Two Kenyan projects – Soma and Linda – among 15 winners of 2019 Resolution Social Venture Challenge




Fifteen projects developed by emerging African social entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the 2019 Resolution Social Venture Challenge, among them being two projects from Kenya – Soma and Linda. A total of 31 teams of Mastercard Foundation Scholars competed in the Resolution Social Venture Challenge for a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities.

A collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Resolution Project, the Resolution Social Venture Challenge provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters.

(TOP: The winners of the 2019 Social Venture Challenge pose for a group photo).

“These young leaders demonstrate the courage and creativity it takes to drive social change. Yet few have access to the support and resources they need to ensure their project or social venture is successful,” explains Ashley Collier, Senior Program Manager, Youth Engagement at the Mastercard Foundation. “By winning the Social Venture Challenge, these young leaders have earned the resources, network, mentorship, and capital they need to bring their ideas to life.”

“For four years, we have been grateful to work with the Mastercard Foundation on seeding the continent with social entrepreneurs and providing them with access to resources and wrap-around support so they can become leaders and job creators today.” said George M. Tsiatis, CEO and co-founder of the Resolution Project. “In the over 100 Mastercard Foundation Scholars who have become Resolution Fellows, we see the continent’s youth rising up to meet the challenges they have inherited. We know they will be major contributors to the Foundation’s Young Africa Works initiative, transforming their home communities, the continent, and the world.”

The winning projects address a wide range of challenges Scholars have observed first-hand in their communities, including financial literacy among rural women, access to nutritious foods in orphanages, and safe and affordable biomedical devices to reduce the impact of preventable diseases.

2019 Social Venture Challenge Winners

The 2019 cohort of Social Venture Challenge winners include projects based in Rwanda, Kenya, Gambia, Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Malawi, Senegal, and Lebanon.

CAMEROON – Bottle Furniture project by Msouobu Guewou Shester Landry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The project aims to alleviate plastic bottle pollution in Douala, Cameroon by upcycling bottles to produce furniture for the community. Up to 80% of bottles will be removed from the streets and drains of Douala through the venture’s collection system. This project will produce tables, chairs, and cupboards for underprivileged homes, schools, and offices.

GAMBIA – HERFuture project by Haddijatou Touray; Isatou Jallow; and Sally Dibba from Ashesi University. HERFuture aims to provide leadership opportunities to underprivileged girls in Serrekunda, Gambia. The project will offer mentorship, capacity training, and scholarships to girls aged 12-19 years who lack access to formal educational opportunities.

GHANA – Api-Smart by Elikplim Avor and Ransford Aniagyei from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Api-Smart aims to create employment and reduce poverty in Bebuso, Ghana by training young people in bee-keeping and honey production. This project will also provide a market for harvested honey and encourage forestation in the process.

GHANA – Duafe by Ermyntrude Adjei and Matilda Koa from Arizona State University. Duafe aims to close the gender gap in technology by teaching programming skills to young girls in Kumasi, Ghana. The project will run science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workshops, boot camps, and mentoring programs in schools, and provide access to career opportunities.

KENYA – Linda by Grace Nkatha Kiruja; Martine Irakoze; and Prudence Akoth Hainga from University of Edinburgh. Linda seeks to promote sexual-health education and sexual assault awareness in primary and secondary school students in Kenya through a subscription-based text message service. By providing sexual health education to teenage girls via text message, Linda will ensure the sensitive nature of its content will remain private thereby breaking down taboos around the subject.

KENYA – Soma by Mathew Bushuru; Moses Kirathe; and Shinina Muthiora from the University of British Columbia. Soma aims to increase access to free educational tools and resources for high school students in Nairobi, Kenya. Many high school students have access to a computer or a mobile device, but lack an internet connection which can be expensive and unreliable. This project will provide free educational tools and resources to schools using content servers and USB drives, circumventing the need to connect to the internet.

LEBANON – EduPass by Eslam Abo Alhawa; Mahmoud Kanso; and Nour Al-Bidewe from American University of Lebanon. EduPass aims to develop an application that will help students, who had to leave secondary school, to gain the knowledge and practical skills they need to be successful. Through lessons, practices, and quizzes, EduPass will create new pathways for students to fill gaps in their education. The project will also provide in-person and virtual assistance to students to ensure academic success.

MALAWI – MUSHECO Farm by Jireh Mwamukonda and Yamikani Ng’ona from EARTH University. MUSHECO Farm is training unemployed youth and women in Mzuzu, Malawi to cultivate high- quality oyster mushrooms at a low cost. MUSHECO Farm will utilize corn stover biomass, which is abundant and otherwise disposed of following maize harvests in Mzuzu, as fertilizer to ensure that the cultivation is sustainable and accessible to community members. This project will also teach members how to bring the oyster mushrooms to market to better sustain themselves economically.

RWANDA – Healthy_Us by Marie Aimée Nirere and Nadine Iradukunda from Ashesi University. Healthy_Us aims to increase the wellbeing of orphans in Kigali, Rwanda through a nutritional awareness program. The program will create a kitchen garden in a local orphanage to grow fruits and vegetables, especially mushrooms, which are rich in protein and easy to cultivate. The income from the mushroom sales will provide orphaned children with food, toiletries, and school materials.

SENEGAL – Guérté Réwmi Company by Fatou Sambe from American University of Beirut. Guérté Réwmi aims to create jobs in Dakar, Senegal through peanut production. The project will assist farmers in refining raw peanuts to create products such as peanut butter, which will increase employment, raise incomes, and better utilize Senegalese natural resources. Farmers will adhere to environmentally sustainable practices in turning their peanut waste into animal food.

UGANDA – AgriSan by Amanuel Eshete and Edith Naisubi from Ashesi University. AgriSan aims to establish a community market garden for underprivileged rural women in the Pallisa District of Uganda. The women will grow vegetables as a source of income and use the leftover vegetables to fertilize. In addition, the venture will teach the women about savings strategies and other financial management skills to ensure their economic security.

UGANDA – GenFarm Financial Enterprise by Allan Busuulwa and Arnold Katende from EARTH University. GenFarm Financial Enterprise will empower smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda through financial literacy training, access to agricultural technologies, and end-to-end services that optimize crop yields and labour productivity. The project will also develop strategies to improve market access for smallholder farmers’ agricultural products in Northern Uganda.

UGANDA – Pura Vida by Grace Aguti and Peter Onyango from EARTH University. Pura Vida is tackling food insecurity in the Gulu District of Uganda by developing an innovative greenhouse and food drying system. The prefabrication bamboo greenhouse will ensure families can grow food during the dry season, and dry their produce in the wet season-ultimately increasing their food security, health, and household income.

ZIMBABWE – DeepEye Initiative by Esau Mhandu and Ronald Tumuhairwe from Ashesi University. DeepEye Initiative aims to reduce the impact of preventable illnesses in Harare, Zimbabwe. By developing a low-cost, biomedical device that uses sound waves to detect the presence of fluid in the lungs, DeepEye will improve the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity in the diagnosis of pneumonia. The device is a low-cost alternative to chest x-rays, which are prohibitively expensive and unsafe for young children.

ZIMBABWE – JP (Jumping Protein) by Esnath Divasoni from Earth University. JP aims to reduce malnutrition in infants and toddlers in Morandera, Zimbabwe by creating a sustainable protein source through the farming of insects. The project aims to train community members on how to cultivate crickets, mealworms, and black soldier flies for both human consumption and animal feed, using locally available materials. The availability of insects throughout the year will provide a high protein food option for the community.

The Resolution Project is a pathway to action for aspiring young social entrepreneurs. Founded in 2007, Resolution identifies young leaders through Social Venture Challenges and empowers them to make a positive impact today through Resolution Fellowships. Resolution Fellows receive dynamic, hands-on support to implement their ventures and to develop as socially responsible leaders. With over 480 Resolution Fellows in over 75 countries, working in diverse, high-impact fields such as education, healthcare, human rights, water resources, and sustainability, Resolution is building a generation of leaders with a lifelong commitment to social responsibility. To date, Resolution Fellows have impacted over 2.5 million people with their work.

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