MEET JIREH

The Mastercard Foundation - EARTH University Fellowship Program

Jireh Mwamukonda

Country: Malawi
Track: Entreprenuership
Project: Together We Can
Business incubator affiliated: Mhub Malawi
About position: TWC seeks to train unemployed youth and women on cultivating oyster mushrooms of high quality from low-cost materials in a sustainable and innovative way that will be sold at the local markets. Link to pitch. Link to pitch.

Jireh has always loved agriculture, although before joining EARTH she was unsure how her professional trajectory would further her passion. At EARTH, she completed her internship back home in Malawi at Tradeline Corporation Group Limited (TLC), a private company that offers business consulting services. Their mission is to empower small and medium enterprises in agriculture to improve their competitiveness in the commercial sector. Jireh chose this internship because she wanted to learn how microfinance companies operate while collaborating with rural communities from her own country. She has been in charge of data entry in quick books, loan records keeping, and updating the loan database for the past two years.

Describing her experience, she said: “My experience was really positive. I felt like I was one of the staff members in the organization. The field visits, data entry, filing, and labeling were no easy jobs. With endurance, patience, and hard work, we managed to submit the work in perfect condition. I practiced communication and teamwork skills, and worked well under pressure. I learned about understanding other cultures without judgement. I knew this company was small, but to my surprise it was always busy doing great things in my country.”

My experience was really positive. I felt like I was one of the staff members in the organization. The field visits, data entry, filing, and labeling were no easy jobs. With endurance, patience, and hard work, we managed to submit the work in perfect condition. – Jireh

Along with a fellow classmate from Malawi, Jireh won prizes from both the EARTH-managed MCF Entrepreneurship Fund and the MCF 2019 Social Venture Challenge to support a mushroom farm project. MUSHECO Farm is training unemployed youth and women in Mzuzu, Malawi to cultivate high– quality oyster mushrooms at a low cost. MUSHECO Farm utilizes corn stover biomass, which is an abundant resource often disposed of following maize harvests, as fertilizer to ensure that cultivation is sustainable and accessible to community members. This project will also teach members how to bring the oyster mushrooms to markets to better sustain themselves economically.

Jireh’s passion is working with people, especially young people and farmers. Her dream is to go back to Malawi and work with Young Life Africa, a faith-based organization in her country that works with youth. She would like to teach them to incorporate smart agricultural techniques into their farming practices. She feels that youth are facing great challenges that Young Life helps them to address and overcome.

Jireh’s post-graduation internship was in cheese production at Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia, USA, through the Ohio State Program. She has returned to Malawi to work on her mushroom production project for her Fellowship year.

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