Hult Prize Winning Spree: Two teams, One vision, One dream
The winning spree continues as Stratizens find ways to make an impact on their community. They are not doing it alone but in partnership with family, friends, and alumni. Kivu Sokoni and Green Eco Organics know just how we can improve our livelihood by learning new skills, sharing those skills with others, and above all making the livelihood of future generations become better by offering permanent solutions to some of the challenges we experience as a continent.
For their efforts in creating jobs, stimulating economies, reimagining supply chains, and improving outcomes for 10,000,000 people by 2030, Kivu Sokoni won the Hult Prize regional impact summit hosted virtually by Strathmore while Green Eco Organics won the Hult Regionals Impact Summit held in Dubai. Both teams are headed to London for the international finale that will be held in July this year, with the ultimate winners being announced in September 2021.
The Hult Prize is an annual, year-long competition that crowd-sources ideas from university level students after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education. This year’s theme is food for good: transforming food into a vehicle of change.
This is not an ordinary market, it is a community market: That is the tagline of Kivu Sokoni. The initiative that was birthed online in August 2020 by Strathmore’s Ghislain Mastaki – (Double Major – Bachelor of Commerce and Financial Services – Class of 2020), Dastin Kakira, Strathmore alumnus (Masters of Science in Telecommunications and Information System Security), and David Ikundji, a Masters student at DePaul University in Chicago. The trio reign from Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They believe they can move DR Congo from being an importer of fresh produce to a self-sufficient nation. Mastaki and Dastin met briefly @iLabAfrica and kept in touch after Dastin left the university. Dastin, a friend to David for many years, connected Mastaki and David who have since only met online.
Firstly, they have a regular weekly meeting on Mondays. In this meeting, they go through their previous goals and then assign each member weekly goals. Secondly, each team player uses their area of strength to facilitate the growth of their company. For example, David has a background in data science so he collects and interprets data for the team so they can plan accordingly. Dastin is the company CEO who oversees the operations and customer relations while Mastaki handles the money matters. The team believes that women bring different values to their company; they therefore represent 80% of their workforce. Over and above that the team has focused on the production of fruits and vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, mangoes, and pineapples. By not importing the produce from Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, they can offer a sustainable solution to societal needs.
Green Eco Organic- A childhood experience that becomes a venture
It is said that cousins are siblings who live apart. Samuel and Emmanuel, are not only relatives but attended the same high school, that is, Sacred heart boys in Rongai, Nakuru. Today, they both cannot get their hands dirty enough. Growing up they enjoyed playing in the farm fields as they ate wild berries and chewed on carrots right from the ground. Though their parents had farm hands, they were encouraged to tag along and assist as needed. Samuel Macharia is a third year Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) at Strathmore University while Emmanuel Kamau is an IT graduate of KCA University.
For Samuel losing a close relative to cancer had him reconsider how what he eats is grown. He believes that organic foods are superior because they grow naturally in an ecosystem that thrives through the give and takes of each organism, be it the produced waste that decomposes and becomes manure or the red worm that aerates the soil. For Emmanuel, the passion never left him even after he pursued his studies in other fields. The duo is now showing domestic farmers how to utilize red worms and black soldier flies to eat up waste and convert it into organic manure. These come with benefits such as protein, liquid organic fertilizer, sustainable omega 3 oil from the larvae, and beneficial microbes for the soil. .
We wish them all the best as they wait to challenge others from around the world. Kivu Sokoni and Green Eco Organics you are rising and shining.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
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