As of this week, Tugende’s entire team of summer fellows has arrived in Kampala! This impressive unit of 2 Ugandan and 3 American undergraduates, MBA students and recent graduates will be working at Tugende for the next 2-3 months. They’ll provide crucial help to systematize and improve Tugende’s business processes, develop strategy for expansion and branding, and generally contribute to Tugende’s fast-moving and dynamic work.
Get to know the summer additions to Team Tugende and what they love about the company and the country below!
Mansur, 23, is from Bunyoro, Masindi District, Bujenje County, Bwijanga Sub-County, Kahenbe Parish, Murro Village. He recently completed his higher diploma in biomedical engineering from Kyambogo University, where he designed a centrifuge for his final project.
Why Tugende? “Tugende emphasizes hard work, focus, and time management, which are important to me as an individual. I’d love to help with google mapping of all the stages and staff offices and other technology use like power repair and maintenance and computer repair and maintenance if the need arises.
Favorite thing about Uganda? “It’s my country, I was born here, so I love everything about it except the politics.”
Graham, 21, is from Northborough, Massachusetts. He is currently a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is double majoring in economics and political science. His main interests are in international relations, so he is thrilled to spend his first summer in Africa with Tugende.
Why Tugende? “I was drawn to Tugende by the fact that the business model represents a solution to a poverty trap, and allows drivers to overcome obstacles that are beyond their control. In addition, I love to travel and have never been anywhere in Africa before, so the opportunity to work in an entirely new culture and environment appealed to me.”
Favorite thing about Uganda? “So far, my favorite thing has been the incredible variety of people and places you here – whether it is an entrepreneurial boda driver trying to invest in land, a mechanical engineer developing centrifuges, rolling green hills with spectacular views, or beaches featuring decrepit airplanes, Uganda has it all! ”
Eric, 29, is from New York City, and completed his undergraduate degree in Economics at Yale University. After graduating, he worked in private wealth management at Merrill Lynch for three years, then he worked with the International Rescue Committee for two more before enrolling at Yale once again. He is currently pursuing a joint MBA and MA in Global Affairs at Yale.
Why Tugende? “Tugende represents a business model with tremendous potential to change the lives of thousands of boda boda drivers and their families. I think the strength of the model comes from a combination of a deep network of boda boda drivers that allows Tugende to invest in the right drivers and a huge market opportunity in Kampala, Uganda more broadly, and beyond. Tugende’s approach of focusing on an existing business and empowering those within it is an exciting innovation from a more traditional microfinance model.”
Favorite thing about Uganda? “My favorite thing about Uganda thus far was watching the Uganda Cranes beat Madagascar at Namboole Stadium!”
Brian, 27, is from Temple City California, he completed his undergraduate degree in international relations at the University of California – San Diego. Upon graduating, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, completing tours of duty in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. This May, Brian completed his MBA at Columbia Business School, and is starting work with McKinsey in the fall.
Why Tugende? “This summer is one of my last opportunities where I have such ample amount of time to do something meaningful that changes people’s lives. If I can make one change here at Tugende and leave the organization slightly better off than when I got here, this summer will be a success for me.”
Favorite thing about Uganda? “So far, I am amazed at the amount of creativity and ingenious solutions that Ugandans have implemented in their daily lives, both business and personal. For example, I have observed the many ways bodas have been used to transport many types of things -from passengers, bulk furniture items, heavy equipment to farm animals! It has been both humbling and inspiring to observe the level of ingenuity of Ugandans here in Kampala.
Patra, 30, is from Ntugamo District. She completed her certificate in computer application from Makarere University in 2005, and will be contributing to Tugende as an office manager.
Why Tugende? “I came to work. Our co-workers are cooperative, they love each other and I enjoy this atmosphere.
Favorite thing about Uganda? “The weather. You can get sunshine in the morning and rain in the afternoon, and it can change very quickly. I like the variety.”