Jambo! From the busy city of Nairobi this post comes to you born out of jet-lag and a much needed update on Project Pyramid.
It’s been a busy few months for Project Pyramid. The leadership team has been continually working to identify projects, build marketing materials, secure funding, and facilitate an engaging classroom experience. We have had around 70 students enrolled in the fall course this year – there is literally no more room. Professor Victor has been lecturing and facilitating discussion to our multiple-disciplinary group twice a week.
As we enter into the holiday break, spring trips will be decided and set into stone in the near future. Students have already had an in-depth look at poverty, the schools of thought on how to approach it, and what organizations are doing now to alleviate. Soon, they will be working alongside these companies to help further their efforts and provide unique perspective and intellectual capital. As we find out more about those locations and groups, we will update this site and keep our readers posted.
Now, for this little Kenya expedition that a few of us find ourselves on right now: two weeks on the ground to accomplish a wide variety (and large quantity) of tasks and make it home in time for Christmas …or our families might disown us.
Here are just a few things we hope to accomplish:
- Assist Juhudi Kilimo in investigating ways to explore different markets and customer opportunities within the country. This burgeoning company has already dispersed over 15,000 loans to rural farmers in just a few years and is looking to expand its business. We aim to help them do so and continue to have an impact on so many Kenyans while still operating as a for-profit business.
- Build the groundwork for a social enterprise case. Any MBA candidate knows that you will read tons of cases while studying finance, marketing, and strategy in graduate school. We now plan to build one for social enterprise and multi-dimensional poverty alleviation. What situation will be presented and lessons learned from a company’s adventures in the “wild west” of Africa? Well, take the class next year and you will find out!
- Further establish our connections here in East Africa. Unfortunately we will not be sending a full team to Kenya this coming spring (election season), but we are working now to solidify connections in the country while building new relationships. We will then return to Vanderbilt with items to be working on for the next year and a trip that is ready to go come March of 2014… or maybe for a summer intern or two in 2012.
Believe me, there are plenty more objectives and targets we are hoping to hit over the course of our time on the ground. Then, we will go back and continue to work on numerous items, particularly putting a lot of time into Juhudi Kilimo. As usual, it is a busy time and we love it – two of us even took our International Financial Markets and Instruments final tonight while bumming internet and sitting in a conference room.
More updates to come…