KickStart International

Voxtra supported KickStart International’s program for promoting manual irrigation pumps to smallholder farmers in Kenya with $1.32 million from 2009 to 2012.

The challenge
60% of the Kenyan population of about 40 million live outside the major cities and earn their living through subsistence farming. They depend on unreliable rain to grow their crops and have one or two harvests per year.

The organization
KickStart was founded in 1991 (then known as ApproTEC) with the mission to help millions of people out of poverty by developing and promoting technologies that can be used by dynamic entrepreneurs to establish and run profitable small scale enterprises. Since its founding, KickStart has sold irrigation technologies to tens of thousands of farmers thereby having a significant impact on their incomes.

The program that Voxtra supported
Voxtra supported KickStart to promote irrigation technologies through commercial channels in Kenya. The main target of the Kenya program over the grant period was to sell irrigation pumps to 33,000 farmers, by building awareness around the benefits of irrigation and strengthening the capacity of retailers. KickStart also continues to develop cheaper and better irrigation pumps. The adoption of these technologies allow the families to increase their incomes significantly. Voxtra’s share of the program was 18%.

Why Voxtra selected this program

  • KickStart has successfully taken up the huge challenge of promoting irrigation technologies in a region with very little tradition of irrigation.
  • The impact of adopting irrigation technologies is high and direct, transforming the lives of smallholder farmer families. An investment of $35-100 in an irrigation pump generates an average of $600 per year in net additional income.
  • As a principle, KickStart believes in empowering people to help themselves out of poverty, i.e. no handouts. This is in line with Voxtra’s philosophy.
  • KickStart is a strong organization, with a professional management team, well-developed systems for financial management and operations monitoring, and a results-oriented approach.

During the grant period, KickStart sold 23,300 pumps in Kenya, an increase of 67% over the previous three-year period. Various  studies document an income increase of $500-1,000 per farmer household. Based on an average income increase of $600, Voxtra estimates that each pump sold generates a return to small farmers of $PPP 7,700 over the pump’s lifetime. Taking Voxtra’s share of the budget of KickStart Kenya into account (18%), we find that Voxtra has achieved a 25x social return on its grant to KickStart.

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