Burness Africa


Burness Africa


"We have lost him, and must recognize the need for a next generation of selfless and driven leaders. For me, Mandela's example will always stand as a reminder of what is possible when conviction faces injustice, of the work that still remains unfinished, and of the long road ahead." 

These words come from Kennedy Odede, an incredible person and friend, and someone who—like so many other leaders—was inspired by Nelson Mandela. In his beautifully written piece on CNN.com, Kennedy—born into poverty in Nairobi’s slums— recounts how reading Mandela’s biography and his speeches gave him hope and inspired him to help his community.

Mkilimo Poster click for slideshow


You're a farmer in a remote area of Kenya. Bugs are eating your maize. None of your neighbors has seen this before. What are you going to do?

How about a hotline?

In Kenya, the M-Kilimo helpline has given agricultural advice to nearly 25,000 farmers during its 18- month pilot phase.  The project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the GSMA and managed by KenCall in Nairobi, uses a mobile helpline to provide thousands of small holder farmers in Kenya with specific, timely and accurate information, as well as tips to help increase their incomes and farm productivity. 

Roughly 90 percent of the world's wheat varieties are defenseless against a virulent, fast-moving strain of stem rust fungus that is ravaging crops in parts of Africa, drifting into the Middle East and could soon threaten the breadbaskets of India and Pakistan.


A key weapon in fighting the disease is crop diversity. Plant breeders are right now reaching deep into the world’s major wheat collections, looking for traits that will allow them to develop new varieties genetically endowed to resist an attack from the spreading stem rust strain.  The importance of crop diversity to combating stem rust has highlighted a long-standing problem: the growing lack of diversity in agricultural production today.

It’s old news that the Horn of Africa, particularly Southern Somalia, is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian disasters to hit Africa in decades. The United Nations officially declared the food crisis in Somalia a famine on July 20, and the region is facing its worst drought in 60 years. As many work to provide urgent aid relief to those suffering from famine and drought, we’re privileged to work with some international organizations that are looking beyond short-term solutions.

Drought has decimated an estimated 20-30 percent of livestock in Kenya's Marsabit district, where livestock trade makes up an estimated 65 percent of household income. A partnership between the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)--a Burness client--and private sector Kenyan partners including Equity Bank and UAP Insurance allows Kenyan pastoralists in the area to insure their livestock, giving herders an opportunity to recover at least some of what was lost.