Kate H. von Achen graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with a focus on Women in Developing Countries in 2006. The summer following graduation, von Achen traveled to East Africa for the first time to study Fair Trade coffee cooperatives in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with United Students for Fair Trade. von Achen immediately fell in love with Uganda and could not wait to return. Six months later von Achen found herself back where she belonged. In January 2007, von Achen returned to Uganda with Global Youth Partnership for Africa to study the conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda. It was then that von Achen decided to obtain her Masters of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
In August 2007 von Achen moved to Uganda to start her M.A. program. In her first year, von Achen helped to start a successful socially-conscious business working with Women tailors in Uganda. Feeling the need to do more, von Achen left that business and decided to start Awava in September 2008.
Darlyne Komukama, our Uganda Assistant Country Director, has a BA in Organisational Studies from Makerere University but does not believe that her academic qualifications should or do define her. She has had a varied career including but not limited to: construction, events' planning, telecommunication, mobile money and modelling. She wants to do something worthwhile with her life and believes that Awava is the perfect vehicle for this. She was born and raised in Uganda and understands how important fair trade is to the women of her home.
This is one of the few photos where she won't be seen flashing a 'peace' sign.
Margie Hogue joined Awava in 2011 as our apparel designer.
Hogue resides in Lawrence, Kansas and studied French at The University of Kansas. With a passion and great eye for fashion, Hogue went to design school at JCCC (Parsons on the Prairie) to gain further industry expertise which she is now sharing with Awava!
Hogue's love of food, travel and well made clothing has made her the perfect fit for Awava!
"Being given the opportunity to work with Awava is a dream come true!" Hogue says, and it is a dream come true for us too!
Glenna Gordon is a freelance photographer and writer who has been based in Africa since 2006. She is currently working on several long term projects in East and West Africa and has recently found her base back in NYC.
See some of the fantastic work Glenna has done here!