what: since 1991, ApproTEC - a Nairobi-based, not-for-profit company - has promoted sustainable economic growth and employment creation in East Africa by developing and promoting technologies that can be used by dynamic entrepreneurs to establish and run profitable small scale enterprises.
All the new technologies are designed to be profitable to use, affordable to buy (well under $1,000), easy to operate with minimum training, durable and easy to maintain, and because electricity and fuel are generally expensive and labour is cheap, most are manually operated. They are also designed so that with the right tooling they can be locally mass-produced in Africa. The technologies developed by ApproTEC to date include: micro-irrigation, cooking oil, building and sanitation technologies.
appropriate technologies: MoneyMakerPlus is a manual irrigation pump. It is 2 1/2 feet long, 1 foot wide, and weighs 25 pounds, and when the farmer shifts her/his weight back and forth, water courses up from a hand-dug well. The pump pressurises the water, sending it spraying through a crude sprinkler over rows of vegetables. It can irrigate 1 1/2 acres a day. After investing $38 (a month's wage) to buy the tool, John Wangai is now earning $5 to $12 a week on his farm, which has allowed him to think about buying his rented land, a few chickens and eventually sending his children to college.
Kennedy Ngatia sold his cow to pay for the MoneyMakerPlus and his life completely changed. From spending his entire day drawing buckets of water from the river, he now spends only 5 hours a day watering his land. As a result, he has expanded his acreage under cultivation sevenfold, hired 10 employees, bought an old car and four cows.
Sodisisa is a simple method to get safe drinking water. Transparent plastic bottles are filled with water and set out on a black surface for 5 hours. During this time 99% of all pathogens are killed. Biogas latrine collects human, animal and agricultural wastes in a tank where they sit for 30 days. The process produces fertiliser and gives off methane gas, which is used for cooking and lighting.
The Hippo Water Roller is a large polyethylene drum with a screw-on lid and a steel clip-on handle which carries 24 gallons of water. Once filled, the drum is turned on its side and pushed like a steamroller, avoiding injuries caused by balancing heavy water containers on the head.
appropriate companies: presently ApproTEC has over 85 employees in East Africa including market researchers, engineers, trainers, promoters and administrative staff. The company has a head office and a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya and a project office in Western Kenya. Other offices are in Arusha and Mwanza, Tanzania.
In late 2001, ApproTEC registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organisation in the United States and established a new fundraising and collaboration office in San Francisco, California. ApproTEC has started 35,000 new businesses, 800 per month, and generated $35million a year in new profits and wages. New incomes account for over 0.5% of Kenya's GDP and 0.2% of Tanzania’s GDP.