Kenyan Guest Speaker Inspires Sustainable Innovation

Kenyan Guest Speaker Inspires Sustainable Innovation

Article written by Junda Xin ’24, a senior who interned with the SCH MarComms team for the month of May for his senior project. 

On May 7, SCH hosted Josphat Macharia, a pioneering agricultural innovator from Kenya. His visit was made possible by two Springside School alumni who support Ndabibi Environmental Conservation Centre (NECC), an environmental center in Kenya and have made a connection with SCH teachers Lisa Queeno and Julie Knutson.

Macharia left a profound impact on the Womxn in STEM Club, the Middle School Eco Club, and the Upper School Eco Club, as he shared his journey of transforming his rural village through sustainable agriculture. He hails from a remote Kenyan village, where only five families reside, isolated by thousands of miles. Despite these challenges, he founded a non-profit organization in 2003 dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture and ecological balance. In 2005, Macharia established a center that has since become a beacon of innovation and sustainability, attracting learners and interns eager to replicate his successful methods. 

One of the most inspiring stories Macharia shared was how he introduced solar energy to his village. With no electrical grid in place, he installed the first two solar panels, revolutionizing how his community accessed power. Additionally, he created a self-sustaining ecosystem, using biogas technology to convert animal waste into renewable energy. This closed-loop system ensures that nothing goes to waste, with animal waste used as fertilizers for grass, which is then used to feed the animals. Macharia emphasized that this simple biogas technology is accessible to everyone and can significantly improve sustainability. Similarly, he raises catfish, whose waste enriches the water, creating a nutrient-rich solution for irrigating crops. This cycle not only conserves resources but also enhances the farm's productivity, showcasing a brilliant example of sustainable practice and innovative integration of aquaculture with agriculture.

Macharia also shared how his farm's produce, including various fruits and vegetables, is sold to affluent communities and hotels. This not only generates income but also supports the local economy. His vision is to create a "greenbelt" of sustainable farms that can collectively combat large land-seeking corporations. He estimates that his farm can sustain at least 500 people with nutritious food, demonstrating the powerful impact of sustainable agriculture.

During his visit, Macharia encouraged students to embrace sustainable practices and innovative thinking. His story highlighted the importance of resilience, creativity, and community involvement in solving global challenges. By sharing vivid descriptions of life in Kenya and showcasing photos of students in uniform, planting trees, and using hand-washing stations, Macharia brought his experiences to life, inspiring our students. Macharia’s visit was a powerful reminder of how one person can effect change in their community and the world. His story of sustainable innovation and community empowerment serves as a call to action for our students to think creatively and act sustainably. 

“I would love for entrepreneurs to take this model and work toward retrofitting existing practices to become more sustainable,” said Science Department chair Scott Stein. “Macharia’s visit speaks directly to the SCH mission and provides a wonderful example of the power to effect positive change.”

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