Participating Project

Project information

Farming the unfarmable

We have over 50 years of farming experience empowering ultra-poor smallholder farmers and have an app that teaches organic farming beyond our physical reach.. This project will focus on in-country testing of the new version of our farmers app and teaching farmer trainers how to use it.

6 months

Charity information: The Haller Foundation

The Haller Foundation logo
  • Need

    Need

    Across the world, millions of people are forced to live off barren land and depend on rainfed agriculture. With little knowledge of techniques to regenerate the land and an over-reliance on water and nutrient thirsty crops, many farmers struggle to produce enough from their land to feed their families. With increasingly irregular rainfall, already vulnerable famers face further threats to their livelihoods and failed harvests.

    Solution

    We have 50+ years of experience and have supported tens of thousands to transform their land and livelihood. This project takes advantage of the mobile-tech revolution in Africa to reach many thousands more with our sustainable farming techniques and information. Our app provides comprehensive information on how to grow crops and our history of working directly with farming communities means that we provide a specifically adapted service to smallholders.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Teach farmers to use the app through a trainer of trainers model.

    Activities

    » We will work with farmer trainers to equip them with the digital skills to utilise the app and then use the app as a tool for training smallholders.

    A group of experienced farmer training will become orientated with the necessary skills to train communities to use the app.


    Aim 2

    Ensure the effectiveness of the app through user feedback training sessions.

    Activities

    » Engage with farmers about the functionality and usability to ensure that the app is as useful and user-friendly as possible.

    The app will be used as an integrated part of our existing service delivery.


    Aim 3

    Further improve the tool based on feedback sessions findings.

    Activities

    » Taking on board the findings from our usability sessions, these changes and alterations will be developed and implemented into the app.

    The app will be adapted to ensure that it meets the needs of our target beneficiaries based on the findings of our evaluation and feedback sessions.


    Aim 4

    Increase the outreach of the app through radio in campaigns in 5 new areas.

    Activities

    » We will use radio channels that are popular in rural areas to encourage and promote the app as a tool for smallholder farmers.

    Increase outreach and use of the app through radio broadcasts and community events.


    Aim 5

    Increase the number of users from 21,000 to 500,000 by 2020.

    Activities

    » Taking advantage of the digital-tech revolution in Africa, we will provide farmers with an easy-to-use, informative tool to promote organic farming
    » Using a training of trainers model to spread information we will ensure that farmers are equipped with the digital skill to use the app.

    The app will have 500,000 unique users by 2020


  • Impact

    Impact

    Having commissioned research into data and mobile usage amongst our beneficiary communities, we fully understand the needs of the farmers we serve and are committed to producing an app that will have a profound impact on the lives of farmers.

    Our existing app already has 21,000 unique users, and has had a positive impact on the lives of communities. We aim to increase this number to 500,000 by 2020.

    Risk

    We built a smartphone app designed to be usable for even a semi-literate user. However, the main challenge we have faced to date is poor network coverage and the lack of smartphones among the poorest smallholder farmers. By pivoting to make the app full downloadable and work through existing networks of government and NGO farmer trainers and by providing farmer trainers who do not have them with smartphones, the rest of the community members benefit from the app through them.

    Reporting

    As we redevelop the app and as more farmers are trained and using the app we will be able to measure the impact from its user statistics, successful increase in user numbers, and from on-the-ground surveys with focus groups.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Training of trainers Train focused community extension providers and champions to teach farming using the app.
      £9,000 Evaluation Assess the usability of the app and gain in-the-field information of the app's functionality.
      £5,000 Further redevelopment Using the knowledge gained from the evaluation process, we will implement these changes into the app
      £3,000 Sharing findings. We will host a conference to share the findings of evaluation with government and NGO partners.
      £1,400 Promote to farmers. We will organise a radio campaign to promote the use of the app amongst smallholder farmers.
      £3,700 Assessment and testing. Assess qualitative impact and user testing in the field with farmers living on barren land
      £7,900 Redevelopment Using the information from our surveys we will begin to create the downloadable version of the app.
  • Background

    Location

    The initial project work will take place in south-eastern Kenya, centred around Mombasa. During the process of testing and assessing the app to ensure it's usability, we will train farmers in other regions across Kenya. However, as the app develops and begins being used by more and more smallholder farmers living on barren land we will directly impact farmers across sub-Saharan Africa.

    Beneficiaries

    This project will directly improve the lives of app users, their families and their communities. By using the app, farmers will be able to improve their crop yield and develop an income source. This will mean that families can send their children to school and have a dependable source of food, even in the most challenging environmental conditions.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have over 50 years of experience in agricultural innovation and our operations are based in our dedicated applied agricultural research centre and centre of excellence, based in Mombasa, Kenya. We have a proven record of success of transformative holistic projects with the most vulnerable farming communities and our existing farming app and projects on the ground have been recognised by both the Kenyan and British governments.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.

    People

    Anastacia Cheruiyot

    Anastacia is the farmer training manager of our farmer training centre and is the primary developer of the agricultural information of the app.

    Julia Stone

    Julia has worked in educational app development and will take the lead on designing the app to ensure that it is as usable as possible.