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KadAfrica: Empowering Out of School Girls through Passion Fruit

Kyenjojo, UgandaKyenjojo, Uganda
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

KadAfrica builds resilient farming communities centered around the empowerment of young women. 1500 out of school girls have gained sustainable livelhood options as young agro-entrepreneurs cultivating passion fruit, while reinvigorating commercial fruit farming in Western Uganda.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if out of school girls could drive rural economies by becoming entrepreneurs engaging in high-value cooperative fruit farm
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Uganda, economic dependence is a primary driver of the many injustices facing out of school girls; as a result, they have limited choices and are often forced into early marriages or risky behaviors. Girls typically have limited access to small tracts of land with little knowledge of how to turn this resource into generated income. Additionally, poor agriculture practices and cultural stigmas have further discouraged entry into agriculture.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

KadAfrica uses an integrative approach combining hands-on and curriculum based learning, that recognizes the interconnectedness between economic security and poor choices or risky behaviors among out of school girls in Western Uganda. In addition to gender empowerment, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship training, girls are provided a 240m2 plot with 45 passion fruit vines to set up their own agribusinesses, intense technical support, and a ready market. Girls yield on average 100-150 kgs of fruit per month, garnering an income of $40-$50 over the same time period. These girls are not only earning and learning how to manage an income, they are becoming leaders in their communities and actively engaging in their local economies.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Girls are provided with cash purchase of passion fruit by KadAfrica which allows them to apply their newly acquired business acumen and profits realized through agriculture to expanding their farms or their entrepreneurial repertoire. One successful young woman, Beatty, has started a nursery school with her passion fruit money. Not only does she now have an additional source of income, but 75 children are benefitting from preschool care at the hands of this amazing young entrepreneur. These young women like Beatty have become inspirations to their communities. Not only do their families come out to support them at the farm, but KadAfrica now has a pending waitlist of more than 1200 farmers wanting to participate in our programming.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

As the largest passion fruit farm in Uganda, KadAfrica has worked with more than 1500 out of school girls to build successful agribusinesses. KadAfrica has published a manual on smallholder cultivation of passion fruit, provided seedlings, trainings and inputs, agronomy support, and a ready market for girls' passion fruit. Our young entrepreneurs have undergone gender empowerment, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship training; they have planted over 60,000 passion fruit vines on 90+ acres provided rent free by partners in Western Uganda, to be bulked marketed with KadAfrica's own production. On average these young women have earned more than $300 each, and collectively saved more than $2,500 over the past year. Through this model, KadAfrica has become a primary exporter of passion fruit, linking these out of school girls and their communities to markets in Kampala, the EU and UK.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our model is based on a two-stage scale-up: first empower, and then process. Now that we have proven our concept, and begun scaling from 250 out growers to more than 1500, we are looking to grow to more than 3000 out growers over the next 1-2 years. Once we hit this level we would have the volumes necessary to process KadAfrica passion fruit into pulp and supply juice companies with Ugandan pulp—rather than pulp being sourced from Asia. This would allow us to purchase from out growers at a price point of 30% higher than what is currently sustainable, keeping wealth within Uganda.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financial sustainability is key to KadAfrica’s model, with funding coming from the sale of passion fruit from our own and out grower production. Currently, our network produces of 9 tons per month. Through an innovative hub-spoke model facilitating bulked marketing and reduce transport costs, KadAfrica has been able to expand from 250 to more than 2000 out growers over the last year using less than 50% donor money.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

TechnoServe runs a project promoting increased incomes for smallholder passion fruit farmers in Eastern Uganda. KadAfrica worked extensively with TechnoServe in the design of its out grower model to improve upon transport, marketing, and other difficulties. Staff explained that they faced resistance when engaging target populations towards passion fruit as a viable crop. Since, TechnoServe has begun a fieldtrip program to the KadAfrica Estate to exemplify the possibilities for commercial production in Uganda; the Estate is made available to all girls and contributes to bulked marketing.

Founding Story

Driving from Uganda to Kenya I had a stark realization as crossing the border roads became lined with thriving, large-scale agricultural ventures that did not exist in Uganda. Why is so much lush land sitting unutilized as imports flow across the border to satisfy demand? Through meetings and hours of research I learned that 70% of the passion fruit in Uganda—a popular fruit made into juice—was imported. With fertile soils and high altitude, Ugandan farmers could be fully capable of meeting demand if equipped with the skills and inputs to grow the high value fruit. The vertically growing vine is ideal as it affords smallholder farmers space to grow ground dwelling crops for consumption while generating income through passion fruit.


KadAfrica has 5 full time staff, including a Managing Director, Director of Business Development, our "Market Maverick", and two full time Agronomists. We also have two Agriculture Extension Workers and 12 Field Facilitators. To build our network, we have built an amazingly supportive advisory board consisting of investors and experienced social entrepreneurs. We hope to add an additional 18 field facilitators to support our growth by Q4 2015.
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Organization Country

, KYE, Kyenjojo

Country where this project is creating social impact

, KYE, Kyenjojo

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Foundations, Businesses.

Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?

KadAfrica is a 2014 SEED Africa Award Winner and Eric is a proud 2014 Unreasonable Fellow. KadAfrica was named as a 2013 Young Achievers Africa Award Winner in the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Category, awarding young Ugandans for best practices and excellence and youth creativity. It was also awarded the in the Agriculture Category at the 2013 Pakasa Youth Forum. KadAfrica was a 2013 Semifinalist for the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Award and first runner up in the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

Tell us about your partnerships

KadAfrica operates through a public private partnership with Catholic Relief Services and Caritas. These partnerships allow KadAfrica to source land rent-free for out of school girls through an innovative post-paid/in-kind rental plan with the Catholic Church, while providing curriculum based trainings for program participants. Caritas acts as the link between Catholic Relief Services, KadAfrica, and the Catholic Church, helping to secure contracts with parish priests. Caritas also aids in the mobilization of the community and helps to manage 12 field facilitators who work with the girls daily and are trained as Agriculture Extension Workers by KadAfrica. Catholic Relief Services provides gender empowerment, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship training to the girls. Through its network of farmers savings groups in Western Uganda, it also helps the girls organize savings and pool resources for the success of their agri-businesses.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

KadAfrica has grown at an incredible rate since getting its seed investment in November 2012, and embarking on our out grower model in May 2013. With 1500 farmers in our network, and a wait list of more than 2000 KadAfrica is currently understaffed to continue our current growth trajectory while providing the same high quality, hands on technical agriculture support that has been key to the girls' success. KadAfrica plans to add an additional 18 trained field facilitators to our staff to support our young entrepreneurs, and help to increase the efficiency of on-site packing, payment, and pick up of all out grower passion fruit for urban wholesale. Currently, we are in the final due-diligence round of a "Bridge" investment round that will make this internal growth possible.

How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?

KadAfrica equips young out of school girls with the resources and skills necessary to become independent, economic drivers of their communities by engaging in agriculture entrepreneurship. Out of school girls constitute a large segment of Uganda’s most vulnerable youth with only 42 percent of girls finishing primary school and only 33% of those continuing their education to 18 years of age. Dropping out of school has serious implications for girls’ social and physical well-being, making this group particularly vulnerable. Girls in rural areas face greater obstacles to completing higher levels of education and are left with few economic and life options once they have left school. Early marriage and pregnancy tend to follow school drop-out which greatly affects their ability to improve their financial situation. By creating viable agro-enterprise ventures cultivating passion fruit, KadAfrica is building strong cooperatives of women, able to meaningfully engage with their local economies through self employment and participation in the agriculture sector. Girls' newly acquired business acumen has allowed them to expand their agro-enterprise on other locally available land, often deciding to pool resources. This job security for rural young women is further complimented through creating wider social cohesion for rural communities, who are able to learn from the girls and replicate their agricultural successes with passion fruit farming.

Target Age Group(s): What age group(s) do(es) your solution target through it's programming?


Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution

Entrepreneurship, Training/Skill Development, Rural Economies.

Do you have separate programs or initiatives that target the following types of populations?


Impact - Reach: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

1,001 to 10,000

Number of People Directly Employed by Your Organization


Number of Volunteers

Fewer than 10

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Unlock Nurturing Environments: help young people work together to cultivate opportunities and wellness throughout the earth and its communities

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Lack of youth empowerment