North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO) is a regional livestock association constituted by national livestock traders’ associations drawn from 13 countries, namely: Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. The council was established with the support of SMP-AH project funded by USAID and VET GOV project funded by European Union. Both projects are implemented by IGAD-ICPALD in partnership with AU-IBAR. National chapters have been established only in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
The council is registered in Kenya as a regional association whose membership is drawn from national apex organizations even though it is open to anyone working within the livestock sector. However, NEALCO faces the following challenges: (1) Limited number of national livestock associations from which NEALCO can derive membership, (2) Limited capacity (financial, technical, organizational weakness) of livestock and livestock related associations in most member states, and (3) Poor linkage between various actors e.g. producers and processors, credit suppliers, technology suppliers. Therefore, to support council enhance its institutional capacity and help it align its activities in line with a vibrant and sustainable regional livestock association as envisaged in its vision, a twinning/experience sharing workshop cum training of two days was proposed. The activity was agreed to take place in Naivasha, Kenya between NEALCO regional/national executives and Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) on 13th and 14th July, 2017.
The recommendations were arrived at after considering NEALCO’s strategic plan, current status (experiences and challenges) and the best practices as captured in the Key Success Factors of a Regional Industry Trade Association (RITA).
1. Institutional, Capacity Building and Leadership
NEALCO institutional capacity is inadequate and in need of continuous building. Specific action points include;
a) Hold an AGM to ratify the current interim board of directors and invite to the board at least three new board members with specific competence or value to inject fresh blood and ideas
b) Establish an office and recruit officers such as an office administrator. In the interim, the office administrator can either be housed by one of the Kenyan national chapter (because it is the headquarters) or any of the supporting institutions e.g. IGAD-ICPALD or AU-IBAR etc. The office administrator is answerable only to the board or designated board member.
c) Establish Board Committees or Task Force in the interim period when the funds are constrained to help the skeleton secretariat implement the strategic plan. The task force should look at matters of the institutional capacity, public affairs and communications committee to champion lobbying and communication goals and membership committee to recruit and retain members through innovative value add to members.
d) Establish NEALCO Advisory Board of not more than 5 renowned personalities to help NEALCO realize key goals such as fundraising, lobbying, advocacy and visibility. The board should meet twice annually and at the AGM. In addition, the Advisory Board will provide a conduit through which the Board and management of NEALCO can lobby, fundraise and gain visibility.
e) Develop relevant management tools and systems e.g. finance manual, board charter, human resource manual by benchmarking against successful associations.
f) Review the current membership structure.
2. Communication, Information, Knowledge Management and Networking .
a) Establish a modern website and social pages and task the relevant board committee to monitor continuous updates
b) Establish email contacts with all the National Association chapters and send at least fortnightly email on various updates about NEALCO and the industry
c) Establish contacts with knowledge and information powerhouses like ILRI, KARLO, NALRO and other regional research institute for NEALCO to be knowledge repository for livestock industry
3. Public Affairs (Policy and Advocacy)
a) Establish contact and sign MOUs with key public institutions, governments and non-governmental actors
4. Value Added Membership services
a) Identify low lying benefits to members such as regular information to members via email, social pages and website.
b) Re-organize NEALCO Expo, package it well and implement at a minimum annually to raise resources for the association while at the same time enhance visibility and networking opportunities.