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Kesho - a network of agricultural input and farm services' shops in regions prone to ethnical and religious violence in Cote d'Ivoire

A network of agro-input shops with ethnic diversity staff that build bridges and prosperity in ethnicity-sensible regions of Cote d'Ivoire

Photo of Richard Seshie

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Cote d'Ivoire experienced a decade-long civil war and crisis from 2002 to 2011. A major cause of this conflict stemmed from ethnic tensions. Since independence, people from the center of the country, Baoules, have been encouraged to move to fertile lands of the west and south-west of the country where they have been granted superficialities to grow cocoa, coffee and comestibles.
Over the years, there have been resentment due to the perceived one-sided prosperity accumulated from the immigrants and the shrinking availability of fertile lands. Ethnic violence between owners of lands and their hosts have been prevalent in the west side of the country, between the Bete and Baoule ethnics, the Bete and Lobi ethnics and the Guere and Baoule ethnics. Since the end of the Ivorian crisis in 2011, the government has only recently embarked on an ambitious rural land titling program and programs to improve land fertility.
Nevertheless, ethnic mistrust has far from ended and occasionally translate into ethnic violence as has been the case in October 2017 with thousands of people displaced. We believe there is the need to foster trust and build bridges between ethnic communities of Cote d'Ivoire.

KESHO wants to establish a network of agro-input shops selling agricultural inputs and tools to smallholder farmers. Our particularity is 3-fold:
- The shops are located in some of the most ethnicity-sensible regions of Cote d'Ivoire
- Staff is made up of ethnic diversity staff. You will find for example Guere's and Baoule's
- The shops promote sustainable farming & green agriculture by selling a range of greener inputs such as organic and bio fertilizers.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries are smallholder farmers whose average age is 43 years old and their families; cultivating on land between 2 to 15 acres that benefit from better agro dealership services. The beneficiaries are the estimated 15 direct jobs to be created among unemployed youth and their families. The beneficiaries are the estimated 150,000 people living in the region where we intervene benefiting from an appeased environment whereby we foster ethnic dialogue and cohabitation.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There exist few practical initiatives to foster inter-ethnic cohabitation in Cote d'Ivoire. Our idea is innovative and embedded in pragmatism building from the context, realities and aspirations of the farming communities of Cote d'Ivoire.
Our organization and especially the project team blends expertise in both farm services & management; entrepreneurship and communication for development & social change.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

ASSOCIATION 3535 designs and implements initiatives that foster entrepreneurship in Cote d'Ivoire.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

A member of our organization lost a relative due to an ethnic violence episode. Another member of our organization spends significant time in rural communities and has been an inspiring voice to us as well.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is influenced by fostering ethnic cohabitation in the region.
Prosperity is influenced by helping smallholder farmers access more effectively agricultural inputs and tools.
Planet is influenced by helping smallholder farmers to adopt a more climate-friendly agriculture such as promoting and making available organic and bio fertilizers to improve/restore soil health in this region.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

GRAINOTHEQUE is a co-implementing partner.
GRAINOTHEQUE is an organization that works to increase the productivity of smallholder farmer agriculture and its adaptation to climate change through innovative projects and tools for preserving seed genetic diversity, integrated pest management and soil improvement. GRAINOTHEQUE is behind the very first rural incubator in Cote d'Ivoire for young rural entrepreneurs and an innovation + coworking space experimenting with agricultural innovations located in the heart of our targeted region.
GRAINOTHEQUE co-created with the communities of the region of Cavally and implemented "FEPRO-AGR", an annual Festival aimed at promoting avenues to setup Income Generating Activities in Agriculture for rural youth.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Cash-crop agriculture (as against subsistence crops) that drive demand for increased agric services.
Strong traditional rulership that can be useful for inter-ethnic dialogue.

Geographic Focus

The Cavally region of Cote d'Ivoire, especially communities living in the locality of Guiglo.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

18 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jean-Marc Mercy

Hello Richard! This is a good idea. Bringing people from different ethnic backgrounds to work together shows that you are trying to build bridges. Have you also considered a training to build trust in the community? If so, are you thinking of partnering with organizations that provide such training?

Photo of Richard Seshie

Hello Jean Marc, thank you. Because the shops are physical spaces, the premises can be used for trainings as well. We remain open to any good suggestions in that regard. Thanks!

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