Thursday, November 15, 2018

On October 24 in Kenya, one of our past Mandela Washington Fellows was the overall winner of The Connected Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Awards. Gervase Jeneri Wakoli had the SME with the largest social impact that aligned with the ministry of ICT. His Company Engho Kuku Farmer won both the agricultural category and the overall prize.

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) provides members with invaluable opportunities to connect with other leaders in their community and learn from experts in their field. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders started in 2014 and is the flagship YALI program that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

This past summer, for the third year, Iowa JPEC welcomed 25 Mandela Washington Fellows from Sub-Saharan African countries to the University of Iowa to partake in the 2018 program.

The ICT Awards are meant to highlight innovation that meets Kenya’s goal to build a middle income economy by 2030. In order to be eligible, a company must be registered in Kenya, provide a product or service that is complete and has been in use for at least 6 months, provide a product or service that is intended for Kenyan citizens and addresses at least one of the Vision 2030 social economic pillars.

Engoho partners with Kenyan prisons to give those with criminal records a chance to rebuild their lives and have an alternative consistent income through farming. Gervase’s cloud based platform, Engoho Kuku Farmer, is meant to increase efficiency in the agribusiness supply chain by connecting stakeholders so they can plan, keep records, sell, buy, acquire loans and access skilled workers.

Since returning to Kenya after the fellowship this summer, Gervase has been redesigning his business using the knowledge he acquired during his time in Iowa and through the Iowa JPEC student business consulting course. With this redesign, he has seen significant changes in his ability to communicate and meet customers’ wants and needs.

Gervase has 5 years of experience in industrial researchat a public institution. His career has motivated him to pursue his dream of eliminating poverty, idleness and unemployment in his community through entrepreneurship. He holds a M.S.C. in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from the University of Nairobi.