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ADA – When East Central University Business students set out to tackle a new challenge, they don’t waste time finding success – ECU’s Enactus team has already won first place on the national stage with its Village Poultry Enterprise project, which started less than two years ago.

The project focuses on teaching economic sustainability to villages in Uganda through poultry farming. ECU’s Village Poultry Enterprise project is being led locally by Dr. Germain Pichop, a Stonecipher School of Business professor and the Enactus faculty advisor.

“We were lucky to inherit a project brewing from a U.S.-Africa Business Week visit to Uganda in 2019,” Pichop said. “This project presented the perfect opportunity for students to gain business skills while working to help lift thousands of people in 77 Ugandan villages out of poverty, and we hit the ground running.”

Students, faculty and staff of the Stonecipher School of Business worked with ECU alumnus and Uganda native Richard Kirabira to design the Enactus project, which is being implemented in stages. Stage One involved teaching villages start-up business skills. The second stage focused on creating sustainable poultry farms in all 77 villages in the program.

ECU’s Village Poultry Enterprise project was presented in April at the 2021 Enactus National Expo where it bested 30 other university-led projects, winning first place for its early-stage results. ECU was awarded $900 for the win, which has been reinvested into the project. As a first-place national winner, ECU’s project will now be entered into a global competition this October.

“Not too bad for a first try,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of the Stonecipher School of Business. “I believe this project is hitting its stride at just the right moment. Because of the generosity of our donors and the strong leadership of Dr. Pichop, Dr. Stacey Bolin and Mr. Kirabira, we have now fully funded the initial stages of the poultry project in all 77 villages. We have also been successful in teaching financial literacy in those villages, which will lead to economic sustainability.”

The third stage of the Village Poultry Enterprise, which is now under way, involves purchasing incubators so that chicks may be hatched locally instead of being hatched in Kenya and transported to Uganda. Godwin said more than 200 hours have been committed and more than $7,700 has been raised toward the project so far, but that more support is needed.

“We will continue to support the village leaders and farm owners by hosting seminars on farm training and building chicken coops, along with financial literacy and QuickBooks accounting support,” Godwin said. “The ECU student team will oversee the project by supporting accounting functions, creating training materials, managing social media and marketing, and by soliciting financial support from donors. While Drs. Pichop and Bolin will provide local student leadership, Mr. Kirabira – a 2012 ECU graduate – will provide continued oversight in Uganda.”

On its website, Enactus states it is “the world’s largest experiential learning platform dedicated to creating a better world while developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. The Enactus network of global business, academic and student leaders is unified by a vision to create a better, more sustainable world.”

Present in 65 countries and in more than 1,800 universities, the Enactus program provides more than 72,000 college students worldwide the opportunity to work on real-world, difference-making projects based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set forth by the United Nations.

To help advance ECU’s Village Poultry Enterprise, please email or call 580-559-5274.

Cutline: Members of ECU’s Enactus team are, from left, Wendell Godwin, Aislinn Beak, KerVon James, Alexia Qualls, Joel Nalare, Dr. Stacey Bolin, Jill Ballard, Nathan Fountain, Sydney Dungen, Dr. Germain Pichop and Maddie Rehl. (ECU)


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