Impacting the lives of Ugandan farmers

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By Rogerio Campos

I have always been passionate about social impact and Africa, so when I had the opportunity to spend my summer helping Ugandan farmers improve their lives, I had to take it.

Explaining to my mom what I was going to do in Uganda was difficult:

“Mom, imagine you are a farmer in Uganda. You have no money, you lack credit to purchase seeds, you lack equipment to store the harvest, you don’t have the training to maximize production and you have only one buyer to purchase your grain. The Joseph Initiative — the company I will be working for this summer — helps the farmer with all these challenges!”

I didn’t think she understood, but I left for Uganda where I would spend eight weeks as a consultant, helping the company with a strategic plan, a human resources strategy and an anti-corruption strategy.

The first thing I did was go to the field to understand what exactly the company did and gather the perspective of the employees. As I have heard many times at Kellogg, it is very important to carefully listen to everyone before implementing any kind of changes in a company. Thus, I visited the Joseph Centers (a warehouse where farmers would bring their harvest), the two factories (where the grain would be processed in order to be sold later), and the company’s headquarters, where I spent most of my time.

I interviewed the senior team to understand what issues the company faced and I gathered input from the field to understand what caused those issues. With all this information, I was ready to craft and test some strategies.

At Kellogg, the first class you take is “Leadership in Organizations,” where you learn how to implement changes in a company and how employees get incentivized. I designed the strategies in accordance to the expectancy theory that we learned in class. This theory consists of three main parts:

  • Effort
  • Performance
  • Reward

According to the theory, an employee will be motivated if his effort will generate the necessary performance and if such performance is rewarded according to what the employee values. For example, an employee might value tickets to the cinema more than a small quantity in money as compensation for his efforts, since the value of the reward is greater for him.

In eight weeks, the senior team and I managed to put this theory into practice. I helped to create what would be the key indicators for the company to achieve its objectives and we linked them to the employee’s roles, responsibilities, promotion process and compensation.

I also designed new processes for talent acquisition, talent retention and talent development, processes that were essential to guide the new Human Resources Manager that the company hired.

Finally, we implemented important aspects of the strategy while I was there, such as training 40 new employees in the new code of conduct created and revamping the mission, vision and values of the organization.

At the end of the summer internship, the senior team was very happy to have the strategy and organizational structure in place to be able to grow and impact the lives of Ugandan farmers.

In addition to the great professional experience, going to Africa is always a great experience that I would recommend for anyone. In Uganda, I had the chance to live the culture, eat chapatis at the local market, get to know the Ugandan president, travel to amazing lodges, see nature, go rafting and meet amazing people who have a huge hearts and are extremely friendly.

Rogerio Campos is a second-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to Kellogg he worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company serving clients in Brazil and Angola. He will be heading back to McKinsey full-time after he graduates in June 2016.

 

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