Mandela Washington Fellow, Rugiatu Favour Kanu, Empowers Women and Communities Through Sustainable Agriculture

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

Rugiatu Favour Kanu, a proud participant of the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, is making remarkable strides in sustainable agriculture and empowering women in her country. As one of the 11 selected Fellows representing Sierra Leone, Rugiatu joins a cohort of 700 young leaders from across Africa to engage in leadership development activities at various prestigious U.S. educational institutions.

Through her business, Slay Farms, Rugiatu is nurturing not just crops but also a community of women farmers. On her 10-acre farm, she shares her extensive knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices with other women, fostering a network of empowered individuals with a common goal. The farm serves as a hub for learning events, where women gather to exchange expertise and stay updated on the latest advancements in sustainable farming techniques. Moreover, Slay Farms acts as a link, connecting these farmers with wider markets for their produce, thus ensuring economic growth for the entire community.

During her time as a Mandela Washington Fellow, Rugiatu Favour Kanu had the opportunity to visit the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm in the USA. There, she encountered Bobby Wilson, an enthusiastic urban farmer whose dedication to providing food for those in need has earned him recognition as one of CNN’s top ten heroes in the family category. Rugiatu was inspired by the farm’s emphasis on giving back to the community and the crucial role urban agriculture plays in sustainable food production.

As part of her commitment to volunteerism and giving back, Rugiatu and her fellow Fellows joined forces at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. They passionately packed food and assembled health kits, driven by the desire to make a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate. In this act of selflessness, the Fellows found unity despite their diverse backgrounds and experiences, resonating with the transformative power of community service.

Rugiatu Favour Kanu’s work exemplifies the spirit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), representing the United States’ dedication to investing in the future of Africa. Through sustainable farming and empowering women, Rugiatu is leaving a lasting impact on her community, bridging gaps and fostering a brighter, more equitable future for Sierra Leone and beyond.


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