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Human-Centered Design: From California to Côte d'Ivoire

Posted by Kate Hyder  |  Sep 13, 2017 6:00:00 AM

What do young leaders in agriculture really want?

Last year, we asked young leaders in rural Ghana what it takes to be an effective agricultural business leader in their communities. Our next step was to translate what we learned into prototypes designed to strengthen the agricultural leaders of today and tomorrow.

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Topics: West Africa, Strengthening Businesses, Future of Farming

One Entrepreneur’s Mission to End His Country’s “Silent Hunger”

Posted by Will McAneny  |  Aug 30, 2017 5:59:22 PM

Maize producer, northern Ghana
Maize producer, northern Ghana.

“How can I make healthy food easily available to my country’s poorest people?”

In 2004, a desire to answer this question inspired Ghanaian entrepreneur Samuel “Kwame” Ntim to leave his comfortable job behind and risk everything to start his own social enterprise. Thirteen years later, that risk is paying off—and it’s Ghanaian farmers who are reaping the rewards.

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Topics: Feeding a Hungry Planet, West Africa, Stories of Impact

Reclaiming Home-Grown Grains in Senegal

Posted by Will McAneny  |  Aug 15, 2017 9:30:35 AM

La Vivriére and Root Capital staff

After years of watching working mothers switch from feeding their children Senegalese grains to imported rice, Bineta Coulibaly decided to take action.

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Topics: Feeding a Hungry Planet, Unlocking Opportunities for Women, West Africa, Stories of Impact

Launching Youth Leadership Development Advisory Services in Rural Ghana

Posted by Kate Hyder  |  Apr 20, 2017 2:33:16 PM

A focus group of youth leaders in agriculture in Tamale, Ghana.

Other than the fact that dresses and headscarves made of brightly patterned kente cloth dotted the room, the scene could have been from a young professionals’ networking event in San Francisco or Boston: 11 millennials, gathered into small focus groups in a hotel conference room, discussing what leadership meant to them.

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Topics: West Africa, Strengthening Businesses

What do Silicon Valley and Africa’s Sahel Have In Common?

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Jul 28, 2016 6:00:00 AM

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Overlooking a village in southeastern Senegal. 

 

What do Silicon Valley and Africa’s Sahel have in common?

At first blush, not too much. One is apps, algorithms, and acquisitions, and the other? Well, you might be thinking more of a woman in a field, tilling soil with a hand hoe, a vast horizon behind her.

Over the last month, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to both places – first to eastern Senegal to meet with Root Capital clients (agricultural businesses organizing hundreds of cashew growers and millet farmers across the remote region), and later to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, convened by President Obama. And I can tell you one thing: the very same entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that fuels Silicon Valley is alive and well on the last mile of dirt roads in the Sahel.

The problem is, the world hasn’t supported agricultural entrepreneurs in the same way that Silicon Valley supports tech entrepreneurs. But what if it did?

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Topics: West Africa, Progressive Partnerships, Stories of Impact

"We Cannot Succeed When Half of Us Are Held Back"

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Mar 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM

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With ANS Milling General Manager Kate Achaa, fourth from right, during a recent trip to Ghana with Root Capital colleagues and friends from PFS

“I raise up my voice,” she said, speaking matter-of-factly into the microphone during her first speech at the United Nations back in 2013, “not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard... We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

She, of course, is Malala. A 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, to be exact.

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Topics: Feeding a Hungry Planet, Unlocking Opportunities for Women, West Africa, Stories of Impact