Meet the Catalyst Grant Winner: 2021 Fellowship Alumnus Abdallah Mabrouck

Graphic: Catalyst Grant Winner photo and name

Ibukia Shambani means “rising from the farm” in Swahili.  With a name like that, it is no wonder that Abdallah Mabrouck and his team, Ayubu Mundekesye and Kelvin Mwise, are the winners of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant.  Their project, Ibukia Shambani, aims to help smallholder farmers in Tanzania by combining digital technology and direct support to deliver agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers at the last mile.  

The Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant was a unique funding opportunity for 2021 Fellowship Alumni.  Through the partnership with D-Prize, a non-profit organization that seeds new ventures that distribute proven poverty interventions, the Catalyst Grant funds initiatives that catalyze change and distribute proven poverty interventions wherever extreme poverty exists.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant was open to 2021 Fellowship Alumni from all tracks who sought to launch or scale a social enterprise in African communities.  

The 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant was structured around several key poverty challenges with proven solutions, and Abdallah and his team responded to the Agricultural Inputs Challenge.  This challenge offered teams the opportunity to create an initiative that provides farm interventions to under-producing smallholder farmers cultivating a land of 2 hectares or less.  The long-term goal is to catalyze a new organization that scales to serve many people. 

Ibukia Shambani will be implemented in the Haidom ward in the Mbulu district in the Manyara region of Tanzania.  Haidom, a 13-hour drive from Dar Es Salaam, is a rural community in need of agricultural inputs and resources.  Through a coordinated effort with youth village entrepreneurs recruited from the district and agricultural extension officers covering the region, Abdallah’s team will provide bundles that include the necessary agricultural inputs, technical skills, and hands-on farming service support.  The youth village entrepreneurs will be trained to provide hands-on support to the smallholder farmers, while the extension officers will target their technical services in the community.  Ibukia Shambani’s e-platform will facilitate bulk ordering and communication with the smallholder farmers to ensure an ongoing and efficient flow of information regarding their needs.  

Ibukia Shambani anticipates reaching 500 farmers in this first year of operation and hopes to get over 2,000 smallholder farmers within 2-to 3 years.  Beyond that, the young people who are youth village entrepreneurs will be exposed to the importance of agriculture, receive basic agricultural skills training, and learn practical ways to apply their farming skills.  The Ibukia Shambani team will deepen its relationship with smallholder farmers and expose them to the broader agricultural supply chain.  

IREX and D-Prize congratulate Abdallah and the Ibukia Shambani team.  We are eager to see them support farmers! 

Learn more about other opportunities for Alumni.