In 2016, an Autodesk Redshift article written by Ken Micallef, “How KickStart International Is Pumping Up Entrepreneurial Spirit in Africa,” reported, “Although Africa holds more than half of the world’s arable land, its small-scale farmers are largely unaware of, or don’t have access to, modern water-management methods, relying on traditional indicators such as bird migrations or rising insect populations as signals to plant in advance of the coming rains.”
This huge dependence on rainfall to grow crops by small-scale African farmers unfortunately results in a disruption in the cycle of supply and demand. Since farmers rely on rainwater, they all take the same crop to sell in the market at the same time, resulting in low prices and wasted food and resources.
KickStart International is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to lift millions of people in Africa out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably. One of their biggest contributions to helping farmers in Africa include their human-powered irrigation pumps; the MoneyMaker Max ($170) and the MoneyMaker Hip Pump ($70). Micallef writes, “These pumps have enabled more than 200,000 farmers to launch profitable businesses, which generate $176 million in new farm profits and wages annually while feeding more than 10 million people. The net result is more than 1 million people now out of poverty.”
One of the engineers behind the innovative pumps is Fred Obudho, who is also a grantee of the Autodesk Foundation. He says, “Our continued challenge is improving our pumps. Due to rudimentary technology in our design workshop, a single piece of a pump might take weeks or months to prototype.” In partnership with Autodesk Foundation, KETIV was able to provide Fred and three other KickStart engineers with three weeks of training in San Francisco. Obudho says, “We learned about processes and technologies we never dreamed existed.” Jorge Fernandez spearheaded this training, which equipped the engineers with laptops containing Autodesk software and taught them how to model new and improved parts for the next models of the pumps.
The training also included showing the prototyping capabilities of 3D printing. Obudho says, “By the end, we had prototyped parts for several next-generation pumps, which we plan to pilot and, after extensive testing, bring to market.” Jorge Fernandez and the rest of the KETIV community were very happy to aid KickStart in manufacturing tomorrow’s innovations and look forward to partnering with them again the future.
Martin J. Fisher, KickStart’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer share in their excitement, saying, “On behalf of all of us at KickStart International and the hundreds of thousands of farming families in sub-Saharan Africa that stand to benefit from our work, thank you and Ketiv for your support.” He goes on to say that the training provided by KETIV “will fund KickStart’s designers and engineers to develop money-making technologies more efficiently. KickStart’s technologies are at the core of our work, and with them, we are able to enable poor rural farmers across sub-Saharan Africa to lift themselves out of poverty and create a bet
ter life for their family.”
You can learn more about the training or about KETIV’s Project Manager, Jorge Fernandez by connecting with KETIV on social media or with Jorge on LinkedIn.