Four cities for dev  


4Cities4Dev is funded by the European Union. The partners are four European cities led by Turin, and Slow Food.



Seven case studies in different African countries were identified as representative of the Slow Food approach, and they have been twinned with the partner cities.



Within the 4Cities4Dev project, the Pokot Ash Yoghurt Presidium community in Kenya is supported by the city of Bilbao. A delegation from the city visited the Presidium in 2011, and members of the community attended AlGusto in Bilbao in December 2011.


Communities in the villages of Tartar and Soibee, and many other communities in the area, have long produced an unusual yoghurt, made using milk from cows (crosses between local breeds and zebu) or goats, mixed with the ash of the native cromwo tree. Known in the local language as lolon chomi suton (mala ya kienyeji or kamabele kambou in Swahili), ash yoghurt plays an extremely important role in the diet and culture of the Pokot community, and used to be one of the staple foods for herders as they looked for pasture. 

Livestock farming is now less common and there is less milk available, leading to a significant reduction in yoghurt production. Additionally the community has lost pride in their own food culture. The yoghurt is now produced by just a few families for their own consumption and any surplus is only occasionally sold at local markets.

Ash yoghurt is produced from raw milk and has a smooth, thick, fluid consistency. Cow's milk and goat's milk are never mixed, but processed separately to make two different types of yoghurt. The cow's milk yoghurt is for men while the goat's milk yoghurt, with an intense flavor and a high nutritional value, is for women and children. The flavor also varies according to the duration of fermentation. The animals are pasture-raised and milked by hand twice a day. The milk is collected in a calabash, a traditional gourd, and left to rest for at least three days. The gourd has a very hard skin, and to make a container it is hollowed out, dried and then treated with boiling water, cromwo wood and milk in successive phases to remove any traces of bitterness.

When the gourds are ready, they are filled with milk and ash is added. They are left to rest somewhere cool and dry, on a special rack hung on the internal wall of the huts or partially buried. After the whey is drained off, the containers are closed and shaken rhythmically. The ash has disinfectant properties, improves the flavor of the yoghurt and gives it a
characteristic pale gray color.

With this project, Slow Food wants to protect a very unusual product, part of the Pokot community's identity. Through the yoghurt, Slow Food wants to help strengthen the community, which is already almost completely self-sufficient. The most important work will be with animal health and the gradual improvement of the production process, leading eventually to a quality product that respects tradition but is also safer and more hygienic. Once this preliminary work has been carried out, more energy can be invested into marketing the product. Currently low production volumes means marketing is limited and the yoghurt is mostly consumed by the community. With the opening of a sales point in the nearby town of Makutano, the members of the Tarsoi Group will have a regular source of income for the first time.

Through the participation of producers at international events like Cheese, AlGusto, Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, Slow Food also wants to give this extraordinary product the respect it deserves, which will hopefully translate into pride and a further motivational boost for the farmers.



The highlands are the most fertile part of Kenya, and some of the most fertile land in the whole continent. They extend from east to west in the southern part of the country. The westernmost highland region is West Pokot, close to the Ugandan border and halfway between two of Africa's Great Lakes, Lake Victoria to the south and Lake Turkana to the north.

The district is home to the Pokot, one of Kenya's 54 recognized tribes, though they represent just 0.1% of the population. The Pokot were traditionally nomadic herders, but now they mostly live in villages of single-family dwellings, in close contact with their livestock (mainly cows, zebu, goats and poultry).

The villages of Tartar and Soibee are in a hilly zone at around 2,000 meters above sea level, close to Mount Elgon. The Tarsoi Group, named after the two villages, brings together 65 of the villagers and represents the core of the Presidium.


The 4Cities4Dev films about Slow Food Presidia

Pokot Ash Yoghurt - Kenya

Harenna Forest Wild Coffee - Ethiopia

Fadiouth Island Salted Millet Couscous - Senegal


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