Meet the Team

  • Vice-chairperson of the Bigodi Women's Group and the chairperson of Seeds and Stories, Stella is a natural leader and role model in her community. With 25 years of experience, Stella possesses valuable knowledge of weaving, natural dyes, and local flora. Her big dreams are to have enough income to provide for her four children, be more literate, and own a natural dye training centre. Stella's responsibilities include training, quality control, and managing the natural dyeing process.

  • Esther possesses strong skill in weaving, embroidery, and shoe making. She wants to help other women by teaching them what she learned. Her dream is to have stable finances so she can invest in the future of her 3 children.

  • Grace is one of Seeds and Stories most experienced artisans, and has been weaving baskets and mats for nearly 32 years. Her dream is to provide her six children with high-quality housing and education. Grace would also like to help orphans and widows who are struggling.

  • Grace loves making traditional crafts and is a master at natural dyeing. Her dream is to get enough income to provide for her family. Grace is married and she has 6 children.

  • Jane is a very talented maker and a quick learner. She is an embroidery and shoemaker superstar. Jane's dream is to get enough income to provide for her family, educate her four children, and travel on a plane for the first time. She would love to travel abroad and learn about other cultures.

  • Janerose is a nursery teacher who dreams about being financially independent and giving her kids a good education and a bright future. She is a very talented artist and is able to utilize these skills for drawing and embroidery. Janerose is married and she has 3 children.

  • Lilian loves to weave and make baskets. Her dream is to have an independent and stable income so she can give her children a better education. Lilian is married and she has 3 children.

  • Moonlight’s dream is to become a fashion designer, utilizing her advanced skills in drawing and weaving. Her beautiful embroidery patterns are inspired by the local flora and fauna.

  • Annet is our new member. She loves making handicrafts and she is a master at tailoring.

Margarida Vasconcelos
Creative Director & Co-founder

Margarida Vasconcelos is a women’s empowerment advocate. She has a background in law with over 20 years of work experience in civic, social and international organizations. Margarida also has a strong background in sustainable fashion, including circular design and zero waste pattern making. She is passionate about researching bio-regional materials such as plant dyes, pigments and local fibres. Margarida has been training the ladies in applying their traditional craft skills to modern designs encouraging them to thrive. Margarida is responsible for community engagement, partnership development, and managing soil to soil production processes.

Kyla Egan
Commercial Director & Co-founder

Kyla Egan is an economic developer specializing in remote and rural communities. For the past five years Kyla has worked as researcher, consultant, and project manager in the responsible tourism industry. Her work has spanned across the Western Hemisphere and has primarily focused on indigenous and community-based tourism. With an eye for detail, Kyla uses evidence-based solutions to design and implement projects that create tangible economic benefits for local stakeholders while utilizing sustainable development frameworks. Kyla is responsible for operations, fundraising development, and financial management.

Shamusah Ainebyoona
Project Manager

Shamusah holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in environmental management. She previously worked at Kabale Municipal Council where she worked with local government officials on environmental and waste management projects. She is passionate about conservation with a key interest in regenerative agriculture. Shamusah plays a crucial role in developing and implementing Seeds & Stories regenerative approaches, as well as engaging and training the community. Shamusah coordinates the work of the artisan’s group and organises training sessions. She is a superstar at making paper.

Alinda Deus
Project Manager & Community Engagement

Deus holds a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering, and he is currently doing a Master's degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering. Deus has a vast knowledge of Ugandan culture and traditions. He has years of experience working with our organisational partner KAFRED in the tourism industry with a focus on community development. Deus oversees the project in Bigodi alongside Shamusah.

It takes a village. At Seeds and Stories, collaboration is a founding principle of our organization. We are committed to engaging in a meaningful way with the local community, our organizational partners, and industry experts to achieve our common goals. 

  • Tinka is a highly respected community leader and a founding member of the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) with vast experience in conservation, sustainable tourism and community development. Tinka has been supporting, advising and helping Seeds & Stories founders since the very start of this project.

  • Bemeriki has been practising permaculture since an early age. He is a social worker, qualified teacher and lead facilitator of the Permayouth and permaculture programs in refugee settlements of Uganda. He established a community-based organisation called Rwamwanja Rural Foundation which has already trained 500 refugees, particularly young women, in permaculture and Indigenous farming practises. Bemeriki plays a crucial role in training our group of women, as well as other farmers in the community.

  • Betty is the chairwoman of the Bigodi Women’s Group. She is a talented artisan who has been weaving for over 30 years. Betty has many years of experience in supporting livelihood initiatives for Bigodi artisans. Betty’s understanding of local people and their traditions has been a invaluable resource for Seeds and Stories.

  • Dean has great experience on sustainable resource management, circular economy, sustainable agricultural production, impact investing, and best practices. Dean has provided Seeds and Stories with ongoing support on matters related to our circular economy and waste management.

  • Eller has over 8 years of experience working on social and environmental projects globally and helps businesses move to the next level with their impact, innovation and sustainability. As a business consultant, Eller uses permaculture to maximise impact and innovation and create resilience. Eller has been supporting, advising and helping Seeds & Stories founders since our early conception.

  • Faith holds a bachelor of computer science and is very passionate about permaculture. She has a Permaculture Design Course and has been sharing her knowledge with local women in Bigodi.

  • Fred is an artist, printmaker and painter that uses barkcloth as his canvas and creates for community change. He founded Bukomansimbi Organic Tree Farmers Association (BOTFA) with his brother Stephen Kamya to promote the planting of Mutuba Trees and give farmers an opportunity to make a living from their barkcloth knowledge. Fred is promoting the training of barkcloth making, facilitating experienced barkcloth makers to pass on their knowledge and techniques to a younger generation. Fred through BOFTA will train boys in Bigodi in this highly skilled craft.

  • Josephine is a senior lecturer at the School of Commercial Industrial Art & Design at Nkumba University as well as at Makerere University. She is a cultural expert in artisan training and artisanal production methodologies and has decades of experience in artisan product development. She will play an important role in training our artisans on product design methods and development techniques.

  • Julius works at Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary as a KAFRED guide. He has over 5 years of experience as a nature conservation practitioner with a passion for protecting and preserving biodiversity. He will play an important role in designing and implementing the Seeds & Stories biodiversity strategy. He also provides training on paper making to our group of women.

  • Mary is a social worker who works as a project manager at the Sustainable Initiatives for Community empowerment (SINCE) in Fort Portal. She advocates for women’s rights and gender equality and is always eager to initiate or be involved in projects that can improve local women’s social, political and economic well being. Mary will give literacy classes to local women in Bigodi as well as talks on women’s rights, reproductive rights and menstrual hygiene.

  • Noah works at Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary as a KAFRED guide. He has over 5 years of experience as a guide and nature conservationist. He has extensive knowledge of local flora and plays a crucial role in identifying plants, trees, and roots and teaching our group of women how to harvest and forage responsibly.

  • Paul is a craft development and marketing specialist, as well as a member of the National Handicraft Sector Strategy Core Team. Paul has vast experience in product development, branding, and exporting. Paul has provided Seeds and Stories with invaluable knowledge on the product pricing and guidance through the exportation processes.

  • Polly is a very talented local artisan who also provides training on traditional crafts, woodwork and shoes. He has been giving training on shoemaking to our artisans.

Kibale Association for Rural & Economic Development

The Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) is a community-based organisation, formed in Bigodi in 1992. It aims to preserve the local environment while advancing health, education and economic growth in the wider local community. KAFRED’s initial objectives were to use ecotourism as a tool for promoting conservation which has then evolved into using the revenues from tourism to fund community development projects KAFRED has twice won the UNDP Equator Prize. Alongside Kafred, Seeds and Stories will offer permaculture design courses, as well as sustainable resource use training. - View MOA

Banana Fibre Consortium

TEXFAD is a Ugandan not-for-profit organisation that transforms agricultural banana waste into high-quality banana fibre textiles and handicrafts. TEXFAD is able to utilize natural resources sustainably while supporting job and wealth creation among youth and women in Uganda. TEXDAD operates a skills training academy that provides hands on training and business incubation for sustainable fashion design and production.

Gad Magezi is an internal audit officer at Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) and chief trainer, operations and training at United Innovations Development Centre (UIDC). He has extensive experience conducting research on handmade papermaking, developing paper products, briquettes from agricultural wastes and sanitary pads. He has trained many students and entrepreneurs under UIRI. Gad is a formal member of our Banana Fibre Consortium to provide economic opportunities to rural Uganda communities through training, product development, and marketing of banana fibre. - View MOA

Acknowledgements

We would like to express our gratitude to the following people, for their support and willingness to volunteer their time and resources:

Website Design- Estela Castelli Florino Pilz, The Root Studio 

Fundraising Video- Vikram S.D., Blore Productions

Logo Design- Hugo Campos, Hugo Campos Art

Marketing Strategy- Tze Ching Yeung, We Disrupt Agency

We would also like to express our gratitude to the following inspiring women for all advice and support they have been given us: 

Cianne Jones ( Women in Leadership ), Georgina Wilson-Powell ( Pebble Magazine ), Jo Salter ( Where Does It Come From? ), Lesli Robertson ( Mekeka Designs ), Kirsten Scott ( Bark Cloth Research Network ), Morag Gamble ( Permaculture Education Institute ), Rachel Hartgen ( Artisans Thrive ), Rachel MacHenry ( Botanica Tinctoria ), Rachel Sheila Kan ( The Ecosystem Incubator ), Stella Atal ( Atal Stella )