Transforming African agriculture

670. Louise Piper (Tunbridge Wells)

Louise Piper, from Tunbridge Wells, left a 20-year career in the city to set up the conservation charity ‘The Haller Foundation’.

Through Haller, Louise has created a centre of piloting and innovation, supporting smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to adopt new agricultural techniques that revitalise their land and revive the local economies, radically reducing communities’ dependence on food aid.

The ‘Haller model’ creates partnerships with communities living below the poverty line, taking them through a five year process where they build new sanitation and water facilities, learn to restore the soil to fertility, improve their environment and generate a regular source of income. Haller runs a training centre and has recently developed an app which demonstrates farming techniques in English, Swahili and – for illiterate users – images and audio. The app is being used by farmers in 45 countries and has over 17,000 unique users.

In a personal letter to Louise, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“‘The Haller Foundation’ is having a transformational effect on communities in Sub-Saharan Africa by revolutionising local farming techniques. Your partnership approach is empowering communities to revitalise their land, revive their local economies, and reduce their dependence on food aid.”

Louise said:

“What a surprise!

Eradicating poverty is about winning many small victories in building resilience and prosperity, and Haller helps people win these victories. I am lucky to have been surrounded over the last decade by people who have given much – ‘ people who have planted trees under whose shade they don’t expect to sit’ but who have willingly offered their expertise and passion in support of the vision. Without our partners, the trustees, our ambassadors, and of course the Dr Rene Haller – who has provided the inspiration Haller wouldn’t exist . I am delighted to accept the Point of Light Award on behalf of you all.”

Alia Malik, Haller CEO, said:

“I joined Haller nine months ago, taking over as CEO from Louise, who filled that role on a volunteer basis for more than a decade. It is no easy job. I am hugely grateful for Louise’s ongoing support – she helps with strategy, team building, and countless other areas critical to helping our new team succeed. Our impact to date is a testament to her amazing contribution. 

I am thrilled that Louise has been recognized today – she has inspired so many to donate time, skills and funding to help Haller transform the livelihoods of the poorest farmers in coastal Kenya.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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