Supporting agricultural entrepreneurs to boost incomes and address food insecurity in Senegal

How improving the financial sustainability and quality control of the CultiVert social franchise laid the groundwork for further scale

The Senegal-based CultiVert Franchise is a network of local independent entrepreneurs–– known as Community Based Solution Providers (CBSPs)–– that seeks to improve nutrition and economic growth in rural communities, addressing challenges including lack of market access, food insecurity, malnutrition, and undernutrition.

Mission

CultiVert connects the local CBSPs to suppliers of quality agricultural, health, and nutrition products and knowledge about improved farming techniques and nutrition. CBSPs are then trained on how to sell these products and provide services based on the needs of their communities.

Challenge

CultiVert first began in 2011 as a USAID Feed the Future project called Yaajeende. Given the positive health impact and commercial success at the entrepreneur-level, Yaajeende’s CBSP network had been growing organically. However, the quality of services offered by CBSPs varied and long-term sustainability of the network was unclear.

Change

Spring Impact began working with the team implementing Yaajeende to address two key challenges: first, making sure the network was financially sustainable. Second, embedding robust quality control across the network for the benefit of everyone: CBSPs, farmers, agricultural manufacturers, to the regional agricultural bureau.

Spring Impact worked with Yaajeende to design, systemize, and pilot a social franchise called Cultivert. This included transitioning Yaajeende’s CBSP network into the CultiVert social franchise and developing supporting systems and materials for quality recruitment, training, and day-to-day operations of the “CultiVert agents”. Karl Rosenfeld, Yaajeende Chief of Party, explained:

“Spring Impact’s staff played a key role to the professionalization of CultiVert agents in the early stages of our development.

We learned that the selection and training of agents who truly see their activity as a sustaining business, and who likewise seek to make a contribution to their communities is critical to their long term viability as franchisees.” 

 

Spring Impact supported the pilot implementation of the CultiVert social franchise in its first four regions in Senegal, where CBSPs demonstrated strong entrepreneurial ambition and strong community orientation. Through field visits to Senegal, regular coaching calls and project planning and evaluation tools, we helped the team navigate unforeseen challenges to keep the franchise on track. 

Spring Impact served as a trusted advisor accompanying the project team. We supported them to closely monitor performance during the pilot––from communications and coaching, to quality control and documentation usage––building in a feedback loop to continually refine the way CultiVert operates.

Action

At the end of the first year of implementation, there were 80 CultiVert agents in communities across Senegal earning income from selling products and services, including seeds, fertiliser, machinery to till soil, nutritionally enriched flour, and livestock vaccinations.

Using the experience and knowledge gained through its Senegal launch, CultiVert set out to further scale its model across Senegal and beyond, improving the health and financial livelihoods of millions. Now established as its own business, CultiVert and its agents are key providers to the latest USAID/Senegal Feed the Future project, Kawolor, which seeks to impact 1.5 million people over five years.

Impact

Now established as its own business, CultiVert and its agents are key providers to the latest USAID/Senegal Feed the Future project, Kawolor, which seeks to impact 1.5 million people over five years.

Find out more

Our Journey to Impact report introduces the key lessons from our first 10 years and features more of the amazing partners we've worked with.

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