KickStart could base our claims of success on the number of pumps we have sold alone, but that says nothing about whether or not we are meeting our mission—lifting people out of poverty. To truly understand and report our impacts, we have to measure how much more money farmers are earning with our pumps, as well as the direct improvements in their lives, including food security, improved nutrition, healthcare, and children’s education.
Collecting this information is challenging and time-consuming, but priceless. Many of our farmers live far off the grid and miles from the nearest paved road. Often, there are no addresses in rural Africa and only by locating the closest church or school can we pinpoint farmers’ homes. Luckily, our impact monitoring team is comprised of persistent detectives who are able to find the farmers.
Once we track down a farmer, our enumerators ask a series of questions about what and how much they grow, how much land they cultivate, household income, their children’s education, and diet to get a snapshot of their lives before any real tangible impacts. This is often referred to as the zero-age or baseline survey.
The same farmers are then visited 18-24 months later after measurable changes have occurred, and then again after three to four years. By this stage, a family should have optimized the use of the pump to suit their unique circumstances and the data collected paints a picture of how a family’s social and economic status has permanently changed.