Of all our grantees, iCow is the one that people express most interest in. Not only does it have a cool name, but the idea underlying it – providing dairy farmers with an SMS support and advice service – is so simple that it’s hard to believe nobody else thought of setting up a similar organisation. In return for inputting a few pieces of data on their phone, Kenyan dairy farmers are given tailored, time-sensitive SMS updates on how to look after their cows during gestation, calving and throughout the rest of a cow’s life. According to some recent research conducted by the iCow team, farmers have witnessed significant increases in milk yields from their cows, simply as a result of adopting a few relatively straightforward processes. In essence, healthier cows mean healthier profits as this video demonstrates:
At present iCow is being used by farmers in no fewer than 37 counties throughout Kenya and expanding all the time. To help with the expansion process, we’ve decided to award them a grant for £15,000. This will be used to cover salary and legal costs, as well as any related costs iCow incur as they move to expand their service across Kenya.
It’s incredible to think that iCow was launched less than a year ago, since which time it’s been featured in numerous publications and has built up a global reputation as one of the most innovative agricultural apps, generating interest from several countries across Africa and beyond. If 2012 is anywhere near as successful as 2011, the iCow team will be in for a very busy year indeed.