Shalin 2015

SkillsFAST: How does sustainable development look in practice?

SkillsFAST: How does sustainable development look in practice?
12 Mar 2015

In 2013 and 2014, Shalin developed a concept of Eco Adventures together with HAMK University of Applied Sciences, which culminated in the construction of 16 chalet eco-lodge for the Cherangani indigenous community in Kenya (Cherangani Hills). The lodge is powered using renewable wind and solar energy.

In 2015, the concept moves a notch higher. This time around, a group of students from HAMK/FUAS will be headed for Tanzania to engage with a transformative exercise of designing how a 64 ha farm near Dar Es Salaam can be developed into a model of sustainability. From March 22 to April 4, 2015 the students will produce a functional model for using self-generated solar and biogas energy in production and marketing. Working closely with GOIG, a Shalin Finland partner, the group will collaboratively design and develop the energy solutions, and plan how the farm will be a center of excellence in sustainable agriculture and skills development. This trip is a follow-up on the previous visit in December 2014, when an existing biogas unit was upgraded and repaired reintroducing free energy for cooking at the Vikuruti farm.

During the two-week field trip the team will follow the activities and everyday life at Vikuruti. In collaboration with the local community, they will also introduce ways of generating energy directly from biogas and solar power as well as explore business models on innovative packaging of renewable energy systems such as the “portable biogas bag”.

The Tanzania team in a nutshell – ready for action

Pirkka Herpiö is a practical and problem based doer, who prefers a hands-on approach to everything he does. He studies sustainable development in HAMK University of Applied Sciences and strives to become an environmental planner within a year. Pirkka has ten years of experience in working full time as a surveyor in piping as well as environmental and sanitary based problems in infrastructure, chemical industry and nuclear power. Pirkka lives on a farm with his family, where he also works part time as a farmer and handyman. His passions include the environment, doing sports and photography.


IMG_3737Oona Pylkkänen is a 3rd year student in footwear design at HAMK University of Applied Sciences. She speaks fluent Finnish, English, Swedish, French and Spanish. Oona has 15 years of experience as a hair styling entrepreneur and she also designs bags and jewellery for her brand Mioona. Oona is really looking forward to the trip in Tanzania, because it is a great opportunity to get to know the culture and deepen her knowledge in development studies.


IMG_20150207_103042Antti-Jussi Holkko aka A-J is a 27-year-old third year biotechnology and food engineering student in HAMK University of Applied Sciences. His special area of expertise is in bioenergy and development, but he has also acquired know-how on sociology and anthropology. Being conscientious, determined, organised and exact A-J is a soldier at heart. He describes himself as Yanez DeGomera – an adventurer created by the Italian writer Emilio Salgari. A-J enjoys meeting new people and learning new things, but also appreciates  alone time among exercise and botany. A-J’s challenge in life lies in taking care of his old father and mentally challenged brother.




Marika Tourunen is a social service student with a positive outlook on life. She is always up for new challenges and won’t pass up a chance to learn something new.




Katja Ikonen is a second year Business Economics student in HAMK University of Applied Sciences, and she comes from Valkeakoski, Finland. In the future, Katja is hoping to build a career around sociology, development work and nature, which are all close to her heart.



AstAsta Kiema‘s love for Mother Nature begun at a young age, when her family bought a summer house in the countryside. Later on, that love guided her to study forest and environmental economics in the University of Helsinki. Having received her MSc degree, she decided it was time for a change of scenery. As a consequence, she will spend the next six months in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania working as an intern and project coordinator for Shalin’s SkillsFAST project. During her stay, Asta is determined to learn Swahili and get hands-on experience on making biogas from cow dung.

Stay tuned for Asta’s blog on latest developments and everyday life at Vikuruti farm.



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