The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Tony Blaire Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) and the World Food Prize Foundation have named for young African entrepreneurs under age 40 as the recipients of US$150,000 fellowship to launch innovative social enterprise projects addressing hunger and poverty in Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
The 40 Chances fellows were formally honored on Thursday, October 16, which was World Food Day, during the Borlaug Dialogue International symposium.
They are Mahmud Johnson from Liberia who will used his 40 chances award to establish Karnel for Peace (K4P). Liberia’s first fair trade palm karnel oil processing factory, which will help bridge the gap between Liberia wasted palm karnels (estimated as a value of $4 million) and a market demand for palm karnel oil. By purchasing palm karnel from small holder oil palm producer, K4P will help increase their income by an average of 25-35%. Additionally, K4P will create an estimated 85 additional permanent full time job for rural women and youths and will invest 50% of its profits in to the community after the first two years for operation.
“Solving problem is what drives me in to a social entrepreneur. I am concerned primarily with creating opportunities for fellow Liberians especially the youths that will allow me to live in dignity and economic,” said Mr. Johnson.
“I strongly believe that any venture I undertake should align with my personal values. As a social worker, I am driven deeply by the need to provide opportunity for my fellow Liberians to improve their long run livelihoods and labor market incomes. I believe that Liberia will become a better country when its people are given the opportunities to improve their lots in life.”
Mohammed continues that considering the social economic situation of Liberia, where the young people are always agitated and wanting to call for a violent political change, it was important the social entrepreneurs focus on the kind of initiatives that have the greatest potential to bring change in the lives of the citizens.
“I understand both from a personal and intellectual stand point how social economic injustice and severe poverty make country more prone to civil war.”