Erosion has an immense impact on ecosystems and the yields of small-scale farmers and is becoming an increasing problem due to climate change. But how can complex issues such as food shortage, drought, unemployment and flooding be addressed at the root?
The connecting factor is the sustainable management of water. Ecokick is committed to integral impact by using locally and sustainably produced honeycomb mats to retain scarce rainwater in the soil. These mats contain seeds of vegetation whose roots take over the function of the biodegradable mats as they are absorbed into soil life.
‘When there is erosion, we lose land, we lose time, we lose money, and even people.’ – Janet Akol, Ugandan farmer
Erosion is getting worse by long periods of drought and short periods of heavy rainfall. New vegetation has no chance to take root under these conditions. The Ecosystem Kickstarter supplies seeds with nutrients and provides temporary protection from wash-out during large rainstorms. This allows seedlings to get through their most vulnerable phase and root deeply enough to sustain themselves. The new vegetation retains rainwater for a resilient ecosystem and increased food security. This breaks the downward spiral of erosion and restarts the natural process of ecosystem recovery.
In 2018 and 2019, EcoKick has been working on an effective prototype for the Ecosystem Kickstarter. The team in the Netherlands invested in a series of innovation sprints to create a practically applicable and scalable version of the product. This process was supported by a number of pilots in different regions in Uganda. Based on the results of this process, the next steps are toward our goal:
Ecokick focuses on landscape restoration in vulnerable areas, where erosion threatens farmers’ livelihoods. Its main tool is an innovative biodegradable product: the Ecosystem Kickstarter. The Ecosystem Kickstarter is produced in Sub-Saharan Africa in collaboration with local entrepreneurs. Ecokick thus has positive impact in a sustainable way on many levels: from employment and food security to circular use of materials in the local economy and ecosystem restoration.
Ecokick’s medium-term goal is to achieve by 2025:
EcoKick stands for sustainable and social entrepreneurship, with impact in the field. EcoKick’s short-term goal for 2021 is to optimize the production line in Zaandam and conduct a series of large experiments in Uganda and Kenya. This interim phase is crucial to then take steps toward commercialization of the solution. The key question for EcoKick was: how to raise €50,000 to finance this crucial phase? With the help of MissionInvest we managed to raise the full amount as a donation in 2020.
Wim is a great networker who knows how to find the right people who can provide not only the necessary financial resources, but also other necessary expertise. It is important to him that the project achieves impact in the field and he looks for someone who shares the same vision so that donor and recipient can also find each other in terms of content. We engaged Wim to help us develop an important step in our project the Ecosystem Kickstarter (www.ecosystemkickstarter.com). So far a 100% success rate.’ – Teun Vogel, initiator Ecokick.