A Whiz Kid in Kenya
April 10, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Tevis Howard, a 2007 Brown University graduate and recent recipient of the Draper Richards Fellowship and the Rainer Arnhold Fellowship, is the 2005 Founder and Executive Director of KOMAZA, a non-profit community-based organization in Kenya. KOMAZA's mission is to "end chronic poverty in Kenya by promoting health, economic growth, education, and infrastructure development" through a tree farming social enterprise. Partnering with the Tree Biotechnology Project, KOMAZA plants fast-growning, drought-tolerant Eucalyptus trees as a cash crop for rural, substinance farming communities.

In 2002, then 17-year-old Tevis Howard was recognized by Forbes ASAP magazine (which ceased publication in October 2002) as an ASAP Teenage All Star and won third place in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his research developing a novel treatment for multiple sclerosis. Declared to be a "prodigy" and a "whiz kid" early on, Tevis helped publish a report in 2002 on immunology and Malaria in Kenya. In 2006, Tevis won a Rhode Island competition for his KOMAZA business plan.
posted by lunit (7 comments total)
posted by lunit at 1:25 PM on April 10, 2008

posted by AwkwardPause at 1:28 PM on April 10, 2008

Damned kids.
posted by Floydd at 1:36 PM on April 10, 2008

I always though eucalyptus trees were terrible for the environment....
posted by rhymer at 1:40 PM on April 10, 2008

Yeah, don't they suck up large amounts of water?
posted by pantsrobot at 3:54 PM on April 10, 2008

Eucalyptus is thought to deplete nutrients from the soil and to draw down the water table. Also, their leaves are toxic and do not biodegrade well. On the KOMAZA website, they say this isn't so. But this peer-reviewed paper did find nutrient depletion, and this paper found water depletion in India. There even appears to be some controversy about eucalyptus in Kenya itself.

So I applaud Howard's dedication to ending poverty, but I hope this isn't another Nile perch type scenario of good intentions gone awry.
posted by ilyanassa at 3:54 PM on April 10, 2008

Ah, but this project focuses on eucalyptus's strength; it burns well.
(They want to use it for cooking fuel.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:39 PM on April 10, 2008

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