The Mastercard Foundation - EARTH University Fellowship Program

Talent Vharachumu

Country: Zimbabwe
Track: Employment
Position: Climate Smart Agriculture Guide Programme Fellow
Host company/organization: CAMFED Zimbabwe
About position:  Talent is working to expand CAMFED Zimbabwe’s Agricultural Guide Program. She helps boost the productivity and livelihoods of overlooked women farmers, and has already trained 160 women agripreneurs. ​

Talent was raised in a rural area in west Zimbabwe. She has nurtured her passion for agriculture from a very young age and. During high school, she volunteered as a peer educator for primary and secondary schools in her community, where she led workshops to promote education, especially for young women.

Talent knew that EARTH provided the kind of education she needed to make a real change in her country. “You must employ yourself through agriculture. It is a life skill. I think that’s why I’ve always liked agriculture. Our education in most African countries is very theoretical. The problem is that after graduation, the person is only looking for an employer. But if one learns practical skills, they can employ themselves. It is for that reason that I wanted to come to EARTH.” Throughout her four years at EARTH, Talent learned how to work with a variety of people, cultures, and beliefs.

In her third year, Talent completed her 15-week internship at the University of Florida, working at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC). “I am passionate about plant science, so I applied for an internship in plant physiology to gain more experience in research and see how plants adapt to the changing environment. I also wanted to learn the use of the technical equipment that is used in this field of study.” Talent completed a graduation project called Effects of Greenhouse Plastic Colors on Growth and Chlorophyll Content of Corn and Tomato, which proposes a method to help plants adapt to the changing climatic conditions.

Now I know what I really want to be in the future: an entrepreneur. – Talent

Talent wants to teach people in her community everything she has learned at EARTH. “Now I know what I really want to be in the future: an entrepreneur. After learning about value addition on agricultural products, I have many ideas for projects that I would want to implement in my country after graduation. I know that I can help my country to reduce food wastages by ensuring better preservation of their local products. I hope to employ myself and other local youths in my community. It’s a nice strategy to eradicate poverty and a way of plowing back what I learned to my local community.”

As a Fellow, Talent is gaining professional experience with CAMFED Zimbabwe, working in youth outreach and developing professional relationships with stakeholders.

To her donors at the Mastercard Foundation, Talent says, “I feel forever grateful for the opportunity provided to come down to Costa Rica and be part of a unique academic program in the world. Being at this school has opened my mind. I want to create my own employment, that’s my dream. I want to work hard so that my dream can come true.”



For more information about the Fellowship Program and about being a Host Partner, please contact us.