Publication of the BRIDGE storybook

June 10, 2024

The storybook celebrates the achievements of the BRIDGE (Building Rural Income though Inclusive Dairy Growth in Ethiopia) project over the past 5 years by highlighting personal stories of dairy practitioners who were able to improve their financial position through the project’s support.

The BRIDGE project managed to increase the wellbeing of 82.000 dairy farming households by enhancing the overall dairy sector through improvements in milk production, in- and output markets, safety of dairy products and by facilitating an enabling environment. The project was initiated in 2018, following EDGET (SNV) and DairyBISS (Wageningen University & Research) projects. The project ended last October, with a new phase (BRIDGE+) starting at the beginning of 2024.

Impact of BRIDGE

The personal stories show that the project is first and foremost about people. For example, in the story “The dairy farm is the livelihood of our family”, Sanbato Mude (one of the members of EDGET dairy cooperative found in Wondo Genet Woreda of the Sidama region) explains how the support he received through BRIDGE has had a huge impact on his family’s wellbeing. Thanks to the support of the BRIDGE project he was able to scale up his dairy farming activities and take part in various trainings (for example farm management and forage development trainings). Sanbato furnished his house, bought a minibus, constructed a new barn for his dairy cows, and covered the school fees for his children by the additional income generated from the increase in milk production.

“The personal experiences from the farmers and dairy practitioners illustrate the direct integration of applied research with project implementation, bringing together experience and expertise from both WUR and SNV,” says Mirjam Spoelstra, researcher at Wageningen University & Research, Animal Breeding and Genomics (WUR-ABG). “BRIDGE has tackled a wide range of topics, from improving forage production and preservation to evaluating genetic resources and project strategies, while at the same delving into practical aspects like milk chilling equipment.”

The dairy farm is the livelihood of our family. I furnished my house, bought a minibus, constructed a barn for my dairy cows, and covered the school fees for my children by the income I earned from selling milk
Sanbato Mude, dairy farmer from the Sidama Region, Ethiopia

Creating the storybook

The editorial team of the BRIDGE storybook worked in close collaboration with the researchers and SNV staff involved in the BRIDGE project. The researchers provided guidance on how to embed their research and together with the SNV staff shared experiences from the field that could be included in the stories to add a personal touch.

“The storybook is a great way to get our work in the public domain,” says Mirjam. “It’s an accessible and attractive format that appeals to a broad audience. It’s great that we can show how applied research integrated with extension work and market linkages has had a positive impact on the lives of Ethiopian dairy farmers and their families.”