"I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits"
--- Martin Luther King Jr.
Growing up in Bamenda, Cameroon, Central Africa, Cedric Nwafor, co-founder of ROOTS Africa, planted and harvested beans, yams, and legumes by hand. He clearly remembers walking across acres of fields, carrying heavy bags, hungry, and wondering how he could help make a change for his family and his village.
That same hunger for a better life was the inspiration behind ROOTS Africa; to improve the lives of those he left behind in villages like his own.
Through respect, innovation, and education, Cedric believes we can make farmers more productive and financially independent.
Cedric found his calling to action after a ten-day trip around the state of Idaho sponsored by the Leadership Idaho Foundation. There, he witnessed how farmers used technologies and innovative farming techniques to guarantee more yields, in less time and with less labor compared to local farmers back home in Cameroon.
So, he set out on a mission to connect the dots and breach the knowledge and technological gap that exists between US and Africa Farmers: Connecting farmer to farmer, student to student, and Universities to Universities.
ROOTS Student Club
With the guidance of various faculty and staff at the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) at the University of Maryland College Park, co-founders, Cedric Nwafor and Mandella Jones started ROOTS Africa as a student club. The Club launched in September 2017 and began communicating in real time weekly with eight students enrolled at the Liberian International Christian College (LICC). The students collaborated to address agricultural issues of sustainability and markets.
In March 2018, ROOTS students traveled to Liberia where they hosted a conference attended mostly by 140 people, most of whom were farmers, and it was focused on business modeling and record-keeping. Workshops in nearby villages used generators to facilitate presentations on soil testing, pest management, and agribusiness.
ROOTS Global Classroom
With the support of the AGNR and UMD Office of International Affairs and Faculty Specialist Taryn Devereux, ROOTS Africa became part of the UMD Global Classroom program. ROOTS' Global Classroom Initiative aims to prepare students for a rapidly globalizing workplace and provide project-based experiential learning opportunities.
Established New Student Clubs
Our chapters work at the local level to carry out context-specific solutions to achieve our mission. Chapters receive coaching and guidance from ROOTS Africa, connections with university students and experts, and access to funding channels.
Our Current Chapters
Liberian International Christian College
Uganda Martyrs University
Bukalasa Agricultural College
Mountains of the Moon University (MMU)
Bishop Stuart University
The Changemakers Program
We empower local changemakers by providing training, resources, and a global network. We are successful when they leverage lessons learned and go out to influence local farmers into adopting resilient agriculture.
To end hunger and poverty in Africa, Africa doesn't need charity; it needs Change-makers. At Roots Africa, we nurture resilient agriculture to end hunger and to end poverty, and we foster entrepreneurship.
Farmers in Africa need help in increasing production, selling, and storage. We believe that passionate young students who are trained / knowledgeable about agriculture can be part of the solution. Last year, we launched the first phase of the Roots Africa Changemakers Program. Fifty (70) students in Liberia and Uganda were trained and, in turn, could reach and train over 3000 farmers. Click here to view the report.
Changemakers accepted into the program attend monthly live training sessions through Zoom and engage with coaches and mentors to enhance their work on the ground, and after training comes practice; In the words of Etienne Wenger.
"Learning is the engine of practice, and practice is the history of that learning."
Our mission is to support young people with the right tools and resources and connect the world by engaging students and agricultural experts who provide voluntary technical assistance to local farming communities in Africa.