Reimagining Social Ventures During COVID-19

2020 Social Venture Challenge winners share their journey

As this year’s Social Venture Challenge teams prepare to pitch their ventures to a panel of judges, we revisit a few of last year’s teams to see how they are faring and what role reimagining and resilience have played in their entrepreneurship journey. 

A Hand for a Refugee

Refugee Settlement in Uganda

Left to right: Kevin Githuku, Safali Libia and Kataike Viola at the project site in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Uganda.

Tell us about yourself and the name of your team

We are a group of three Mastercard Foundation Scholars (Safali Libia from Democratic Republic of Congo, Kataike Viola, and Kevin Githuku both from Uganda) and we study at the Makerere University, Uganda. Our venture, A Hand for A Refugee, aims at raising refugee welfare and ensuring sustainable support for education among teenagers in Uganda’s Kyangwali Refugee Settlement.

What is the challenge that your venture, A Hand for a Refugee, is addressing and what has been the impact so far?

Kyangwali is a refugee settlement in Uganda hosting about 12,000 people. Most of the residents depend on subsistence farming for food. Inspired by our experiences in the camp, and reduced food support programs, we thought of designing a sustainable solution by modernizing agriculture to support the residents.

In our pilot program, we utilized the skills learnt in school to help farmers grow hybrid passion fruits. We are currently expanding the program to more crops, and we hope to recruit more farmers to the project. Winning the venture in our freshman year, we have inspired Scholars with great ideas to support their communities to express themselves and be part of impact.

How did you feel when you were announced as a winner of the Social Venture Challenge and how has winning impacted your venture?

We felt super excited and very proud of our hard work. It was a blessing and inspiration to fellow Scholars with social entrepreneurship projects. Winning gave us a big push in realizing our dreams. Since we were at the initial stages of the project, we were inspired to take the bull by the horns. So far, we have started a pilot farm and recruited over 50 farmers to the project. We have been inspired by the win and currently, we are among the finalists for the 2021 Anzisha Prize.

How have you had to reimagine your venture since winning last year? How do you see it changing again in the post-Covid year?

Resilience has been our motto during the pandemic. With education transitioning to online platforms, we have had time to implement and run our project. Therefore, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. Post pandemic, we are looking forward to expanding our venture beyond the Kyangwali refugee camp.

What have you learned about leadership as a Social Venture Challenge winner and as an entrepreneur?

We have learnt on the importance of teamwork and mentorship. Also, having a common goal is critical while running an entrepreneurial venture.

What advice do you have for the current SVC finalists?

Our advice is to stay focused on your venture, do more research, be confident and passionate about your project. Utilize every opportunity to learn and make your venture better.

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