Dr. Haller believes that people will not conserve for tomorrow if they do not have food on their plates today. So we align economy with ecology, developing ways for people to generate an income while protecting nature.
We use solar energy to produce light at our community centres and power the aquaponics system on our farms. It can also be sold to paying customers who need to re-charge their mobile phones or torch batteries, creating a local economy.
We also show communities how to generate biogas, which is cheaper and more environmentally sustainable than buying firewood. Cooking time on biogas stoves can then be bought and sold.
Haller gives farmers the skills to not only produce enough food to eat, but also a surplus to sell. We encourage community members to set up stalls to sell their produce. We also offer nano-loans to farmers like James to help them move up the economic ladder. With Haller’s help, he bought a wheelbarrow that helps him transport surplus food to the market .
Chickens can generate real income for farmers but chicken feed is expensive. We solved this problem by feeding chickens larvae from soldier flies instead. We have also cross-fertilized chickens, producing two kinds: one is immune to local diseases, a natural habitat of eating grubs, the other produces a lot of meat, so it fetches higher prices at the market.
Haller puts money back into communities wherever possible but always in exchange for goods and services. We ask community members to dig their own dams and then pay them for their work and when we need trees or seedlings, we source these from farmers we have trained, providing them with a little extra income.
We teach basic business skills such as bookkeeping and management of supplies and cash flows as well as help communities register as self-help groups so they can set up and run a community bank account. With these skills, they can apply for small loans to invest in – and grow – their business. We call this nano-enterprise because the people we help are so far below the poverty threshold, they do not qualify for micro-finance loans. Haller provides seed capital to help community members start small businesses and these nano-enterprise initiatives help people move beyond subsistence farming so that they can start to build sustainable lives for themselves
Joseph used a small loan from Haller to buy a donkey, so he could transport water from the dams, up a hill to the community centre. Here, he sold water to people who didn’t want to collect it themselves. He paid Haller back with the money he made and now runs a successful small business .
We run dressmaking workshops teaching women how to make school uniforms which we then buy and distribute at cost to the community schools we support. With these new skills, women can set up their own businesses selling uniforms or other clothes.
Many Kenyan girls miss school during menstruation because sanitary towels are too expensive. Haller works with women’s groups to make eco-sanitary towels out of local materials, which are both affordable and hygienic. These provide income to the women making them and are delivered alongside an educational programme that aims to break the taboo connected with menstruation.