How We Work

Bringing the soil back to health in a natural, low-cost way, accessible to everyone – from trained agronomists to subsistence farmers

Our multi-tiered approach

We provide initial training to groups of trainers in sustainable agricultural practices, based on microbial science and the best-practice findings of agricultural research bodies working in the region. We work with established organisations in each country interested in rolling out this sustainable change through their projects.

The trainers learn how to make four main inputs for soil enhancement: organic compost that is ready in 18 days using the Berkeley method of hot composting, serums of lactobacillus, fish hydrolysate and cow dung. The products are made from low-cost, readily available materials, such as grasses, animal dung, milk, rice and fish.

The training covers the whole project life-cycle, including project management, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Our aim is to equip the trainers to successfully embed the techniques in the farming communities they support. Our trainees go on to train groups of farmers, typically setting up demonstration plots within the communities for evidence of impact. They provide ongoing support so the farmers can go on to train others.

Key benefits

  • The soil is continuously brought back to optimum health
  • The compost and microbial ‘serums’ are created locally at negligible cost
  • Crop yield is significantly increased in quantity and quality
  • Training and future production costs are kept low
  • A business model is generated that strengthens, empowers and develops communities
African farmers working in a field
African farmers being trained in farming techniques

Embed and scale up

The trainers that we train provide on-going support to farmers, co-ops and communities. They give tailored advice and information to embed and sustain new agricultural practices. Many of the farmers trained are supported to travel and train other people in nearby communities.

Monitoring and evaluation  

The trainers also train farmers to test the techniques against their normal approach, and to record their methods, gather data and measure impact. Farmers are encouraged to experiment, refine their methods and increase crop yields and soil health over time.  

Our cascade model

Our cascade training approach – to train trainers to train farmers, who go on to train other farmers – means that the learning can travel widely at low cost. Our estimate is that our training typically costs $1 per farmer trained – and doubles farmers’ yield and income.

We aim to work with programmes that support farming communities, or farmers’ unions with a large number of members. This way our training reaches as many communities as possible.


Clementine Murakatete training a group of farmers

Expectations after one season

Increased crop yield

Based on the results from our projects, farmers can expect a 50% to 150% increase in crop yield, and healthier, nutrient-dense plants.

Animal health

Farmers can expect significant improvement in animal health, reduction in mortality as well as reduced veterinary costs.

Strengthen community

The community will see improvements through greater opportunities for commerce, employment and income generation, and better health.

Increased income

With a minimum 50 per cent increase in seed germination, significant reduction in the cost of soil enhancement and higher quality produce commanding better market prices, farmers will see their incomes significantly improve.

Empowered communities

The Lifeworks microbial approach brings together the best in environmental sustainability and humanitarian vision to meet the current challenges responsibly and effectively.

Our solution directly improves soil health while providing a business model that addresses a community’s basic needs, develops long-standing relationships of support, as well as building prosperity and partnerships.

Communities are being empowered to build sustainable futures, based on their own strength and resilience.