Launched in: 2015
Application Timing: Jan. - Feb.
In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community—ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to three Enactus student teams are selected to receive a $3,000 USD grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
2020 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology: Kumasi
WellFed is an agricultural project aimed at reducing food waste and loss, specifically post-harvest. For the past year, Enactus KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) has made several visits to the target community, conducting interviews with farmers and leaders, and collected samples of soil and water. Their findings revealed that farmers in Akumadan, Ghana, are small-holder farmers who rely heavily on rainfall and traditional farming practices which have been handed down over time. The only available water source is not controlled, and the farmers lack storage and processing units. Therefore, they get very little value for their produce. Tomato farmers in the community suffer gravely as these uncontrolled conditions leave their fate to chance every season. Enactus KNUST seeks to address these needs of the farmers and their families at large. With improved technologies such as zero-emission cooling chambers, bottle canning for processing and storage, drip irrigation for uninterrupted irrigation, WellFed has the potential to enable the farmers to exercise some level of control over their farming and post-harvest conditions. The project includes phases of financial training and employment for the community’s youth to operate the storage, processing and irrigation systems across the community. Thanks to the efforts of Enactus KNUST, Akumadan farming communities now have the opportunity to become sustainable.
University for Development Studies: Navrongo
Ghana is one of the world’s major exporters of shea butter. Its value grew by 30% between 2017 and 2018, and it provides around $100 million in revenue annually. Despite the lucrativeness and high returns, the industry is dominated by women and youth who live in extreme poverty, even though they are heavily engaged in the production of shea butter. Enactus UDS (University for Development Studies) Navrongo identified this problem and created the SheaMe project to economically empower the rural women and youth in the shea industry. The Enactus team trains, equips and employs women and youth on sustainable and innovative agro-processing solutions to increase their income levels after processing the raw butter into finished or processed products such as cooking oil, soap, pomade and candles. The Enactus team also found an innovative way to increase the demand for shea butter as a table oil thanks to its high nutrition value and low cholesterol level. Project SheaMe employs the out-growers model in its operations, such that the Enactus team does more than teach the beneficiaries how to produce agro-processed products. They begin by training the Shea butter producers on how to produce superior grade butter. Thus, after training, the team can recruit them as suppliers of the butter used in the processing of the products. Their butter can then be purchased for a higher price than what it could be sold for in local markets.
University of Mines and Technology: Accra
Two of the main barriers to implementing irrigation in Ghana is access to funding and affordable energy to own and run the irrigation facilities. The Agrifield Solar Project is a portable, game-changing, internet-connected solar irrigation system designed by Enactus UMaT (University of Mines and Technology) to help smallholder farmers sustainably improve agricultural productivity and profitability. The system combines the energy efficiency of solar energy with a trusted drip irrigation technology that offers farmers access to a sustainable irrigation solution at a cost they can afford. Easy to carry and set up, Agrifield Solar can be moved around the farm without any difficulty. Compared to petrol and diesel-powered irrigation pumps, Agrifield Solar has no recurring fuel costs, and it is much faster and less tedious than manual hand pumping or conventional water carrying irrigation methods. Since access to credit is a significant barrier in Africa, Agrifield Solar comes with a “pay-as-you-grow” platform, which is a customized flexible payment system called FlexyPay that enables convenient installment payments via mobile phone. After paying a small upfront cost for the system, the user then accesses an integrated mobile money service to recharge or top-up their unit every week. The weekly recharge keeps the system functional, thus preventing it from shutting off. Most importantly, the top-up is priced to cost less than their current weekly diesel and gasoline expenses, which allows farmers to start saving money right away.