Increasing dietary diversity in a notorious slum in Kenya

In a busy area on the outskirts of Nairobi’s notorious Kibera slum, 27-year-old Sarah Mekesa drops the equivalent of US$ 0.79 into a Maziwa King machine and watches as milk reaches the rim of her bottle. Sarah buys a litre of milk from the machine every day for her daughter, a toddler, which she incorporates into porridge or cooks with spinach. Her family consume twice as much milk as they did before she discovered the machine and Sarah has noticed an improvement in her daughter’s health.

Farmer Clement Mwangi’s coin operated Maziwa King milk dispensers will help improve the health of more Kenyan families like Sarah’s with the support of GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods. Through the program, three entrepreneurs in Kenya and five businesses in Mozambique have access to a network of business planning and technical support to help grow their business. The program offers grants and connects entrepreneurs with investors, growers, and institutions to address challenges involved in the production and delivery of nutritious foods.

Challenges for Clement are around cost and distribution. His ‘milk-on-demand’ meets the need of Kenya’s cash and refrigeration constrained population, and also provides access to a healthy food. This allows people like Sarah to get nutrient-rich cow’s milk that’s less than a day old.

Clement, a finance graduate, will use a grant from the Marketplace to create 12 more Maziwa King kiosks next to or in low income areas around Nairobi by the end of 2014. The company distributes pasteurized full-cream milk using coin-operated dispensing technology. He will also increase his staff from three to eight and buy a refrigerated truck. This will guarantee a market to more farmers, who he believes get a raw deal when they sell to distributors. Clement hopes to expand throughout Kenya and beyond its borders. “We see ourselves going very big,” he says.

GAIN’s Marketplace is helping more people in Africa access affordable, diverse diets. We’re supporting other Kenyan, Mozambican, and Tanzanian businesses that sell protein-rich chicken offal and fresh fish from aquaculture enterprises in small, affordable quantities. The program is a key part of our work to improve dietary diversity.

Read more about GAIN’s marketplace for nutritious foods