroots insights and partnering with academia and research institutions, OWOCs contribute to the co-creation of knowledge products tailored to localized needs.

In conclusion, OWOCs represent a paradigm shift towards inclusive and sustainable rural development. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and community ownership, these cooperatives empower rural communities to chart their own path towards economic prosperity, while contributing to Kenya's broader development agenda. As the nation strides towards a more equitable and resilient future, OWOCs stand as beacons of hope, illuminating the path towards grassroots-driven transformation.


Digitization of Agriculture and Nutrition.


Helping governments maximize operations management with digitization


Basement Floor, Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi



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