August 11, 2019
Four Ashesi student and alumni teams were named among the fifteen winning teams for the Mastercard Foundation’s 2019 Resolution Social Venture Challenge. The competition provides a path from idea to impact for socially responsible young leaders who want to solve problems. Each winning team will receive seed funding to implement their projects and membership to the Resolution Fellowship, which provides mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers.
The fellows, all Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Ashesi, are Edith Violet Naisubi ‘20 and Amanuel Eshete ’20, representing Agri-San; Ronald Tumuhairwe ’19 and Esau Mhandu ’19, representing DeepEye Initiative; Isatou Jallow ’19, Haddiatou Toure ’19 and Sally Dibba ’19, representing HERfuture; and Nadine Iradukunda ’21 and Marie Aimee Nirere ’22, representing Healthy Us. The projects reflect ideas that students have been developing on campus and will launch in communities that they grew up in and have a deep understanding of.
Ronald and Esau’s DeepEye Initiative builds on prior research to develop a low-cost biomedical device that can safely detect pneumonia in children. By using sound waves to detect the presence of fluid in the lungs, the team hopes to develop an alternative to the more expensive x-ray machine.
HERfuture harnesses the collective experiences of its founders to bring leadership learning opportunities for young girls in Serrekunda, Gambia. The organization will provide mentorship, as well as help girls identify and plan applications for scholarships.
AgriSan focuses on community gardening in the Pallisa District of Uganda, helping women who are sole breadwinners to collectively grow a farming business and develop financial literacy, among other skills.
And also along the lines of community farming, Healthy Us is committed to a vision of helping orphanages increase their agricultural sustainability by growing their own fruits and vegetables for balanced meals. The project’s pilot program will be in Masaka, Rwanda.
“My mother was a breadwinner, and when she passed on the responsibility shifted to my elder sister,” says Edith, co-founder of AgriSan. “It was not easy for her, and she had to engage in a lot of things to help us survive. This is not a story unique to me. So with this family background, I co-founded AgriSan to enable women like my mother, and my sister, gain a sustainable source of income. We also hope to use the opportunity to teach women about family planning, sexual reproductive health, among others. People do not publicly talk about these things where I am from, and by teaching the women we engage with, they can be able to teach their children.”
Mastercard Foundation Scholars from Ashesi have been named among the venture challenge winners since the annual competition started in 2016. 2018 winner Masateru Honest Mwambo ’20 leveraged his grant award to launch the Women for Peace Library, in Mutu, his village in Malawi. An Engineering student at Ashesi, Masateru recognizes the power of a good education and wants to give young people in his community the opportunity to access the same.
“I have been working with high school graduate volunteers to take on the role of librarians. But with enough resources, I shall train them and make them employees. Although I won the Resolution Fellowship, Women for Peace Library’s success belongs to the community. That’s why I like Ashesi’s favorite quote inspired by a German playwright and thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who said, ‘What you can do or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
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