Christie Peacock, founder and chairman of SIDAI Africa, has been awarded a Social Entrepreneur Award by the Schwab Foundation.
The network is the product of Dr Peacock’s decades of service to African farmers. Studying agriculture at the University of Reading, her first visit to remote northern Kenya to study nomadic pastoralists inspired her PhD research on the Maasai, one of the first systematic studies of traditional sheep and goat management practices in Africa.
In a male dominated environment, she was especially interested in the role of women. In 1988, with a years’ funding from Band Aid, she established Farm Africa’s first goat project in Ethiopia, providing widows with cross bred goats, giving families a much-needed source of nutrition and an asset to sell in times of trouble.
She persuaded the Ethiopian director of veterinary services to allow her to train women as community animal health workers to provide basic care to the goats. The success of the model resulted in similar projects being developed by Farm Africa and other agencies.
Dr Peacock continued to work for Farm Africa, becoming chief executive in 1999. Under her leadership the organisation grew into a highly regarded, professional organisation with an annual income of £8m, working in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In 2010 Dr Peacock stepped down as chief executive to establish SIDAI – the two organisations continue to have close and supportive relations.
SIDAI (which means “good” in the Maasai language) is a social enterprise. It is establishing a network of centres to provide high-quality affordable livestock services in rural Kenya. Each centre is owned and managed by qualified professionals and provides quality animal husbandry and health services to farmers and pastoralists. The aim is to have 150 franchises across Kenya.
A spokesman for Farm Africa said: “Farm Africa is delighted to congratulate Dr Peacock on her award from the Schwab Foundation as one of their chosen social entrepreneurs for 2015.
“This is a most deserved recognition of the continued impact and growth of Sidai Africa , a commercial business that is providing high-quality livestock service in rural Kenya, and which draws on more than two decades of Farm Africa’s practical experience of establishing sustainable livestock.”