I started my first social entrepreneurship project in the ninth grade when I was participating in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program. With my classmates, we used rain and malaria case data to examine the relationship between the two variables and conduct a campaign on the use of mosquito nets to prevent malaria.
Although it might seem obvious that malaria cases follow rain patterns, for me at that early age, it was a moment of sudden insight. From that instant, I began to see science differently. I saw scientific inquiries not as complex formulas and processes that only a few people could understand, but as methods to help comprehend, solve, and/or prevent critical issues. These principles have shaped my view of science ever since.
Currently, I am finishing my PhD at the University of Kentucky, where I am also a lecturer. I love learning about almost anything and I mostly love teaching. I see teaching as not only a way to impart knowledge to my students, but also as a way to help them recognize and develop their potential. Nothing excites me more than when a student asks me for advice on one of his/her original research or enterprise ideas.
When I am not busy with my studies or lecturing, you will find me working on one of my social enterprise projects in Africa. One of my current projects uses drones to contribute to the biodiversity conservation in West African protected areas. My initiative uses drones to help conserve species under threat by identifying, preventing, and fighting against illegal unsustainable practices in the areas under protection. Through this initiative, I have trained rangers and researchers who work in the parks on how to build and use drones for conservation purposes.
This work also demands that we reduce agricultural encroachment and improve the livelihood of the farmers living in and around the parks. My next goal is to tackle this challenge with drones. I am equipping drones with sensors to gather information that will help small-scale farmers develop optimal cropping systems, to optimize inputs use, estimate their crop yields, and react more quickly to threats. I am also launching a drone academy for youth where they will be trained on building and using drones. This will help expand the use of drones for other purposes and will provide the youth with job opportunities, for reducing youth unemployment is another critical issue I am working on.
Through Youth Entrepreneurs Partners (YEP), I train, mentor, and provide young innovators with seed funds to help them start and run their business successfully. I just launched a green business development program for students in elementary and high schools, where they use comics to learn the fundamentals of green business concepts and concretize their businesses ideas.
My work has been featured at the Clinton Global Initiative University in 2016, and I have just been selected among the 35 under 35 best young innovators in Francophone countries. But, the biggest reward for me is the opportunity to work with youth to make a difference.
I love working with youth because I believe they are the solution to ending underdevelopment in Africa. It is my hope that, someday and somewhere, a young person will see his or her life change from participating in one of my projects—as my life was impacted by the GLOBE program.
Please contact me if you any questions or have ideas or suggestions to share.