Akili Holdings was founded by Haron Wachira in 2010,and subsequently enlarged and segmented into units that work together as a group (hence Akili Group) on specific pursuits of the social entreprise’s vision: Software tools; value addition; training/capacity building; cooperative modelled savings and investments. The company’s major income stream is carbon credits from offsetting activities in communities.
Prior to the establishment of Akili, Haron Wachira , was a consultant with UNDP for 2 years to establish the cause of endemic pooverty in 20 constituencies spread across Kenya, and to develop possible ways out. The project proposed a slate of micro-industries that could potentially create meaningful employment on a large scale in each of these counties.
The business model for the Akili Group was inspired by this study.
Currently, Akili Group’s activities comprise of:
* The development of agricultural crops that proffer significant health benefits such as moringa oleifera, spinach, hibiscus, and lemon grass — stabilized in dried form for use as ingredients in human and animal foods.
* Supporting farmers to grow fruit, nut, and shade trees as a source of income and also as a mechanism to offset carbon from the atmosphere and earn carbon credits.
* Supporting coffee farmers with practical, calendar-linked agronomy training (what to do in month x) for optimal improvement of the coffee crop. Our demonstrated result increased the harvests of a coffee plant from around 2 kg to 20 kg and adoption of practices that result in the cupping score improvement.
* Supporting farmers in the development of precision farming protocols and practices, high-impact inputs such as water retainers, and the use of high-yielding seed varieties for increased yields.
* Promotion of beekeeping as a complementary activity on or near the farms on which Akili-linked farmers are growing trees, coffee, moringa, and other crops. Beekeeping increases the yield of all flowering crops and also generates additional income for beehive owners.
* Promotion of the use of energy-efficient cookstoves, which save firewood and improve the users’ health.
* Supporting farming communities linked to Akili Group’s carbon offsetting/credit value chain to think through, design, and establish financing partnerships to implement community infrastructural improvements, such as access to water, health facilities, and educational institutions.
* Development of high-efficiency software tools for use in monitoring activities in the carbon credit value chain.
Vision, Mission & Core Values
To be a leader in the creation of business models for sustainable holistic economic development in rural households
We co-invest with communities and, in partnership with social investors, donors and government, provide the tools and assistance necessary to implement holistic, environmentally sustainable and profitable value adding programmes in rural communities.
- Integrity: We aim, in our business and engagements, to uphold integrity.
- Holistic Development: We seek to grow the whole person, a whole community, holistically.
- Transparency: We seek to maintain transparency with our partners and stakeholders
- Fairness: We seek to ensure fairness for all members of every value chain programme we engage in
- Value creation and sharing: We are committed to finding, creating and sharing value.
- Creation of jobs for rural folk, including women and youth
At every point of the carbon value chain, Akili is working with various stakeholders to create decent work opportunities – with benefits such as access to affordable credit, and diversity of work opportunities for placement of individuals with various skill sets.
- Improvements for rural clinics in partnership with Banda Health Starting with a small rural clinic in Nyeri town, Akili is working with Banda Health to identify rural clinics beginning by facilitating a linkage to the Banda Go installation and progressively, to upscale these clinics’ ability to deliver services in their areas.Akili is also partnering with AIC Maternal & Newborn Community Health Community Health Project to implement community health education and improvement programmes.
- Improving the capacity of farmer groups on both lending and saving (financial literacy).Through its partnership with Akili Development Sacco, Akili is removing barriers to expand financial access to smallholder farmers and their groups, enabling investment in agriculture, business enterprises and personal development.
- Improving forest cover in the targeted rural areasThrough partnerships with investors, Akili is implementing afforestation projects that will transform forest cover by planting millions of trees.
- Improvements in the agricultural sector through natural aids such as biochar, and biofertilizer. Akili promotes natural, soil enriching products to replenish depleted soils and restore agricultural productivity.
- Creation of academic opportunities for children in rural areas. Through pre-negotiated community benefits, communities will progressively access scholarships, and bursary support to needy students to ensure that education is accessible to the disadvantaged.
- Improvement of quality and quantity production for individual farmers in rural areas. Working with Ambassadors and Field Officers, who are champions of development in Akili communities, we are creating improved access to practical agronomy know-how for the improvement of agricultural production in rural smallholder farming.
The Problems We seek to Solve
- Agricultural production is generally unprofitable – subsidized by ‘diaspora’-based relatives, government and/or NGOs
- Education is valued, highly funded, but almost NEVER applied in small-scale agriculture.
- Common: A general state of poverty, except among traders, brokers and the employed, eg teachers. Result: rapid urban migration to overstretched cities.
- In nearly all rural communities (which account for 80% of Kenya’s population) there is progressive deterioration: of security; of the economy; of the environment; of the quality of life.
A dairy cow, for example is maintained at over Shs 300 ($3) but only produces 3 litres of milk, which fetch a maximum of Shs 100 ($1). Pastoralists keep a cow for five years, at a cost of around Shs 30,000 ($300) only to sell it for Shs 15,000 ($150) or lose it during drought.
Entire Value Chain Approach
Achieving Long-Term Change
Improved Quality of Life
Akili Development Sacco
Akili Development Organization
Through ADO we also provide consultancy services in the development of last mile; carbon offset services. We also consult with organizations supporting value chain development programmes in rural areas.
Applied Institute of Agriculture & Technology, the groups facilitator of training and capacity building to staff, enlisted community groups and consultants working with and for the Group.