Kola Masha, Managing Director of the Babban Gona program in Nigeria, is among this year’s recipients of the prestigious Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Masha, a supporter of hermetic storage and social enterprise, was recognized for his role in creating a model that attracts smallholder farmers and the nation’s unemployed youths. This agricultural program is generating employment opportunities, livelihoods, and is keeping younger generations from joining extremist groups and gangs in the country.
Babban Gona provides much needed support through financing, training, tools, technology, and marketing to increase the yields and profits of farmers by 2.3 times the national average. The member farmers bring their harvests to Babban Gona collection centers for processing and storage. The crops are stored inside GrainPro® Cocoons™ to safely preserve the quality and freshness of the products for extended periods without the use of harmful chemicals. The crops are then sold by Babban Gona during the lean season to trusted customers who pay a premium for quality.
This results in higher profits for the farmers. But more than that, the program is creating opportunities and making agriculture a viable livelihood for the millions of youths who are without employment prospects in a country that has one of the worst unemployment rates in the continent.
The Skoll Awards distinguish transformative leaders whose organizations disrupt the status quo, drive sustainable large-scale change, and are poised to create even greater impact on the world. Awardees’ organizations receive $1.25 million core support investments to scale their work and increase their impact. The social entrepreneurs also gain leverage through their long-term participation in a global community of visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving some of the biggest global challenges of our time.