Title: Founder, OA Projects
In between visits to Vancouver and Australia, Gavin spends his time around Gulu, Uganda learning what it takes to be a farmer. He left UVic with a BSc in 2007 and spent a good part of four years developing a grassroots charity called OA Projects (OA). He became an Sauder S3i Social Entrepreneur in 2009, helping to increase OA Projects’ program outreach in northern Uganda by enabling more war-affected youth to lead and participate in soccer-based peace building activities. In 2011, he launched Alumalum Rural Investments, an ethically-minded agricultural production company, with two Ugandan partners and a Canadian investor. He enjoys non-competitive yoga, very spicy salsa, well played soccer games, and good rum. He doesn’t enjoy airport layovers and is skeptical of people who talk too much.
About Alumalum Rural Investments:
Alumalum Rural Investments is a new environmentally-minded agricultural production and processing company in northern Uganda (“Alumalum” meaning Green in the Acholi language). The goal of the company is to produce, and initially process, significant quantities of three groups of organic products: (1) local food staples such as groundnuts and sesame; (2) fruits and vegetables for local and export markets; and, (3) select specialty crops, such as cocoa, for the organic soap and cosmetics industry.
The company was launched in 2011 by two Ugandans and Gavin Hollett, and with the support of LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, North America.
The inspiration for Alumalum came from spending years in northern Uganda witnessing a good chunk of the amazing potential of the people and the land being wasted by unaccountable charitable activities and divisive self-interest. Alumalum aims to produce its goods in an environmentally-minded and socially inclusive manner and to reward those who take a risk and who work hard. Increased local food supply; job creation; and, community building are some of the expected outcomes from the venture’s activities.
In its start-up phase, Alumalum is developing a 15-acre plot of land through a joint-venture with four families on a piece of communal land. It is also constructing a basic warehouse and processing site and will expand its environmentally-minded and organic agricultural production in 2013.