Sustainable School Enterprise "Macadamiafans Göttingen"

In July 2012, the German incorporated society “Initiative WELT:KLASSE e.V.” successfully encouraged 10 WELT:KLASSE secondary school students from Hainberg-Gymnasium in Göttingen to become founding members of the Sustainable School Enterprise “Macadamiafans Göttingen” (“macadamiafans Gröbenzell” has also been running as a pilot project since 2011). The students worked on a voluntary basis for Initiative WELT:KLASSE e.V. The registered charity makes all of the net profit available to the schools to help pay for exchange visits organized by the WELT:KLASSE Foundation, which in turn ensures the ongoing survival of the WELT:KLASSE initiative.

The students initially developed their own marketing materials (flyers, posters, video clips, letter to sponsors and parents) as part of project days held to mark the International Project Day of UNESCO project schools, and also researched the various sales options. They found out about the legal status of school enterprises, learnt how to set up a proper accounting system and presented the project at the Full Conference. They sold the nuts and the oil in and around the school community, (Full Conference, professional development events, school events, friends and acquaintances and the Korean exchange project), and collaborated with the local organic food store (“Bioladen”) next to the school. The Göttingen students sold about 100 kg of macadamia nuts and 80 containers of macadamia oil in the first half of the year, generating turnover of €2,200 (and a “net profit” of €768); one sponsor increased the net profit by €600. This money will be used to finance the next WELT:KLASSE team.

In November 2012, Anthony Ngondi, the Kenyan coordinator of macadamiafans GmbH, paid a visit to Hainberg-Gymnasium to report on the project from the Kenyan side and answer any questions. As well as the founding members of the school enterprise, eight students from Year 8 from the WPU-UNESCO project were also invited to attend the Q & A session. This was the starting point for students from more than one year group becoming involved in the enterprise.

As well as selling the macadamia products, the following key tasks will be tackled by the students in the second half of the year: fine-tuning the accounting system, setting up an extra bank account to which the students also have access, organizing their work and putting some organizational structures in place, expanding the circle of students to include other year groups, and drawing up a written agreement with the school management (so far only a verbal agreement is in place). 

Centerpiece of the macadamiafans-concept is an innovative value chain: The small-scale farmers earn an adequate amount of money and the customer pays a convenient price. The steps in particular are:

1. Preparation and maintenance of selected small-scale famers in Kenya

The farmers receive certified planting material and modern knowledge for the management of the macadamia trees and the enforcement of ecological farming. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) are two of the many supporters for further education concerning quality assurance. Moreover, they encourage ecological certification for small-scale famers.   

2. Harvesting and processing of the nuts in Kenya

During harvest time, the macadamia nuts are being collected – the nuts fall from the trees as soon as they are ripe. Instead of selling the harvest to middlemen, the “Self-Processing” is now taking place. In local facilities of process, which are located in every farmer community, the small-scale farmers have unlimited access to easy-to-use systems for drying, peeling, and sealing their macadamia nuts. For the processing the famers get a set basic pay, as well as an additional amount of money for the quality of their nuts. Therefore, they receive an even higher position in the value chain. The local facilities of process which are paid off become the property of the farmer communities. The customer can trace every single package back to the small-scale farmer who produced it and has the possibility to contact the farmer.

3. Transport and storage in Germany

From the storages of the facilities of process the packaged nuts are being transported to the port in Mombasa where the transportation continues with a container ship. They get to Rotterdam in 20 days. By then, they have already left 95% of their journey, which is about 12,400 km, behind them. The produced ejection of greenhouse gases is comparatively low: for many kilograms of nuts it conforms to the ejection of producing less than one gram beef. From the port of Hamburg the nuts are directly going to the German reservoir in Essen and then to our School.