ALA impact story: Brian Owino
Like many young Africans, finding an early career that meets the passion and skills gap are often rare. Meet Brian Owino, a young Kenyan and member of the AL for Agribusiness network (ALAN), a division of African Leadership Academy. His first encounter with the network began when he applied for an internship on the institution’s career portal. His profile was so unique that the Sector Lead of ALAN, Nono Sekhoto, reached out to learn more about his story and offer an alternative internship opportunity. That was in May 2021.
By September 2021, he was featured in the September issue of the network’s monthly newsletter, a highly coveted spotlight of network members who have made an impact in the agribusiness sector. Brian established Kilimo Sasa Initiative with a mission to contribute to climate resilience in his community, drawing off his then current studies of a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy at Sciences Po research university in France.
Brian’s enthusiasm led him to apply for the Small Foundation Co-Creation Fund, which was launched by ALAN to foster collaboration among network members. Brian invited network members Evans Oloo, Grace Gisele, and Peter Nguka, who he had met at a youth conference in Kenya. Together, they partnered with community extension officers Sam Lasiti and Calvince Otieno to scale what Kilimo Sasa Initiative had started. The mission of their project was to develop small scale solutions for farmers in their community, to include people with disabilities.
In November 2021, the team presented their business case at the member’s Monthly Hangout and were voted as one of the two winning groups. From January to June 2022, the team implemented their project with dedication and tenacity. Each month, the team met with the ALAN management team to report on their progress, challenges, and successes. Brian and the team offered to share their lessons learned in the March members’ Monthly Hangout which drew the largest Hangout attendance of 26 network members. The event polls showed that 85% of the attendees answered “I feel inspired and encouraged to put more effort into my own project” to the question of how they felt about their own projects after the presentation; and 64% of attendees answered “I’m so glad I joined, there’s so much information and it was great learning from other members”, when asked how they felt about the network.
Through Small Foundation’s support, ALAN has been equipped to coach and support its vibrant community of network members. Furthermore, the investment also went towards the Co-Creation Fund which enabled Brian and his team to train and provide climate smart solutions to one hundred households in three different districts in Kenya, where 68% being women and 30% being people with various disabilities. To celebrate the challenges and successes of this project, Nono invited colleagues from other ALA network communities to witness Brian’s final reporting session. He and his team presented a holistic view of the last 6 months, from implementation to impact.