First-year project engages Business students in Kenyan Fair Trade

Map and people Business Students (l-r) Malwina Gmyrek, Andrew Cartledge, Khamlin Ibrahim, Edward Stone, Christopher Wainwright, Lewis Wilson and Rebecca Jennings

Tue, 08 Mar 2016 11:53:00 GMT

‌Former student helps current students to engage with Kenyan students and the Fair Trade enterprise Ten Senses Africa

A TEAM of University of Huddersfield students are holding Skype sessions with pupils in Africa as part of their research into the business model of an ambitious Fair Trade organisation.

The opportunity is a result of a new collaboration forged between the University’s Business School and a former student who now has a key role with a global development organisation.

Ivana Ulicna Ivana Ulicna, who is Slovakian, came to the University of Huddersfield to study for her BSc and Master’s degrees.  Her passion is international development, with a focus on Africa, and she said it was a “dream fulfilled” when she landed a job as a Project Co-ordinator for the Pontis Foundation, a large non-government organisation based in her home country.

Ivana was also keen to keep up her connection with the Business School through its Head of Strategy, Marketing and Economics, Professor John Anchor, and she paid return visits to discuss how business students could engage with the Pontis Foundation’s work.

This led Dr Radi Haloub – Senior Lecturer in Strategy, Marketing and Economics – to collaborate with Ivana when he devised options for a presentation-based module for first-year students on theDr Radi Haloub Business Studies suite, which includes topics such as environmental issues, corporate social responsibility, business ethics and sustainability.

One of the presentation options was to research the social enterprise Ten Senses Africa, which was founded in 2010 as the world’s first Fair Trade macadamia and cashew producer.  Its goal is to provide market access to small-scale growers and it has so far established links with some 62,000 farmers in Kenya and Rwanda.  The organisation has also started an organic certification process that it hopes will cover all of the growers within three years.

The University of Huddersfield business students will develop a presentation on the company’s corporate social responsibility and examine its long-term sustainability.

As a key part of the project, they are also conducting two Skype sessions with students in Kenya, to boost their understanding of sustainability issues.  Ivana will facilitate this in her Pontis Foundation role and she will furnish feedback.

“Ivana came to the university on the first day of the term and spoke to the students, motivating them,” said Dr Haloub.  “The main objective of the presentations is to find out how our students can influence one of the least developed countries.”

Ten Senses Africa logo A total of 11 presentation topics was offered to the students.  Dr Haloub is very pleased with the calibre of the group that assembled and chose the Kenyan option.  Led by Christopher Wainwright, it consists of Andrew Cartledge, Malwina Gmyrek, Khamlin Ibrahim, Rebecca Jennings, Edward Stone and Lewis Wilson.

After the first Skype session, team leader Chris described it as “a very positive experience for all parties”.

The presentation focused on providing an overview of marketing and its importance, he said.

‌“We will be sending some additional resources which we’ve prepared to help the girls to consolidate their learning.  We hope that these sessions will allow the Kenyans to apply their learning to their virtual companies, and enhance the quality of their products and services,” continued Chris.

“Future sessions will focus upon areas such as customer relations, financing the business and the importance of sustainability.  We will also be communicating by email to help answer any questions that the Kenyans have, and to offer feedback on their businesses which will allow them to develop their ideas.” 

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