We are for 300% satisfied!


The last week of November 2016 Gea Bakker (Rabobank) and Nicole Doornbos (Vrouwen van Nu) have accomplished the Workshop ‘On Sustainable Services’ for the first ‘real’ time. The client was Meru Coffee Central Cooperative Union (MCCU) in Kenya. This union consists of 34 cooperative societies, 96 wetfactories and 100.000 farmers.There were already some try-outs, f.e. in Nepal. The duration of the workshop was 2,5 days and everybody stayed in a hotel in Nanyuki. On purpose not in Meru because it could seduce participants to go home during the night or be busy with business as usual.

Nicole and Gea wrote a blog about their experiences:

“We have been working with an enthusiastic group of people consisting of 8 farmers, 7 members of the Board of Directors, 3 members of the Supervisory Committee and 7 MCCCU Staff members. In total 25 people.
Our main goal was to produce together an action plan which had commitment of the group.

So we worked according to the following guiding principles:

  1. Co-creation
  2. Ownership and responsibility by the participants
  3. Dialogue and multiperspective views
  4. Appreciate inquiry (working driven from the force and power of that what already exists in the organization)

This meant we worked a lot in small groups, mixed and not mixed, according to the subject. We worked with energizers (singing, dancing and the Marshmallow challenge) to have a good focus and have fun. Good teamwork needs good connection and communication between the participants.

In the different phases we used converge and diverge. We first inventoried twelve needs and then prioritised back to three. In the following step we start the brainstorm to come up with as many ideas as possible for good solutions. Then we choose the best solution per need and concreted it into a service. The last step in the process was to make it financial sustainable.
Then we were ready to make the final action plan!!

The feedback we received was positive:

  • This workshop has another approach then what we are used to; we did work ourselves in the groups and we appreciate that approach, we have found our own answers and you helped us by that.
  • We are for 300% satisfied!
  • The workshop last 2,5 days but it seemed as 1 hour! There was a lot of energy and warmth in the group, that can be addressed by the approach.
  • We are very happy now we have a plan with commitment of us all!
  • It was nice to have time to talk and discuss with each other.
  • We hope you will come back in 1 year to celebrate with us the completion of the action plan and to help us to make a new action plan for the next level!

As facilitators it was special to experience that the whole group took responsibility for the groups process and the outcomes (the action plan). This is a critical success factor in the implementing phase.

The people of MCCCU showed a lot of power and strength! They can achieve a lot together. One of the most important needs for the farmers is to increase the production of coffeebeans from average 2 too average 6 kg per tree (max is 10 kilo).  When they achieve this goal it will have an enormous impact on the income of the farmers and as a result of that on the wealth/wellbeing of their children. So not only financial sustainability but also future sustainability and a better future.

It was really special that we could give an attribution to these goals and we wish Agriterra and MCCCU a lot of success in the follow up of the implementation of the action plan.
We hope we can deliver again an attribution over a certain period! So we can achieve together the next level of sustainability.”

Gea Bakker en Nicole Doornbos

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