Amsha Africa Foundation
The Amsha Africa Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the living conditions “in African slums and villages.” The organization accomplishes this “by supplying these communities with clean water, food, medical aid, hygiene kits and mosquito nets.” In addition, the program also runs literacy and agricultural education programs while prioritizing housing and sanitation. By reconstructing schools and providing these facilities with resources, the Amsha Africa Foundation prioritizes education as a pathway out of poverty. The organization provides this assistance to several disadvantaged communities in several African countries.

The Founding of Amsha Africa Foundation

In 2008, Tony Abuta began the Amsha Africa Foundation. Now residing in the United States, Abuta grew up in Kenya, which is where he found his passion for helping the people of Africa. In an interview with The Borgen Project, Tony Abuta stated, “I needed to do something about [poverty in Africa], especially after moving to the U.S. and making many return visits to Kenya and other [developing] countries.”

After realizing his privileges in the United States, Abuta knew he needed to help the less fortunate. This led to the start of the Amsha Africa Foundation in early 2008. Abuta worked with his mom and sister to start the groundwork in Kenya, which meant teaming up with community groups, local authorities and other nonprofit organizations. On the organization’s website, Abuta recalled that “In May 2008, Amsha Africa Foundation implemented the Nairobi Slums Project that promoted free medical checkups, tree planting, environmental cleanup, training workshops geared to teach the local community about self-help programs, free testing for STDs, eye and dental problems.”

WASH and Child Protection Programs

The Amsha Africa Foundation has several programs to help those living in poverty. One of these programs is its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. The organization works with community-based groups to provide access to safe water. Currently, the WASH program is building a runoff harvesting system. This would allow a simply constructed water pan to collect rain that falls on roads, bushes or fields. This project includes building water pans to collect water for livestock watering as well as building a plastic-lined underground tank that would provide a space to store water.

Amsha Africa Foundation also works with partner organizations to “stop child abuse and neglect” through its Child Abuse Prevention program. This program provides “free legal services” to African children enduring abuse. The organization also gives “support [to] children who are forced to work for their survival” and partners with local schools to develop “income-generating activities to support children under situations that would lead to neglect and dropouts.” It has supported a minimum of 100 children who have no option but to work in order to survive and has developed child protection teams in rural areas.

Pen Pal Program

The Amsha Africa Foundation also has a “Dear Friend” pen pal program, which allows children from Kenya and the U.S. the opportunity to create relationships. Abuta said that “This project’s aim is to preserve the art of letter writing for our generation’s children, teaching them to communicate well through the written word. At the moment, we have had 275 children participate in this program.”

U.S. children can participate in this program by having an adult email Katie Burke, the special programs director, at [email protected] with the child’s name, age and gender. Burke will then match the child in the U.S. to a child in Kenya.

One of Amsha Africa Foundation’s health care-focused programs is the Eyeglasses Distribution program, which partners with local communities and the nonprofit Eyes on Africa to provide cost-free eyeglasses to those who do not have access to vision care.

Accomplishments and Successes

Amsha Africa Foundation boasts a number of success stories within its many programs. The Child Abuse Prevention program now has a group of 20 lawyers who offer free legal services to children facing abuse and neglect. The lawyers have given cost-free legal services to assist with 42 cases and are currently working on 120 legal cases.

The organization has also implemented aquaponics in rural Kenya as a part of an Eco-Education program. Abuta stated that “We have set up 38 aquaponics systems across Kenya and trained [more than] 235 individuals on sustainable agriculture. These aquaponics systems have provided these communities with a new source of income and sustainable and nutritious food supply.”

When asked about the success of the Amsha Africa Foundation, Abuta cited the success story of the Eyeglasses Distribution program. Abuta said that “Every year, we partner with Eyes on Africa to provide eyeglasses at no cost to Africans through distribution in communities with no access to vision care. At the moment, we have distributed [more than] 23,000 eyeglasses throughout East and Central Africa.”

Through the ongoing efforts of the Amsha Africa Foundation, impoverished Africans can live a better quality of life while becoming empowered with the tools to break cycles of poverty.

– Sierrah Martin
Photo: Flickr

Aquaponics in developing countriesEarth is now home to 7.7 billion people. Of those 7.7 billion people, about 10 percent are currently suffering from chronic undernourishment. With the global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, the need for more efficient and effective agriculture practices and systems is critical. Aquaponics, any system that creates a symbiotic relationship between aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water), has the potential to solve this problem.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is any symbiotic relationship between fish that produce excretions of ammonia, bacteria that convert this ammonia into nitrate, and plants that use this nitrate as fertilizer. Overall, it creates a win-win-win situation for these three organisms, which leads to the maximization of available resources.

History of Aquaponics

Many historians believe that the first aquaponics systems were devised in South China in 5 AD. Farmers would raise ducks, catfish and finfish together in rice paddies. During the Tang Dynasty, records of floating rice rafts on top of fish ponds also began appearing.

Modern aquaponics, on the other hand, emerged in the U.S. Interest in the concept is relatively new, as the majority of the progress made in this field has been achieved within the past 35 years. The first closed-loop system, as well as the first large-scale commercial facility, were both created in the mid-1980s.


Aquaponics provides many benefits to its users. In comparison to traditional conventional agriculture methods, aquaponics uses only one-sixth of the water to grow up to eight times more food per acre. Due to it being a closed system and the use of the fish waste as fertilizer, it also avoids the issue of chemical runoff. Because aquaponics produces both a vegetable and fish crop, communities that implement the system would also have access to better nutrition. Protein-calorie malnutrition is often the most common form of nutrient deficiency in developing countries, so providing stable sources of fish protein to such at-risk communities could potentially be revolutionary.


Although it is undisputed that aquaponics would be a game-changer for food production in developing countries, the high initial start-up cost of modern aquaponics — about $20,000 for a small commercial system — remains a significant barrier. Furthermore, technical training on the subject would need to be provided to locals prior to the implementation of such systems. These aquaponics systems also require a consistent source of electricity in order to maintain constant water circulation. This issue, however, can likely be solved through alternative sources such as solar or hydropower. Therefore, a more simplified design is required for implementation in developing countries — one that could withstand shortages of raw materials and professionals as well as a strong technical support system.

Implementation in Developing Countries

Currently, aquaponics in developing countries has mostly been brought about through nonprofits. For instance, the Amsha Africa Foundation started an aquaponics campaign in sub-Saharan African countries. After launching its first project in rural Kenya in 2007, the organization has since expanded into five more countries and positively impacted thousands. The project targets sustenance farmers who do not have an adequate supply of food and water and are living on eroded or depleted soils.

Another similar organization is Aquaponics Africa, a project created by engineer Ken Konschel. The organization works with farmers to build and design their own backyard or commercial aquaponics system. It also sells informational handbooks detailing the process of maintaining an aquaponics system in Africa for just R300, or about $20.

Aquaponics in recent decades has proven itself to be quite revolutionary to the agriculture industry. It provides many benefits over conventional farming, as it is both more efficient and effective. But, for it to be easier accessible by communities and individuals in developing countries, greater headway will need to be made in terms of simplifying its design in order to adapt it to different environments.

– Linda Yan
Photo: Wikimedia