The Lirhembe Multi-Service Cooperative was launched in early 1972, primarily through the efforts of the local Member of Parliament (MP) who wanted to improve the welfare of his poorest constituents. The MP conceived the idea of the cooperative and refined it in discussions with his brother (a Planning Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture) and a Dutch professor at the University of Nairobi. The MP held two meetings to discuss the idea with local leaders and farmers and with their approval successfully sought the cooperation of Kenyan government officials. Working with the MP and his brother, the Dutch professor helped secure a grant of US$140,000 to finance the project from NOVIB, a private Dutch charity organization.