Hands-on Teaching

Aquaponics | Ecosystem | Dissemination



At Maa-Bara our goal is to equip people with the training, technology and the support network to sustainably improve their future. Through immersing trainees and students in the aquaponics design, installation and operation, we foster problem-solving skills, which improve livelihoods. We work with community partners in the US and internationally to achieve this.  Key projects inlcude:


1. Lenya Project Deployment

Intent: Test system viability as a catalyst to improve livelihoods in rural African fishing communities. Maa-Bara deployed a 2,000-litre aquaponics system on the premises of partner, Lenya School in Kenya.


School’s Challenge: 

  • Acute hunger and malnutrition.
  • Total students (K-8th grade): 589
  • Students eating only 1 meal a day: 397
  • Students orphaned by HIV-AIDS: 198

Economic Challenge: 

  • Need local fisheries jobs,  food security and improved school retention.
  • Depleted fish stocks in Lake Victoria.
  • Fish prices are too high for local purchase.
  • Dilapidated roads limit food accessibility.

 Social Challenge:

  • Students drop out of school and start fishing to earn income for poor or deceased parents.

Maa-Bara’s Pledge:

  • Empower students to grow their own food.
  • Aid student retention by adding lucrative skills to their educational experience.
  • Show an alternative to fishing for food + jobs.
  • Provide a practical profit-making application for math and science knowledge.
  • Foster collective ownership and shared pride. 
  • Increase local fish production.
  • No need for transportation and refrigeration costs.
  • No negative environmental impact.


2. Lenya Project Redesign

Intent: The teachers, students and community partners demonstrated their understanding of aquaponics and desire for project success by improving upon the system design based on ongoing knowledge aquisition.


Project Challenge: 

  • Improve security and provide solar shade.
  • Upgrade the quality of fish tanks used.

Local Solution: 

  • Salvaging materials for a fence, while volunteers conducted the fence and roof assembly.
  • High durability tanks from a new vendor were purchased with funds raised locally.
  • New tanks were intergrated with the existing piping system and vegetable growbed based on local designs.