I founded a nonprofit called CareMeKuc in the beginning of college that partners with local stakeholders to rehabilitate child soldiers in northern Uganda. As part of that, I worked with chemistry professor Janis Lochner to address local dietary health problems such as kwashiorkor.
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
Beautiful, challenging, creative
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
It’s in a beautiful area, and it’s well connected with a variety of abroad programs.
You were very involved with the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership during your time at Lewis & Clark and have worked on a business proposal with fellow student Joey Benyair BA ’19. Tell me about your business: what you’ve accomplished and where you see it going.
My good friend, Joey Benyair and I started Organic Route out of a dream to make a saleable, socially-conscious venture. I founded a nonprofit called CareMeKuc in the beginning of college that partners with local stakeholders to rehabilitate child soldiers in northern Uganda. We designed and implemented a successful six-month-long agricultural program that retaught skills these children should have learned from their parents, had they not been killed. We modeled our curriculum and approach to fit models that the most successful NGOs have been using in the region for decades. In addition, I worked with Janis Lochner, the LC nutrition professor, to address local dietary health problems such as kwashiorkor. Scaling our work to a larger and more consistent format became very difficult with the donation-based model on which KareMeKuc was started.
With the help of many mentors, Joey and I founded Organic Route as a company that exports food commodities out of central Africa to make a social impact on a two-fold basis. On one level, we provide consistent global market opportunities for farmers that have previously financially suffered from excessive surplus in their local markets. In addition, the margins that make this venture a viable concept are used to fund and scale the programs I developed through KareMeKuc, as well as the programs our other partners have developed.
Joey and I are excited about the promising future of Organic Route. We currently have a fully functioning ground team in Uganda and we have entered into a partnership with one of the largest farming cooperative and processing centers in Uganda. We expect to enter international markets with gluten-free flours and dried fruit by the end of September 2018. I will be moving full-time to Uganda at the end of August 2018 to build our local teams and keep close track of our supply logistics.
What three words would you use to describe the Bates Center?
Extremely helpful, game-changer, hardworkers
What was your favorite Bates Center class or program? How did it expanded your knowledge?
Winterim was an unbelievable opportunity. It lead directly to a few of my mentors that have become huge supports for me. In addition, the knowledge I gleaned was instrumental in my currently success and opportunity analysis.
How do you feel that entrepreneurship and leadership integrate into and enhance a liberal arts education?
To me, my work with KareMeKuc and Organic Route has been the epitome of using my liberal arts education. When Joey and I sit down every day for our meeting, all we do is problem solve. We are always faced with some type of issue, be it logistical, technical, or even mathematical. In order to overcome these challenges, we have had to draw on a high level of creativity and networking to learn what we can from teachers across many disciplines and business sectors. I think the Bates Center and entrepreneurship generally are great examples of tying together and using knowledge from many different places.