Impact study on agriculture partner, SEKEM
In September 2014, Oikocredit initiated an impact evaluation study on its Egyptian agricultural partner, SEKEM. The study was coordinated by Oikocredit International in close cooperation with SEKEM staff and carried out by a team from the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), in the Netherlands. The team was supported by staff and students of Heliopolis University for sustainability in Egypt. The study focusses on the impact SEKEM has on its farmer suppliers.
Previous Oikocredit studies have mainly focussed on microfinance institutions (MFIs) and it was felt that a study should now be conducted on a production and services partner. SEKEM was not chosen as a representative of Oikocredit’s agricultural portfolio, rather for its holistic business model which fits Oikocredit’s triple bottom line and allows for a more qualitative evaluation method.
A focus on production and services
The evaluation study matches Oikocredit’s strategy for an increased focus on the Production & Services Portfolio, particularly in agriculture in Africa, and it enhances Oikocredit’s insight into the impact that partner organizations have on their clients. At the same time, the study provides SEKEM with the opportunity to develop a baseline and an opportunity to start gathering information systematically on the farmers who supply SEKEM.
Almost 40 years as a pioneering agri-enterprise
SEKEM is an agricultural enterprise founded in 1977 with the reclamation of 70 ha of desert. It is a partner that pays particular attention to economic, social, cultural and ecologic life, inspired by insights from anthroposophy and Islam. Today it has grown to 3,000 ha and the SEKEM holding consists of nine companies selling organic food, textiles and phytopharmaceuticals with an integrated value chain supplying national and international markets. SEKEM cultivates its own biodynamic farms and, with the establishment of the Egyptian Bio Dynamic Association (EBDA) in 1994, has helped over 700 farmers in Egypt shift from conventional to biodynamic agriculture. It also established the SEKEM Development Foundation (SDF) in 1984, which runs educational and health projects and opened the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development in 2012.
The SEKEM Impact Evaluation Study executive summary can be downloaded here (2 MB).