The first week of December was one filled with excitement and learning for the Bugisu team. We flew to Melbourne for the finals of the Big Idea competition and, being the coffee capital of Aus, we knew that it would be a hub for cultivating knowledge. In 48 hours, we mustered three huge meetings, one killer presentation, one massive win, one chance encounter, four missed flights and a wealth of learning. This is the breakdown of those two wild days.
It all began Tuesday morning, when we met with Elise Bennetts, the Chief Relationships Officer at STREAT. Pulling up to their superb space in Collingwood was a dream. We saw how a social enterprise can become an institution that competes with the big guys and changes people’s mentality around consumption. We were inspired by how their simple coffee cart in Federation Square back in 2010 has now diversified into supporting hundreds of young Aussies who are homeless or at risk through training and upskilling in hospitality roles. STREAT exemplified to us how big things can sprout from simple ideas.
Gyebale ko ba ssebo ne ba nnyabo! Mulembe! Its Roberta here from your friendly Bugisu Coff team!
You might be wondering how a young Ugandan woman found herself all the way on the other side of the world working on a coffee project. I’m honestly wondering, myself! Haha! Though it was completely unexpected, I met Brody and Darcy on a Monday morning as they sampled Bugisu coffee at my local coffee cart. Naturally, finding a small piece of Uganda in Sydney got me so excited and we ended up sharing stories about their recent travels and my fond memories of home.
Author: Reuben George
Tucked away from the indulgent consumerism and throw-away culture of modern life is the beautifully nurtured Camdenville Paddock Community Garden in Sydney’s inner west. Attached to the local primary school, the garden serves as a learning environment for kids and their parents. We had the privilege not only to explore this stoic concrete-jungle escape, but also to observe the importance of community and how together we can cultivate a sustainable world; one garden at a time.
Food Scrap Friday
On arrival we were greeted by the spectacular Lachlan Jobbins and a small treasure of food scraps collected from the local families - 197 kg’s to be precise! Each family brings an average of 3.8kg every Friday morning. This is just one of the initiatives which encourages community involvement and fosters a culture where food ‘waste’ goes further.
Author: Brody Smith
Muhammad Yunus goes by a few names.
Whether you know him as the father of microfinance, the banker to the poor, the ’06 Nobel Peace Prize winner or the founder of Grameen Bank, you know he’s somebody who has made the world better.
Yunus was a highly anticipated speaker at this year’s Global Youth Leaders Summit held in China. I was there representing Bugisu Project and shared our idea with youth-delegates from 28 countries.
For one hour, we listened to Yunus’ captivating words of experience, humble advice and answers to our many questions.
These were my three takeaways.
Bugisu Project was born in 2017 following a pilot program between UNSW Engineering and Gulu University in northern Uganda.
Now 12-months later, Darcy and Brody sat down with the faculty to discuss their recent return to Uganda and the vision and goals of the project.
The article was featured in the August edition of UNSW Engineers. Check out the full story here!
A two-way street
I met an English dude named David here in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Decorated with blonde cornrows and white-rimmed shades, he hardly seemed a source of wisdom at first glance. A teacher by profession, I learned of his work here in creating sport programs for youth empowerment and community building.
Mbale: Coffee Town
For generations, coffee has been core to the livelihoods of those in the Mt. Elgon region. Family life shifts with the seasons, and it is rare to meet someone on the hills who doesn’t have coffee plants scattered through their garden.
A day with Daniel
Daniel Okinong has been with us from the start. As his roommate for the past few days in
Mbale, I’ve been kicking boots with one of the most insightful and interesting dudes out there. If
you haven’t met Dan yet, you’re about to.
Well – we finally made it to the slopes of misty Mount Elgon. After Luke and Isaac from Zukuka Bora came to collect us in the morning, we started our steep and slightly bumpy ride up to the heights of the mountain. And boy is this a beautiful place to grow coffee. We marveled at the richness of the Ugandan soil set against the lush green Ugandan forest, the huge sprawling vistas and the tiny towns set against jaw-dropping backdrops of cliffs and waterfalls.
To think that some of the world’s best coffee is grown in this region really makes the place a little bit magical. We spent the day on coffee farms squeezing ripe coffee berries and traversing soggy trails down the face of Mount Elgon. As the afternoon got pretty stormy, Luke took us into his home for a delicious meal with the best chapatti we’ve ever tasted. Darcy ended the day with only one regret – he forgot to take his Swisse multivitamin for men.
written by Annabel
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Uganda is far
And that’s one of the reasons that this country’s high-quality coffee is relatively rare in the Australian café scene. As a landlocked, and historically geopolitically instable nation, Uganda doesn’t lend itself as an export site. But for us, with limited experience in supply chain logistics and an – ‘it can’t be that hard’ – attitude, we saw this scarcity as a market opportunity rather than an alarm bell.