it may odd to introduce martin fisher and kickstart treadle pumps through an obituiary to his co-founder nick moon
-it tells a story of their lifeswork -biggest ipacy kenya- which has energised trade pumps as a livelihood irrigation tool for small farmers in kenya and elsewhere
irrigation methods are critical but there is relatively little i have been able to find on their impacts in community-based approaches ti ending poverty- ie the sme value chain of irrigation and which agricultural; crops it is needed for -of course 2 issues that immediately come tio play is where is the climate etc supportive of manual pumping of water across small plot farms
skoll foundation on discoverung kick start once released news that this could be one of the biggest solutions to scale- i dont think it has lived up to that but still wonder why not- if i understand corectly kickstart is far bigger in kenya than anywere else
maybe that was because nick moon was an exceptional distributor
its also always been an open question - was kickstart's initial purchase too big a price for the smallest enytrpereneurs- what sort of size of small entreprise farm did it kick in - and why wasnt there microbanking allainces to maximise this tool as a franchise- or could it be that in spite of the era when women lead the world in ending rural poverty in tradle pumps case the amlount of energy needed to man a pump is more something that a fit male can energise -another muddle i never got the chnace to ask the right people about was- in kenya the world class microcredit of the 2000s was jamii bora- and itrs duisntinction was as urban youth slum based model though it did branch to rural- i never got as far as understanding what hapened to rural chanels for credit in kenya- by about 2005 mpesa had chnaged the landscsape for ever in terms of being the first digital finacial channel for the poor and specialising in remitatances from urban kenyans to their poorer rural failoies- did safara is the microbusiness solution partner of mpesa ever maximise its possible synergies with kickstart
if you read this and know the reserach has been done - plesse tell me firstname.lastname@example.org how to link it - i am very concerned about kenmya because the local commuity knowledge that used to circulate through microbanks owned in trust for the poorest seems to have disappeared with the re-ownership of jamii bora- tuhe question yunus akwats trained everyine in - are you contunuosly redesigning to access the next wave of poorest- its always easier/more profitable for a banker to serve not the very poorest and ideed bankl customers also trend towards asking why are we subiding the poorest whose small gtranscations in the pre-digitaal world used to be uneconomic to bank for
it may also be that is very little to differentiate treadle pumps - i dont know if that is the case but i have heard 2 rumors
the origin of the treadle pump as an end poverty tool may have been broght by paulm polak originally to banagldesh and this may have started aropund 1974- that date is significant because when muhammad yunus fitrst took his economic stidntes outside the classroom to end poverty in the vilages it uis rumored that itrrigation was one of the areas he experimented with before hoiming in on microcredit- reaons for thinking that is highly likely are that it was to combat a fanine taht had killed a million people that yunus made his lifechanging move
of course the fact that yunus had involvement with treadle pumps but from 1983 they never featured as one of his major microfrnachsies agian raises the question:
wss tyhere a missing microfranchise market one size up from what the village mother could afford to invest in
or was there something about climate or plot size that makes ned poverty farming so different in bangaldesh than kenya - i can imagine it may be because a lot of bangladesh has monsoon periods with too much water and maybe the rice economy doesntg need tradle pumping - again if anyine has sources on agriculture crips to end poverty by country anmd but what approprate tech tool if any is needed that would be great to map
that siad the ebst way to celebarte nick moon's life may be to help martin fisher calrify where kickstart could yet be scaling - as you can see from the story his hq is in san francisco - not that far from the head quiarters of skoll - ankother reason which has always confused me- why do the 2 famopus catalogues of social entrepreneurs ashoka and skoll actually make it easy to understand which solutions could be scaled to places they afre noit being used or by better knowledge of what parters afre needed eg between micrbanking and micro agriculture value chains
again i wonder why the rister of microcredits and small farmers that whole foods maintans at wholeplanet doesnt seem ever to open source the sorts of learning students of teh sustainability geenration need to make sure that no pump is left unturned where it could be part of sustainability agriculture and the collabiration race to end poverty
I am writing with a heavy heart to let you know that our beloved KickStart Co-Founder and Board Member, Nick Moon, lost his fight against leukemia on October 10th, 2018.
I was with him at the end, in the UK surrounded (in person and on the phone) by his loved ones. He was diagnosed in June, after feeling, ‘a bit under the weather’ for a few months. So he reluctantly left his home in Kenya, and went to the UK for treatment. The treatment was excellent, and his extended family was there to support him. He fought hard, as he always has, and he kept up his spirits, and the spirits of all those around him, as he always has. He survived through multiple rounds of chemo and immunotherapy. And he wrote stories from his life, to pass the time.
But in the end, the cancer wouldn’t give up, his body couldn’t take anymore, and a pneumonia set in. And then, all too quickly he was in the ICU, his voice was gone, and his family and friends raced to see him. But he rallied once again, as Nick always has, and on his last night, buoyed by a blood transfusion and drugs, Nick was back briefly, he awoke with a smile and started singing, and dancing in his bed, we played music, talked about old times and assured him about the future. And then after a while, he told us, “class dismissed” and he waved us all away. And in the morning, while listening to the final words from those who so loved him, he peacefully passed away.
As I think most of you know, Nick and I met in Kenya in 1986, and we worked together at ActionAid, for 5 years, before we co-founded ApproTEC, which later became KickStart.
Nick always recognized the inherent drive and potential of every person he met, irrespective of their background, or their position in life. And it was this belief that drove us to start ApproTEC/KickStart. Because as we worked together, we realized that the only real solution to poverty, was to give millions of people the chance to tap into that drive and potential, to start a profitable businesses, and to earn a lot more money. So we founded ApproTEC/KickStart with the simple mission: To lift millions of people out of poverty—quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably.
Nick was a carpenter, a builder and an entrepreneur (I was an engineer) so he taught me about construction and business. And we started with our stabilized-soil-block-press, and our fiber-concrete-roofing-tile making machines. Thousands have used them to start new businesses. But then we ran short of funds, so we designed our domed-pit-latrine-slabs, and we manufactured and installed over 40,000 of them in refugee camps in Northern Kenya. A huge task that only Nick’s organizational, technical and leadership skills made possible. Then we designed the sunflower oil-seed-press and the hay baler and pretty soon the MoneyMaker irrigation pumps. I went back to the USA to raise the money, and Nick stayed in Kenya, where he led the large scale expansion of our program and our impacts. The rest is history, bringing us to where we are today, with well over 1.3 million people who have now used our tools and equipment to climb out of poverty. And many, many millions more who have benefitted from the houses and schools built with our machines, the oil and hay pressed, and the huge amount of food grown with our pumps.
But without Nick, his drive, his talents and his leadership, none of this would have been possible, and there would be no KickStart. So all of this is his legacy!! And all of us, and so many others, owe him a huge debt of gratitude!
But, for those of us who knew him better, it was his passion for life, his sense of humor, his always upbeat attitude (whatever the situation), his deep interest in and caring for everyone he met, his amazing story telling and his love for his family and his friends, that really made Nick the man he was! So it is the many, many hundreds of us, that he touched personally; his family, his colleagues, his friends and his acquaintances (however briefly he met them) who are the ones who were truly blessed to know him.
Now Nick has left us to a better place, but his legacy will live on-and-on, through all whom he has touched, all whom he has helped (and that his work will continue to help), and most of all, through his beloved family, his colleagues and his friends.
It is really hard to say goodbye. But it was so good, and we were all so lucky, to have known him!
Thanks and best wishes to all
P.S. – Not surprisingly, there has already been an outpouring of support and cherished stories from those of you who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Nick. Please forgive me if I don’t respond and know that it means so much to read these recollections!
P.P.S. - A service is scheduled for October 24th in Camberley, UK, near Nick’s family home. If you are local and would like to attend, details will be updated on this page.
Martin J Fisher
USA, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi,
Mozambique, DRC, Zimbabwe, Ghana,
Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia,
South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda
1385 Mission St, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94103
Cell USA +1-415-910-5208
Cell Kenya +254-(0)724-250-427