A few weeks ago, I was able to brave the 10 hour time change between Nairobi and Vancouver to get an update on Rasheeda’s time working for FarmDrive in Nairobi, Kenya. Rasheeda is the Dalhousie Chapter’s Junior Fellow who was placed in Kenya for 4 months this summer to work with the social enterprise and learn about systems change in action.
Over 90% of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 million smallholder farmers lack access to formal credit. FarmDrive is a for-profit company that uses a mobile phone application to collects data from agribusiness owners to produce a report that farmers can use to present to banks and improve access to financing to grow their businesses.
She is working closely with a Long Term Fellow and feels he has become a great mentor and friend, and he helps to even out some interpersonal challenges that come with start-up life in Nairobi. She was excited about taking leadership on a project for the final few weeks of her stay and felt she had answered most of her questions she came for about working in development and seeing EWB’s values of systemic change in motion.
Rasheeda told me she has been driving occasionally, which is both exhilarating and terrifying. She took the truck on her trip down to the Rift Valley for hiking one weekend and described to me the challenge of driving stick while not yet used to driving on the left side of the road. She could barely reach the clutch, and had to trust the truck would be able to navigating a steep, winding road back up from the Valley at the end of the day. Rasheeda laughed as she admitted that experience was the most exhausting day of her life.