Barefoot MBA goes to Africa

Two groups in Africa have invited us there to implement the Barefoot MBA. Katherine has been working remotely with them to adapt our materials and will travel to Kenya and Rwanda to visit markets and gardens, meet teachers and students, and run workshops.

Kenya: Maker Faire Africa

Maker Faire Africa describes itself as “a celebration of ingenuity, innovation and invention.” Its event last year drew more than 900 to Accra, Ghana, for workshops, seminars, lectures and other showcases of innovation meant to spur collaboration across the continent. The Africa News video brings last year’s event to life. Feedback from Maker Faire 2009 was positive but included a cry for basic business education — exactly what the Barefoot MBA aims to teach.

Katherine is working with Joy, who has helped organize the event, to adapt the Barefoot MBA for the makers expected to attend the Maker Faire business basics workshop, which she and Joy will run on August 27 and 28 in Nairobi.

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Rwanda: Gardens for Health

Gardens for Health International (GHI) enables people living with HIV / AIDS to improve their nutrition and health through low-cost, sustainable agriculture practices.

GHI’s country director, Julie, says its cooperatives have a real need for our training. GHI usually is the first to extend credit to its members; it wants to build an integrated training program so clients can access loans from a range of institutions. To date, GHI’s trainings have been mostly in agronomy and cooking. GHI is bolstering its training but largely in agriculture, where its strengths lie.

Katherine, Julie and the GHI staff are adapting and translating the Barefoot MBA for GHI’s cooperatives to ready for their work together in Rwanda the week of August 30. We’ll spend the beginning of our time together visiting cooperatives and community gardens and making final adjustments to the lessons. Then, as we successfully did in the Philippines, we’ll run a train-the-trainers workshop for GHI field officers and then watch as they teach the Barefoot MBA lessons to cooperative members.

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Though these are not the first African organizations to use the Barefoot MBA, they are the first to host either of us in person. We’re excited for what this means for the Barefoot MBA and our partners. Please check the blog for Katherine’s East Africa updates.

Kukutana na wewe katika Nairobi! (Meet you in Nairobi!)

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