Martin Fisher arrived in Africa in 1985 after finishing his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Stanford.
Yes – he could have stayed in the ivory tower and become a professor like his father and two brothers. He could have used his extensive education to start a career with an oil company or government research lab. But what Martin Fisher wanted to do was to help others help themselves.
He set off for Kenya on a Fulbright scholarship where he met Nick Moon…the man who would become his co-founder at Kick-Start.
The two teamed up together on projects with “Action-Aid” to build homes and help the poor. But as is so often the case with innovators who want to be more than successful…leaders who want to be significant…Martin Fisher and Nick Moon decided they could do so much more. That is why Kick-Start got its start.
This non-profit organization with offices in the U.S., Kenya, Tanzania and Mali designed and developed the technology that has raised so many of the poor in Africa from the depth of poverty and brought hope and livelihood. The tools they made available have helped thousands start their own business…run their own farm…support their own family.
Early on, Kick-Start realized that donating or giving away products won’t solve the problem of poverty. What is needed is something sustainable that enables people to kick-start their lives so that they can earn a livelihood.
As of just a few months ago…the organization had sold 70 thousand pumps to subsistence farmers, United Nations’ agencies, and non-profit groups in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mali. That comes to about $45 million in profits and wages generated by new “kick-started” businesses. But it doesn’t stop there. Dr. Fisher and kick start plan to expand into three more countries and sell 125 thousand more pumps. Kick-Start is working on a deep lift irrigation pump that can pull water from 60 feet underground. Pulling that water would also pull another 400 thousand poor people out of poverty, ½ of 1% of Kenya’s GDP and ¼ of 1% of Tanzania’s GDP.
As an African who has seen first hand the reality of poverty and one who knows first hand the suffering that has permeated the 650 million people who call Africa home, I am moved and indeed grateful for the vision and the wisdom of Dr. Fisher.
Ladies and gentlemen…I’m pleased to introduce to you tonight the man who co-founded this amazing organization …the organization that is delivering the greatest good…to the largest number…in the shortest time…at the least cost. Ladies and gentlemen…Dr. Martin fisher.
"The very essence of our role as faculty is for us to be good teachers. "
- Dr. Benjamin Akande
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