Water project wins USAID, Gates Foundation Support

KickStart, a project to create opportunities for entrepreneurial farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, has won a development grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The grant was announced among seven new winners in the Agency’s open competition for development ideas. These projects are co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures WASH for Life Partnership.

"Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) supports breakthrough solutions to the world's most intractable development challenges.There's a lot of affordable technology that can spur business and better productivity in Africa, but many subsistence farmers struggle to gain access to finance. We are excited to announce a partnership with KickStart that will test new innovations in financing to increase technology adoption, enabling the creation of small businesses to lift people out of poverty,” said Dr. Maura O'Neill, Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counsellor to the Administrator, USAID.

KickStart, working in rural areas of Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Burkina Faso, sells money-making tools that open up business opportunities for poor smallholder farmers. Its MoneyMaker range of human powered, irrigation pumps are the most widely used of these products and provide an ideal and environmentally friendly solution that quickly enable poor farming families to access water and grow crops. These low-cost ($35 and $100 USD) pumps are sold in local retail shops.  They enable farmers to move from rain-fed farming to irrigated agriculture at which point they can grow crops year-round and sell their crops at a profit during the dry season when prices are high.

KickStart says new technologies are in development to boost agriculture in rural areas. Farmers are able to save up to buy the pumps through a Mobile Layaway plan - "Tone Kwa Tone”.

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