01 Nov Haller’s Work and the UN SDGs
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by world leaders at a landmark UN Summit in 2016. This set of 17 interlinked aims is intended to provide a pathway to greater global equality and more sustainable use of resources and land.
These goals provide a reference point as to what our projects should seek to achieve, and the balance they need to strike. Even before the goals were institutionalised, Dr Haller’s principles and the work of the Haller Foundation already encapsulated many of their aims.
Dr Haller’s transformation of the Bamburi Quarry in the 1970’s sought to promote biodiversity (SDG 15 – Life on Land) and provide a haven for wildlife that had been wiped out from the region. The successes of the Haller Park were later translated to the Nguuni Nature Sanctuary, demonstrating the potential for humans to restore the natural world after decades of misuse. Today it serves as a reminder of how people and nature can live together in harmony. This ethos of protecting the natural world has also been translated into our work protecting turtles along the Mombasa coast through the Baobab Trust (SDG 14 – Life below Water).
Dr Haller asserted that people will not protect the environment of tomorrow if they don’t have food on their plates today. With this in mind, the Haller Foundation seeks to unleash the potential of local economies (SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth) through the Haller Journey, our model for development that is both sustainable and environmentally conscious.
The first stage of the Haller Journey focuses on developing water supplies and sanitation systems (SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation), through small-scale initiatives at first such as hand-washing stations to larger infrastructure projects (SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) including wells and dams. Currently, Haller is the only NGO delivering WASH infrastructure in the Mombasa region. We have helped communities to build 53 wells, 54 dams and 46 eco-loos. In addition to the creation of physical infrastructure, the Haller Farmers App details how to collect and purify water.
The second stage focuses on agricultural practices and improving food production to reduce the risk of food insecurity (SDG 2 – Zero Hunger). Our agricultural techniques are designed to be regenerative, alleviating the increased pressure on food systems caused by changing climates. The Haller Farmers App focuses on giving smallholder farmers the tools to maximise their crop yields, despite the increased incidence of drought and depleting water supplies.
Access to the Haller Farmers App is only possible through the provision of affordable and clean energy (SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy). Haller has partnered with Deciwatt, innovators of the NowLight, which provides instant light and power at the pull of a cord. NowLights were given to those on Haller’s Ambassadors scheme, who helped to take Haller’s impact into new communities through the Haller Farmers App.
The Haller Farmers App provides a wealth of knowledge on agricultural practices but also has a section dedicated to educating young people on climate change, global warming and pollution, and the role that they can play in mitigating against the worst impacts of these forces (SDG 13 – Climate Action). Our youth farming program started in 2017, focuses on providing a hands-on, skills-based agricultural education to children in communities supported by Haller (SDG 4 – Quality Education). The program teaches basic farming skills but also introduces children to higher-level techniques such as fish farming and hydroponics. Through the incorporation of various levels of farming, we hope to inspire the next generation to become involved in advanced farmer training.
Smallholder farmers have traditionally been a high-risk group for poverty, as people’s income is so reliant on one thing, a good harvest, that a failure to produce this throws entire livelihoods into question. Haller focuses on diversifying people’s income streams, encouraging farmers to engage in alternative agricultural schemes to provide another source of revenue (SDG 1 – No Poverty). These alternative schemes include beekeeping, chicken keeping, fish farming and agri-char and biogas production, pathways for people to generate an income whilst protecting nature.
Much of our attention through these schemes is on helping women to gain a greater level of influence in their communities (SDG 5 – Gender Equality). 80% of the people we work with are predominantly women, the usual caretakers of the smallholding. Haller’s nano-enterprise programme provides seed capital to women starting small businesses, giving them an important extra income revenue to support themselves and their families.
Ultimately, the Haller journey has helped to produce 54 sustainable communities (SDG 11 – Sustainable Communities) and will continue to reduce inequalities (SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities) by improving access to education and healthcare systems. Haller runs an extensive community outreach program, taking medical aid to areas where it would previously not have been available. This bi-weekly scheme focuses on identifying and treating manageable ailments, as well as providing educational sessions on breastfeeding, nutrition, and dental care (SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing).