Edward Mukiibi

Ashoka Fellow
Kampala, Uganda
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Edward Mukiibi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Edward is addressing the problems of high youth unemployment and a stagnating agricultural sector by reversing the negative perception that young people have of employment within the agricultural value chain. By incorporating an experiential method of teaching agriculture and income-generating gardens within schools, he exposes young people to the range of economic and career opportunities that the agricultural sector presents. Edward envisions a generation of young people with a renewed and positive attitude toward agriculture and as a result, a more productive and dynamic sector that is infused with the passion, professionalism, and energy of educated young people.

With unrealized wealth locked away in agriculture on the one hand, and high levels of youth unemployment and ensuing poverty on the other hand, Africa, and in particular Uganda, seems to be a paradox. Little has been done to close this gap but for the first time in Uganda, a concerted and highly targeted approach to resolve this paradox can be seen in Edward’s work. His idea is based on the understanding that the stigma surrounding agricultural employment begins at a young age and is reinforced by a lack of practical engagement in the agricultural value chain and the use of agricultural chores as punishment in schools. Edward is working to recast agricultural employment as a dignified and profitable option, by partnering with primary and secondary schools to engage students in income-generating agricultural production and by providing opportunities for interaction with successful players at different stages of the value chain. In this manner, he demonstrates to students and teachers that if done well, agriculture can be an interesting and financially rewarding profession.

Edward’s unique insight, and the potential role that schools have in recasting this negative perception, has led to a program that demonstrates and encourages careers in agriculture; thereby unlocking the employment opportunities available in rural areas and injecting new, young energy into a stagnating sector.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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