Tools That Change Lives

When Martin Fisher arrived in Kenya in the mid-1980s, profit had a dirty name. "There was a Marxist approach to development," Fisher says. "Many development agencies glorified subsistence living and suggested that the cash economy should be avoided as much as possible." To change this attitude, Fisher and his partner Nick Moon, who had both worked for the British charity ActionAid, set up a company in 1991 called ApproTEC (short for the inelegant Appropriate Technologies for Enterprise Creation), dedicated to the proposition that low-tech hardware could transform the lives of Kenya's farmers by making their work profitable. The idea was to...

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