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Challenge set for Queen's at 7th annual Alumni Awards Gala

Challenge set for Queen's at 7th annual Alumni Awards Gala

Does Queen’s have the institutional knowledge, the creativity, and the support systems to create hundreds of 21st Century Humanitarians? This was the question Alumni Humanitarian Award winner Farouk Jiwa, Artsci’98, asked the audience at the 7th annual Alumni Awards Gala on October 13.

[photo of Farouk Jiwa]

Two years after graduating from Queen’s, Farouk established Honey Care Africa, an innovative and award-winning social enterprise that is helping tens of thousands of rural families earn a sustainable income through beekeeping. In 2004, he replicated his original Kenyan Honey Care model in Tanzania. With $1.25 million recently secured from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, Honey Care will expand into South Sudan starting in 2013. Farouk is confident that expanding his successful rural development model there will make a significant contribution to Africa’s newest country.

Through his work with Farm Shop, a non-profit social enterprise which seeks to give farmers better access to supplies and marketing channels, Farouk has also set himself a goal of improving the lives of the 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa who earn their income from agriculture. He aims to do this by using the same principles of franchising that McDonalds has successfully used to sell burgers and fries around the world. So far Farm Shop’s first five franchisee outlets have been a runaway success and have increased their income by 1000% in less than four months while simultaneously improving access to high quality seeds, fertilizers, veterinary medicine, animal feeds, solar lanterns and water pumps for many small-holder rural farmers. Farm Shop plans to establish 500 rural franchisee outlets across East Africa by 2015.

Farouk, who also works as a Senior Advisor at CARE USA, notes that key to his success as a humanitarian worker has been a unique combination of his biological knowledge, people and social systems, and his business smarts. He attributes his solid working knowledge of animal and plant physiology to studying environmental biology at Queen’s, but notes that the ins-and-outs of social systems and business processes were two key areas he had to learn about outside Queen’s.

Since Farouk graduated, Queen’s has launched a Development Studies program, which, along with other new units like Queen’s School of Business’s Centre for Responsible Leadership, are now helping to provide the environment needed to nurture future humanitarians.

The challenge he laid down for Queen’s is to counteract the development of silos within the schools such as Development Studies, Business and Environmental Studies.

“The development challenges the world faces are more complex, multi-faceted and inter-connected than ever before,” he noted. “We need people who can work effortlessly across disciplines, combine concepts from different departments and weave together innovative partnership configurations to come up with new solutions. I see a tremendous opportunity for Queen’s to become a Centre of Excellence in training the 21st Century Humanitarian Worker. All the raw material is here and all the building blocks are in place. But we need to start tearing down some walls.”

To listen to more speeches from award winners and to see photos from the evening, visit the website