Jalyn and I recently received the good news that we'll be staying in Africa a bit longer than originally expected.
The Gates Foundation grant I was writing with TechnoServe in Kenya was recently approved (yea!) and as a result, the project will be kicking off around the beginning of the year. The manager I was working with in Kenya who was lead author on the grant asked if I'd be interested in coming back to lead the kick-off process as Mobilization Manager. After some discussion with Jalyn, it was clear this would be a good opportunity (for both of us) and that we should do it. The contract is short, so we'll likely only be there through the end of Q1, possibly a bit longer. Afterwards, we'll be continuing on with our plans to spend some time in Tokyo or Australia, possibly contracting with former employers.
Jalyn will return to her work with the Young Women in Enterprise group at TechnoServe in Nairobi, and I'll be splitting time between Uganda and Kenya getting things rolling as we ramp up our 5 year pilot to develop the mango and passion fruit supply chains in each country.
My work with Guinness Ghana was completed yesterday (for the most part) with a presentation to the supply chain / procurement teams on a larger sorghum supply chain development strategy to achieve a commercially sustainable import-replacement alternative to barley. We're nearing the end of a several year pilot study with them that has been quite successful. They were weighing their options - interested to see what they decide. I've arranged a site tour and tasting before we leave Ghana. Looking forward to that...
Over the next few weeks I'll be interviewing fruit processors here to set the framework for a regional expansion of the Gates project in Kenya to West Africa. It will likely be a busy few weeks before work is over here, followed by some traveling in Morocco and a friend's wedding in India.
There are holidays this Friday and the following, so we'll have two 3-day weekends. I'm sure we'll have some interesting stories to tell from our journeys.