lndependence made easy
It sounds like a fairy-tale. Helen Murangiri bought her first oil-seed press in 1995. She had noticed this hand-operated machine at a small agricultural exhibition put on by the Kenyan non-governmental organization ApproTec She asked a neighbouring farmer to grow sunflowers for her, and a few months later 3 employees were pressing 20 litres of high-quality pure sunﬂower oil daily. The 60 kilograms of seedcake which remained were an ideal feed for her own hens and those of her neighbours. The oil was bought from her by neighbours and restaurants. Soon Mrs. Murangiri set up a small chicken farm. Shortly afterwards she bought a second press. Today she employs 7 people and with the money earned she feeds a large family.
This is only one example of over 2500 small enterprises which have come into being in the last 7 years with ApproTec’s help. The creed of Martin Fisher, ApproTec’s technical manager, runs: motivated entrepreneurs with a production unit on a manageable scale are an effective means of creating jobs and giving many citizens a little satisfaction.
ApproTec does not just develop adapted tools and small machinery. Its personnel also draw up business plans for potential customers, carry out market studies and requirements analyses, evaluate competing products against which the new small firms must compete successfully, solve problems and help in market launches. Local businesses are also to learn the advantages of ApproTec’s tools and include them in their product ranges. .
A quarter of ApproTec’s 50 personnel are engineers, who in the last 8 years have developed a variety of adapted and inexpensive technologies in the craft and manufacturing sector. For example a machine for making roof tiles, high-quality but affordable tools for carpenters and joiners and hand operated water pumps for part-time farmers and small farms up to one hectare. The people with whom the firm is in Contact have starting capital of over 100Wup to 1000 US dollars at their disposal and have confidence in their own abilities. ApproTec collaborates with many international aid organizations. Its products are widely found in 14 countries in Africa.